The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Bike share program to be implemented on campus

By Jon Dumais

Friday, October 28, 2011

Photo by Chris Jones/ The Lafayette

Project coordinator von Dassow ’14 hopes to implement a bike sharing program on campus by next fall.

A new student bike share project may be the solution to everyday Lafayette student problems like tardy class attendance and the long walk into the circle downtown. The project, coordinated by Wesley von Dassow ‘14, aims to implement the bike sharing program on campus by fall 2012.

The program began as a scheme proposed to Lafayette’s Sustainability Committee. Upon hearing the idea, Associate Professor Arthur Kney offered to make the bike share a project for his Intro to Environmental Engineering class with students Kathleen Delsener ‘14, Jennifer White ‘14 and Joelle Neilson ‘12.

Von Dassow asked Student Government to send out an Opinio survey to gauge student interest. Four hundred ninety six replied.

“The responses have been very positive,” von Dassow said. The heads of the project are now planning to send a second survey to faculty and staff in order to gain additional backing.

The bikes would be located in pavilions and their rental use would be monitored by the electronic checkpoint system or the magnetic card reading system, both of which are already used on campus.

According to von Dassow, “The project is still in a planning stage. We are trying to come up with a plan that will work.”

Voicing his support for the endeavor, Vice President for Campus LifeCelestino Limas wrote, “I believe any time students can take the initiative to work on a project that helps build community, reduce carbon consumption and encourages physical activity, we should besupportive.”

According to von Dassow, Limas has been an integral figure in trying to set up a mechanic shop for the program. The main purpose for the mechanic shop would be to maintain the condition of the bicycles, create additional student jobs and foster interest in the project. There would also be a bike house, in which the student coordinator and two head mechanics would live.

Further support has come from local bike shops, including Genesis Bike Shop and Cycle Fitters. Genesis has offered to sell helmets and provide factory pricing for additional bicycles.

Student input, however, has ranged from apathetic to ecstatic.

“I’m pretty indifferent as to whether it happens or not,” Anna Baruzzi ‘14 said. “I think it is a cool idea, but probably would be more hassle than it is worth renting and then returning the bike. Ultimately, walking would probably be as effective.”

Other students, like Nicholas DeRosa ‘12, see the bike share as a blessing. “It would be a great opportunity for students to become more involved in the surrounding areas without driving. Also, bike riding is a great way to stay in shape,” he said.

LEAP has expressed its devotion, pledging to increase the number of bike racks on campus. They hope to install artistic bike racks similar to those in the downtown circle.

Additionally, the bikes themselves will be painted to make them unique to Lafayette.

Currently, the plan is that the bikes will be available for up to six hours for use on campus, in Easton and in Forks Township.

Von Dassow has been working with Easton officials to establish bike routes for riders to follow, including both recreational circuits and access paths that lead downtown.

The project proposal is waiting on financial approval from Chief Financial Officer Mitch Wein. However, according to Von Dostow, students can expect to see a small pilot project by April or May.

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