Bike Share Program to Arrive on Campus
By Amanda Celek
A bicycle sharing program will debut at CSI in May 2015, allowing students and faculty alike to weave across the college’s 204 acre campus with ease for a fee. May will mark the pilot launch, where thirty to fifty bikes will be used to test out how many students are willing to purchase memberships.
The Smart Bikes will be available to students who pay a $30.00 membership fee. Administration is also considering daily, weekly, and semester duration fees.
Prior to the pilot, sidewalks will be designated and signs will mark roads in order to make it safe and avoid any possible injury. These signs will include “bike and pedestrian,” “bike only,” ”pedestrian only,” and “bike crossings.”
“I drive to school every day and yes parking is miserable but the last thing I want is bicycle riders in my way while I’m trying to get to class,” Jonathan Senet, a Sophomore Biology major explained. “It would become just as annoying as City Bikes are.”
A CSI Bike Share Facebook Page will also be created prior to the pilot launch to engage students with information and current updates.
After all the minor details of the program works out, a bike share event will be hosted in early April. The event will be designed to raise awareness and provide information sessions about their products, the bike share project, transportation alternatives, give youth education for safety, and a display the models that CSI will use.
“I dorm on campus and some of my classes are on opposite sides of the campus which causes me to run in between classes to make it on time,” Ashley Eisenhart, Freshman Communications major explained. “This bike would save me from doing that, I will definitely attend the information session about the smart bikes.”
A campus map will be provided on each bike that shows designated areas for bikes to be parked. So far the Campus Center, the CSI Library, and building 3A. To participate in the pilot individuals must provide a valid Dolphin card, credit card, and sign a waiver.
After the pilot, CSI will expand the Bike Share based on project interest and start supplying more bicycles at each building on campus including the two entrances into the school.
Sheltered parking for the bicycles will also be installed to keep them away from any possible damage, such as snow or rain.
After that, CSI plans to develop more entrances for bikers and pedestrians. Santiago and Kushnir want to collaborate with the NYC Parks Department to pave the green way and allow traveling into and out of the school simpler and more convenient.
If on-campus biking goes well, they hope to eventually allow students to use to Smart Bikes outside of campus as well. This would ultimately benefit the 400 students that live in student housing on camous by allowing them to fulfill errands more easily beyond campus.
The program was created by Urban Policy Analyst Nora Santiago, a member of the Social Policy Simulation Center, to give members of the CSI community an extra mode of transportation.
CSI will use Sobi Social Bicycles, which prides itself on accessibility and simplicity.
The design of the Sobi Smart Bike is unique in its durability and lack of need for maintenance. It includes a chain-less shaft-drive and fenders that keep the rider clean and reduces repairs.
The bikes are also solar powered.
It also features a step-through frame and puncture-resistant Kevlar tires. A basket is also attached to each of the bikes. Each bike will also feature a flexible locking mechanism, which will allow for the bikes to lock onto any regular bicycle parking rack.
The program will have the ability reserve bikes online, through an application on any smart phone, or on the actual bike. It’ll also collect real-time GPS data to prevent bicycle redistribution issues along with others.
“The data collecting makes patterns to where and what time you can reserve receive the bike,” said Kushnir, an intern for Santiago. “It was important to make it more technology oriented for students because we are so tech savvy now.”
Some other large campuses that use the Sobi Social Bicycles are Emory College, Buffalo, and Yale University. All of these institutions created their own personal unique plans and possess different costs for the bike membership fees, repairs, and overall amount of bicycle stations available.
“I wish this idea was put into motion when I first came to the school,” Kristina Gorczynski, Senior Psychology major expressed. “I commute through the MTA every day and then wait for a long time for the loop bus, this smart bike would have definitely helped me get to class on time.”
The program is meant to assist motorists just as much as public transportation users. As of Fall 2013, there are 14,460 students at the college and only 2,900 parking spaces on campus. Over the years, MTA ridership has increased and continues to rise each semester.
Santiago said the bike share program will help lesson congestion on campus.
“We think this is the best option for commuting students and could benefit students that dorm on campus also,” said Santiago.