Thursday, June 5, 2008
Race to Be First University Program in U.S.
With the race to be the first American city with a 3rd generation bike-sharing program pretty much settled on Washington, D.C., the race to be the first American university is still open to takers. Readers of The Bike-sharing Blog will know that The University of Washington in Seattle is planning to launch a program this fall, however, Saint Xavier University in Chicago is hoping to beat them to it.
According to their press release:
"Chicago (May 9, 2008) Saint Xavier University students, faculty and staff will have the option of a self-service bike sharing program beginning next semester.
"Over the summer, the University will install the SXU Green Bike Program, providing 65 European pedal bikes that can be automatically checked out 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a Cougar card and returned to any of several computerized docking stations around campus. The first 15 minutes between docking stations will be free, and patrons can use cell phone technology to more easily arrange for a bike.
"Many universities across the country offer some form of sharing program, but Saint Xavier will be the first to use the shaft-driven bikes from the French company Veloway, Europe’s premier bike share distributor. More information will follow this summer.
" 'The SXU Green Bike Program will be a remarkable addition to this campus,' said Assistant Vice President for Physical Facilities Paul Matthews. 'This latest in a long line of green activities at Saint Xavier will allow students, faculty and staff to forego their fuel-burning vehicles and travel campus in a clean and sustainable way.' "
Bike-sharing at universities makes as much sense as breathing fresh air. The transportation budgets of universities for the most part focuses too greatly on the provision of parking spaces. At around $20,000 to build a parking space according to a study by George Mason University, it seems that not constructing as few as 15 parking spaces and reallocating these funds to a bike-sharing program would better serve a university community by improving mobility.
image credit: Saint Xavier University