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Old 01-07-08, 09:15 AM   #1
genec
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Students Decry biking ban...

I actually thought the ban had been lifted back in 2000. This was my alma mater, I regularly rode my bike to school (not to class) back before 1995. Back then there were bike racks all over campus... now the racks only adorn the perimeter.

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SDSU groups press for more cycle paths
By Sherry Saavedra
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

January 7, 2008

Students at San Diego State are fed up with a no-bicycling policy on campus.

Biking is a main mode of transportation for many college students. It's a green mode of transportation. And most days, San Diego offers near-perfect weather for bike travel.

But at SDSU, bikes must be walked on most of the campus. Riders can pedal only along the perimeter and on a service road that goes partially through the grounds. Many say it can be a hike from one end of the 270-acre campus to the other. Campus police enforce the no-biking rule with tickets.

A group of students that is trying to get more green initiatives going at the university is taking on the policy. The group wants to reverse it and is advocating for bike paths.

“This is such an issue that every student is aware of on campus,” said Justin Motika, a student vice president who will head up the “Green Love” student government campaign that includes a push for reversing the bike-riding ban. “San Diego is the type of environment where people ride their bikes.”

SDSU officials don't know how long the policy has been in place, but they do know why: safety. Enrollment has hit 35,695 students, and during peak instructional hours nobody disputes how congested the grounds are.

“Our concerns are having bicycles mix with pedestrians on the walkways during very busy times,” SDSU spokesman Tom Hanscom said. “Students can be in a hurry, and bicycles and walkers do not always mix well.”

In addition, some bicyclists harm the property, he said.

“There have always been concerns with some of the bike riders that come on campus doing bike tricks and stunts where they're jumping off benches and gliding down handrails and doing tricks that can cause physical damage to features on campus,” Hanscom said.

In the past year, SDSU police have issued 128 citations for bike riding or skateboarding (under a similar ban) in prohibited areas. Fines for these violations generally range from $50 to $250, Hanscom said. He added that in most instances students are given verbal warnings.

Motika said a reversal of the bike-riding policy would reduce traffic and pollution caused by cars. He said others – among them the Enviro-Business Society, or E3 club – have previously proposed lifting the ban and adding bike paths.

E3 member Ian Bevan, who is a green commissioner for student government, said allowing bike riding throughout campus makes sense given that San Diego State is preparing to expand and boost enrollment by nearly 10,000 students by 2025.

“Basically right now San Diego State's parking is horrendous at times,” Bevan said. “If you add another 10,000 students to our 35,000 students right now, what is it going to be like? Have they thought about this?”

Robert Djakovic, vice president of E3, said permitting bike riding throughout SDSU would improve the campus culture.

“It would create more of a sense that this is a community, that we're not just a commuter school,” he said.

Hanscom said the university is listening. “But if we bring (bike riding) back it's a matter of how can we route the bikes away from people who don't want to be struck by them.”

The issue of bike paths was raised at a recent University Senate executive committee meeting. And the senate's Environment and Safety Committee plans to consider a student proposal to add bike lanes during the spring semester.

Other college campuses vary in bike friendliness. Cal State San Marcos allows bike riding on campus. University of California San Diego prohibits bike riding on main outdoor walkways between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
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Old 01-07-08, 09:34 AM   #2
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What is wrong with just perimeter and the service road access? Seems that could still reduce the walk from one end of campus to the other. There is no ban on cycling too campus, which seems to be the more important need.

Most campuses I've been on have too many peds to mix with bicycles when school is in session.

Anyway walking is 'green' transport. Perhaps even a bit 'greener' than cycling.

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Old 01-07-08, 09:43 AM   #3
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What is wrong with just perimeter and the service road access? Seems that could still reduce the walk from one end of campus to the other. There is no ban on cycling too campus, which seems to be the more important need.

Most campuses I've been on have too many peds to mix with bicycles when school is in session.

Anyway walking is 'green' transport. Perhaps even a bit 'greener' than cycling.

Al
The campus is actually quite large. However, usually one takes classes for their major in only one area of campus... I rarely left the engineering/math area of campus, but I actually parked my bike in the area of liberal studies, in the old section of campus, as there were unused lockers near Montezuma Hall.

Freshmen however are probably taking classes all over campus... and thus have the greatest need to get around quickly... freshmen probably also have the least financial means, so are most likely highly motivated to ride a bike to school.

While the central walks do become quite crowded during the day... there are other areas where students could ride, if they were not banned.
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Old 01-07-08, 10:03 AM   #4
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How heavily is the ban enforced? UCSD has similar policies, but I see students bicycling through campus all the time.
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Old 01-07-08, 10:30 AM   #5
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How heavily is the ban enforced? UCSD has similar policies, but I see students bicycling through campus all the time.
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In the past year, SDSU police have issued 128 citations for bike riding or skateboarding...
My own observations are that the removal of bike parking stands has also been something of a deterrent... along with the cutting of locks of bikes locked to fences. It used to be that the fence surrounding the main library was filled with bikes. There were so many bikes that I easily could hide my junker bike, without a lock at the library fence, and find it later, no problem. Last time I was on campus, there wasn't a single bike on that fence.
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Old 01-07-08, 12:44 PM   #6
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I don't see a problem with a partial ban. It's not a bad idea to keep bikes off crowded walking paths. Maybe it would be better to allow bikes on some paths, but not all, since the campus is so huge.

I bike to school, sometimes across the middle of campus, but if the paths are crowded I walk. I've seen probably a dozen crashes and close calls by kids on bikes, carelessly rushing to get to class at the last minute, and I've only been here one semester. It makes all of us cyclists look like *******s--even those of us who take care to ride slowly, use a bell, and avoid crowded central walking paths. Furthermore, my school's campus is tiny tiny tiny. You can walk at an easy pace between the farthest two buildings in 10 minutes. But I still ride my bike.
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Old 01-07-08, 01:12 PM   #7
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I'm confused. Is bicycling banned just in pedestrian-only areas, or is it banned on internal campus roadways that are open to motor vehicles?

Most campuses have internal roadways for delivery/service vehicle access to buildings. Motor vehicle access to these roads is often regulated by permit, or scarce parking may limit their use by non-permitted motor vehicles. Bicyclists are usually common on such roads. However, such roads may have poor connectivity across the campus for cross-campus travel. This encourages bicyclists to use pedestrian ways for connectivity. Is this the problem at this school?

NC State University, where I attended grad school, is bisected by a railroad line. Pedestrian paths are the most convenient routes to cross the railroad ROW, but they feature stairs down to underpass tunnels, which reduce the problem of fast bicyclists. I carried my bike up/down those stairs and walked it through the crowded tunnels several hundred times.

(edit)
After looking up the campus map on the SDSU web site, I see that it has very limited (or no) vehicular connectivity across the campus; perimeter circulation appears to be the primary vehicle access. The entire center appears to be pedestrian-only. Perhaps criss-crossing the center of campus with a couple of clearly-marked multi-use paths or speed-humped driveways would provide improved convenience for cycling. The bike parking should not be removed -that's unreasonable. Otherwise, I don't object to a requirement to walking the bike through busy pedestrian areas.

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Old 01-07-08, 02:00 PM   #8
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I work on the campus of the University of Southern California and in my opinion this is a great idea.
Anyone who thinks that the idea of EVERYONE biking would be some kind of utopia needs to see what happens when EVERYONE actually bikes. People do the same stupid inattentive things on their bike as they do when driving. Very scary.
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Old 01-07-08, 02:23 PM   #9
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I work on the campus of the University of Southern California and in my opinion this is a great idea.
Anyone who thinks that the idea of EVERYONE biking would be some kind of utopia needs to see what happens when EVERYONE actually bikes. People do the same stupid inattentive things on their bike as they do when driving. Very scary.
It's a traffic control issue, nothing more. Colleges are especially challenging because you basically have a pedestrian rush hour every hour. I can see making busy off-street paths pedestrian-only, particularly during class change. My alma mater closed the only road that cut through the campus perimeter loop; cars cutting through campus were causing problems for students.

I'm not familiar with SDSU, but if it's possible to stick to the actual roads, I'd probably do that. But it would be far better to establish bike paths of some sort as the students want, because bikes are such a popular mode of travel at colleges. UC Santa Barbara, if I recall, did a nice job of it.
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Old 01-07-08, 03:38 PM   #10
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Most places do not allow bicycles on sidewalks. Even where they are allowed--such as beach boardwalks--many cyclists make it dangerous for walkers with kids and dogs by going too fast.

Every student that drives a car to campus has no problem walking. When cyclists start demanding entitlements--because their bicyclists--that contributes to giving all of us a bad image.

For example, cyclists that ride two-abreast, taking up half the road, expecting (demanding) drivers to negotiate carefully around them -- to me, these are cyclidiots.

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Old 01-07-08, 06:22 PM   #11
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Most places do not allow bicycles on sidewalks. Even where they are allowed--such as beach boardwalks--many cyclists make it dangerous for walkers with kids and dogs by going too fast.

Every student that drives a car to campus has no problem walking. When cyclists start demanding entitlements--because their bicyclists--that contributes to giving all of us a bad image.

For example, cyclists that ride two-abreast, taking up half the road, expecting (demanding) drivers to negotiate carefully around them -- to me, these are cyclidiots.

Sure, your point is well taken... that peds and bikes may not mix... but on the other hand, I don't believe the cycling students have even equity with the driving students... the latter which have large covered parking structures throughout campus in which to leave their form of transportation.
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Old 01-07-08, 06:39 PM   #12
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Ha ha... When I was at UW, there were signs all over the place to walk our bikes. I saw them as I rode past along with many other cycling students.
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Old 01-07-08, 06:52 PM   #13
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Sure, your point is well taken... that peds and bikes may not mix... but on the other hand, I don't believe the cycling students have even equity with the driving students... the latter which have large covered parking structures throughout campus in which to leave their form of transportation.
Covered parking for students - crazy. Never had that at school, let alone work.

So why not ask for sturdy covered bike parking lock-up with security cameras around the perimeter. Seems that is what it needed.

Being able to cycle up to every campus building however seems a bit much.

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Old 01-08-08, 01:42 AM   #14
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Covered parking for students - crazy. Never had that at school, let alone work.

So why not ask for sturdy covered bike parking lock-up with security cameras around the perimeter. Seems that is what it needed.

Being able to cycle up to every campus building however seems a bit much.

Al
There is precisely zero parking on my campus.

There are plenty of bike racks, and people are free to ride their bikes through the campus. I hate it. There are people all over the place wobbling all over the place doing 15-20 mph, narrowly missing pedestrians.

I used to commute to the campus by bike, and it's really not that hard to secure your friggin bike on a rack and walk to class
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Old 01-08-08, 02:02 AM   #15
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I'm not even sure what the need to ride from class to class is. In my experience, it's too much of a hassle to unlock, ride, find a new place to park, and lock up in passing period. It doesn't save any time during the peak hours from 10:00am to 2:00pm because you can never safely get up to speed, and rarely are things far away enough to make it worthwhile anyway. My campus is bigger, too, at 600 acres. It's just not a big deal to walk from A to B.
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Old 01-08-08, 04:25 AM   #16
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I've only cycled on campus when it was empty (actually it was a week after finals), I wanted to use their paved track to do some laps with a friend.

However, I've seen more skateboarders almost hitting people and cars than bicycles, doesn't seem too popular at my school. I know of one bike rack on campus and it isn't big.

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I'm not even sure what the need to ride from class to class is. In my experience, it's too much of a hassle to unlock, ride, find a new place to park, and lock up in passing period. It doesn't save any time during the peak hours from 10:00am to 2:00pm because you can never safely get up to speed, and rarely are things far away enough to make it worthwhile anyway. My campus is bigger, too, at 600 acres. It's just not a big deal to walk from A to B.
Not everyone lives on campus. The frugal ones will avoid it for good reasons.
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Old 01-08-08, 10:26 AM   #17
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Not everyone lives on campus. The frugal ones will avoid it for good reasons.
So what is stopping them from riding to campus and locking up near the best access point and walking to classes in that area? Perhaps if one class is on the opposite side of campus, walk to bike unlock, ride around perimeter and lock up to nearest access to that class room.

If I was still a student on a large campus, more important to me would be a few placed and very secure perimeter lock up places than access to walking paths with scattered bike racks at most buildings. The former may actually cost more if done right, but would encourage more folks to ride as they wouldn't have to worry as much about a stolen bike.

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Old 01-08-08, 01:34 PM   #18
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UCSB has the same policy. No riding on campus except on designated bike paths. These bike paths mostly circle the perimeter. But recently they opened with great fan-fare a bike path that goes through the middle.

You don't need door-to-door bike access. You just need to be able to get reasonably close and walk the rest of the way. A campus should be a quiet place to walk and think and not a freeway buzzing with bikes around whizzing around every building. Also, people need to learn how to walk fast. I worked Orientation Programs for a couple of summers and it drove me nuts how slow high school kids walk.
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Old 01-08-08, 03:50 PM   #19
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I generally would be up in arms about something like this, but if bikes actually have GREATER access than cars, but limited on campus due to a ped crush btw classes, I don't have a problem.

But if bikes were not allowed in places cars were, I'd be steamed!
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