University uses grant to improve bike parking

A student rides a bike through the Main Quad on October 5, 2015.

By Adam Kaz

Busy college students may take short cuts whenever possible. Sometimes it means a Sparknotes search, sometimes it’s microwave dinners.

Sometimes it means rushed bicyclists will lock their bikes against nearby campus property rather than to the authorized bike parking stations.

Improperly locked bicycles have been such an issue for the University that it recently used a grant to install new bike parking spaces around campus, said Stacey DeLorenzo, transportation department management coordinator for facilities and servicesCC.

“We wanted to improve it for a long time,” DeLorenzo said. “We didn’t have any funding so we put in a grant to the Student Sustainability Committee, and they issued us a grant back in 2012 or 2013 for $225,000 to update the bike parking, so that’s what we’ve been working on for the past couple of years.”

The Transportation Demand Management in Facilities and Services has added 337 bike parking units since June. DeLorenzo said this translates to over 600 bike parking spaces to the campus.

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The new parking locations include the Main Library, north and south of the Illini Union, north and south of the College of Education Building and south of the Architecture Building.

More bike parking will also be added west of David Kinley Hall in October, DeLorenzo said. These additions are the result of the Transportation Demand Management’s desire to have fewer bikes parked against fences and more bikes parked in the designated places.

Students who do not find parking spaces readily available will sometimes resort to locking their bikes against fences, railings and other non-authorized campus property, said Morgan Johnston, associate director of sustainability within Facilities and Services . This is discouraged because it can block fire exits and handrails for people with disabilities.

“One of the things about parking policy is we had no enforcement ability at all, aside from, we can impound the bicycle,” Johnston said.

Jacob Brown,CC freshman, said he’s never had a problem with bike parking but has noticed bikes parked to fences around campus. However, for the most part, he said, bike parking isn’t too much of an issue.

“I’m assuming there’s someone, somewhere who would say otherwise, but I haven’t had a problem with it.”

Even as the campus police begin to do more to combat the improper parking, the Transportation Demand Management still receives three to four calls a week about improperly parked bicycles.

“It’s very frustrating. The first thing I do is evaluate whether or not we have adequate parking there,” DeLorenzo said. “We understand at some places we do not, but at some places we have updated, [students] just have this stable mentality that I’m going to lock this to anything closest to the door that I want to walk into.”

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