Letter to the editor

While saving space for bikes, USC should keep its charm.

What makes you proud to call yourself a Trojan? Is it our exceptional academic or athletic rankings? Is it the unique oasis of the campus?

Is our Trojan pride being run over by bikes? It is time that the conversation regarding bicycles be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

The biggest issue is in settling a question of long-standing importance. How much of our foundation as a campus are we willing to put on the line?

USC should not lose sight of its history and what we are. We are a potentially idyllic physical setting for a campus. We have a tiny, calm, English garden in one of the world’s largest metro areas. With 1,400 new trees and the hardscaping of both 34th Sreet and McClintock Avenue, the challenge is enhancing USC’s reputation as a safe and beautiful pedestrian oasis.

We have to enhance our physical aesthetics so everyone can be faithful, scholarly, skillful, courageous, ambitious — and not be run over by bikes. We need a bike plan that is simple and forward-thinking, one that doesn’t leave us looking like every other state school with bike paths cutting through campus.

In the academic core, at the heart of campus, bikes should be welcomed and encouraged on McClintock Avenue and 34th Street during business hours.

We should make bikes a priority inside the academic core with McClintock as the north/south axis and 34th Street as the east/west axis. This means creating 24/7 bike lanes on these streets, moving trams to the outside edge of campus and keeping other vehicles to a minimum.

We should clean up, redesign and repurpose the McClintock entrance. This should become the primary bike and pedestrian entrance. Cars should not be allowed to use this entrance between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

We should not be placing a 24/7 Bike Freeway on Trousdale Parkway or Downey Way. This would change the garden aesthetic that matches our learning environment. During non-business hours, cyclists will ride everywhere — including up and down Trousdale — anyway.

Most importantly, except on designated 24/7 bike lanes, we must create a dismount zone in the academic core during business hours.

It is time we returned faith and courage to the hands of the students. When all is said and done, we are all here for one thing: our education. Provide us with a safe and peaceful learning environment that is worthy of our status and one that will encourage the scholarly conversations that will prepare us for the working world.

Elan Hilaire

Senior, public policy planning and development