Bike fee could improve inadequate biking infrastructure

By Daily Illini Editorial Board

Biking never seems to leave the campus discourse because in Champaign-Urbana, it has become a way of life.

But as is often reported, the current biking infrastructure is inadequate and broken for the kind of use the public would like. Part of those problems come from poor planning from the bike paths’ inception, part of it comes from the high ratio of pedestrians to bikers that use the same pathways, and yet another part comes from little to no upkeep of the paths (despite this summer when lines on the paths were repainted).

Fixing this perennial issue, of course, comes down to money, and the University’s Facilities and Services biking infrastructure plan released last year will cost more than $4 million. Finding the money for these kinds of projects is by no means easy.

But Grace Kyung, graduate student, wants to help reduce some of the costs. She submitted a referendum question this semester, asking students to vote to pass a $1 bike fee, which would generate roughly $80,000 year.

That’s a small chunk of the $4 million needed, but, at this point, every dollar counts.

The University district undoubtedly has a high ridership, especially during the warmer months of the school year. With the current paths, though, it can be dangerous for both bikers and pedestrians to travel.

On the Quad, for example, the bike paths intersect and run adjacent to high-traffic walkways, and that raises the chances that a collision occurs.

During the winter months, it can be easy to forget the complaints bikers and pedestrians have, so we urge students now to vote to pass the referendum.

A single dollar each semester is negligible, especially compared to the $202 increase in tuition, approved by the Board of Trustees in January.

For the fall and spring semesters this year, full-time students pay $1,492 per semester: The proposed fee would raise that only to $1,493.

This is a community highly interested in developing and participating in a strong biking infrastructure, which would help reduce car traffic and gas emissions, and bolster a more health-conscious lifestyle.

This semester when you receive the email asking you to vote on referendum questions, open it up and check yes.