Some bicycle commuters returning to school last week found a challenge waiting for them before they even got to their first class of the day: no place to park. With an increase in bicycle ridership and a limited numbers of bike racks available on campus, cyclists have been resorting to finding any piece of metal they can secure their bikes to. “People are locking their bikes to fences,” said ASPSU student senator Peter Welte.
PSU feeling bike parking crunch
Some bicycle commuters returning to school last week found a challenge waiting for them before they even got to their first class of the day: no place to park. With an increase in bicycle ridership and a limited numbers of bike racks available on campus, cyclists have been resorting to finding any piece of metal they can secure their bikes to.
“People are locking their bikes to fences,” said ASPSU student senator Peter Welte.
Welte said the school bought approximately 100 bike racks scheduled to be installed over the course of the summer months. Instead, the racks remain in storage.
Peter explained that the uninstalled bike racks are part of a larger problem of not having enough bicycle storage on campus.
According to a survey conducted each year by the PSU Housing and Transportation Services, students are increasingly choosing cycling as their primary mode of transportation to campus. Availability of parking and proximity of the parking to cyclists’ final destination were among the top concerns for participants of the 2007 study.
The survey also found that more covered bike racks and secure bike lockers or racks would encourage more frequent biking. While the number of students choosing to bike is increasing, the university is struggling to keep up with meeting the demand for storage.
Scott Gallagher, director of communications for PSU, said that the bike racks have not been installed yet due to the several other construction projects currently being undertaken.
“The facilities department is overwhelmed with work orders,” said Gallagher.
Gallagher added that there are many alternative transportation projects in the works that will help solve the storage issues facing cyclists, such as the construction of a 150-spot bike hub at the Urban Plaza.
“The Urban Plaza will be the only place that the streetcar, Max and buses meet,” said Gallagher. The bike hub, which will be located across from the student recreation center, will enhance the Urban Plaza, according to Gallagher.
“The bike hub will be available to the whole community, and will include a repair shop and shower area,” Gallagher said.
Ian Stude with Transportation and Parking Services said that the bike lockers that currently occupy the area will be relocated. Construction on the bike garage is expected to begin in spring or summer of 2009.
Stude explained that the transportation department currently working with facilities to put together a plan for deciding when, where and how many of the bike racks in storage will be installed.
Due to the other construction projects already underway on campus, Stude said that some existing bike racks will have to be removed.
“The goal is to not see any reduction in bike racks due to ongoing construction projects,” said Stude. He added that the university is also working with the City of Portland to bring an additional 20 bike racks, which will be on city property.
For more information regarding the results of the 2007 survey conducted by the Housing and Transportation Services, you can visit their Web site at transportation.pdx.edu.