Austin Dunn, co-director of University Affairs for Undergraduate Student Government, announced the installation of three free air pumps for bicycles on campus last night at the USG Senate meeting in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.
“Right now we are working in the location of where those are going to be,” Dunn said. “As of right now, our proposed locations are in front of EVK … one in the new Annenberg building, [and] we are going to put one in one of the two areas in the corners of campus.”
This initiative came in the wake of various bicycle and pedestrian-related problems faced on campus by students.
“We’ve had a lot of issues in the past with bikes as a whole,” Dunn said. “There’s anywhere from bike infrastructure to bike safety [issues].”
Dunn said that University Affairs is looking to reinforce bicycle lanes on campus, and that the administration’s greatest achievement so far this year is the implementation of new bicycle parking measures.
“As you can tell, there are no longer bikes allowed to be parked in front of Campus Center,” Dunn said. “They have installed a lot of new bike racks around campus, but a lot of them are not known to students, so we are [going] to make a video and a diagram that shows students all of the locations where they can park their bikes in order to avoid getting them stolen or whatever it may [happen].”
Dunn said that despite the bicycle-related issues, he has an optimistic view of the measures so far, as they provide more safety for students, better walking spaces, a more pleasing aesthetic and easier access for students with disabilities.
“It’s a really big issue on campus,” Dunn said. “We have received a lot of negative feedback from people not being allowed to park in front of the Campus Center, but overall it’s been a really good transition period for us.”
Dunn also mentioned that a “bike share” initiative has been introduced to a University Affairs committee, which could radically change on-campus transportation for students if carried out.
“[Bike sharing] was a program that was originally instituted at NYU,” Dunn said. “This serves in the same way as a car program at the airport, where you would take a car and return it [to] the same place.”
According to Dunn, the bike share stations would be spread out around campus in the “most popular places where students are living,” such as the Row and Adams Boulevard. Dunn noted some of the difficulties with the initiative.
“[This] would serve … in lieu of students having their own bikes, [prohibiting] bikes on campus as a whole,” Dunn said. “Being completely honest, I don’t see that as too feasible of a project as of right now. I don’t think that it is something the University is going to pursue, just something we explored very briefly.”
Dunn also wanted to publicize other bicycle resources available to students such as the bike shop that operates on Hoover Street and Jefferson Boulevard. But the area around that bicycle shop, Dunn said, also needs serious improvement.
“The walkway is very narrow and during high intervals of the day, there are so many bikes, and it’s very difficult and dangerous to cross,” Dunn said. “So we’re looking to expand the walkway.”
Dunn explained that the sidewalk is not owned by USC, but by the city. Dunn and other members of University Affairs were put in contact with an administrator who will connect with the city. They will then try to move forward with a plan to raise the level of the street to make it safer for bikes, and also in separate bicycle and walking lanes.
Overall, Dunn emphasized the importance of administrative support.
“We have framed an argument to really push hard for an administrator to oversee bikes. That’s probably our most important focus now,” Dunn said. “We need someone to report and discuss our bike issues with, otherwise it’s almost useless because we are just going back and forth between committees.”