Campus to create more bike-friendly paths, infrastructure

Students were asked to take a survey about their bike riding experience on campus

Porche Black/The Record

Students were asked to take a survey about their bike riding experience on campus

SUNY Buffalo State has begun working with national and local consulting teams with the hopes of creating a more bike-friendly campus through policy and infrastructure changes.

The facilities planning committee and parking and transportation committee of the campus’ environmental health and safety office are working with Alta Planning and Design, Wendel Companies and GO Bike Buffalo to choose selected strategies and improvements.

The first step in the project is asking campus community members, students, faculty, neighbors and visitors to complete an online survey about the current conditions on campus. After the survey is complete it will be easier to analyze the current state of things and determine what needs to be done in the future.

“Our goal is to eventually become labeled as a Bicycle Friendly University, a title given by the League of American Bicyclists to universities and colleges that promote and provide bikeable communities,” said John Bleech, environmental programs coordinator. “They give a sort of roadmap to colleges who want to be on the way to that standard.”

We can’t say exactly what it is we will need to do until the survey results are in, but we’re specifically looking for problem intersections, dangerous pathways and how we can encourage more people to ride.”

— Tivona Renoni, GO Bike Buffalo community outreach coordinator

Qualifications that determine if a campus fits the description of a “bicycle friendly university” depend on the location, population and school type, but can include aspects like bike lanes, bike paths, plentiful bicycle parking and bike-specific events to promote cycling, according to the League of American Bicyclists website.

Bleech hopes all types of people, including die-hard bikers, seasonal bikers, those who never bike at all and those people who own bikes but choose not to ride them will fill out the survey. It is his goal to have survey results that encompass all types of campus community members to see what is working and what is holding people back from bicycle commuting.

“We can’t say exactly what it is we will need to do until the survey results are in, but we’re specifically looking for problem intersections, dangerous pathways and how we can encourage more people to ride,” said Tivona Renoni, community outreach coordinator at GO Bike Buffalo.

The interest in campus improvements came after a previous environmental project that would have created a fishing pier on Squaw Island became too costly due to its proximity to the international border. This project was presented as an alternative use for the finances.

It also comes after the League of American Bicyclists named the City of Buffalo a bronze level Bicycle-Friendly Community in October 2013. The award recognized Buffalo’s efforts through promotional, educational, infrastructural and policy changes.

“The City of Buffalo is undertaking a bicycle master plan right now and we want to work with that by being a couple steps ahead of them,” Bleech said.

Ideally the changes on campus will work fluidly with the changes the City of Buffalo has planned, through the Buffalo Green Code and the city’s bicycle master plan. The department of public works installed 11.3 miles of bike lanes in 2013 and has 18.5 miles of planned projects already funded and proposals for over 45 miles more.

The survey closes on Wednesday, April 30, and can be found on the Buffalo State finance and management website.

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