Tag Archives: transportation

If You Build It, They Will Come: Campus Bike Locking Structure Forthcoming

Students at the University of San Francisco are constantly on the move. Whether it be the hustle between classes or a two-wheeled ride to campus, Dons of the latter variety will soon experience more accommodations for bikers at USF.

In the works is a roofed, secure bike storage structure to be built in the upcoming years. While the final design and location have not yet been determined, USF Facilities Management will be working with junior architecture student Bryce Costley to develop the bike shelter.

“As biking has become a more popular mode of transportation to the USF campus, the amount of secure bike parking must increase…a covered shelter offers more security and will also keep bikes out of the rain,” said Robin Kuehn, the transportation sub-chair of the sustainability committee and a senior history student.

Costley’s model recently won an architecture and design student competition hosted by facilities management, USFpedals, and the ASUSF Sustainability Committee. His design can house up to 72 bikes on a two-level locking fixture, and includes lockers and a changing space, all of which can only be accessed with a USF ID. The outside of the structure features an open area for educational sessions and meetings. According to Liz Miles of facilities management, the final design components will implement a roofed structure with secure racks in a space of 600 square feet, which is about the size of a large living room.

The fear of theft and weather damage are the top factors deterring USF community members from biking to campus, said Steve Zavestoski, an environmental professor behind the Bicycle Transportation Plan. “The promise of covered and secure bicycle parking would attract people who otherwise do not bring a bike to campus. When people feel respected for their choice to use a bicycle for transportation, they are more likely to continue making that choice,” he said.

Of 127 bike rack spaces available throughout campus, only 73 of them are being used, according to the USF Bicycle Transportation Plan headed by USFpedals. The plan hopes to create more amenities for USF’s cyclists in order to better adapt to San Francisco’s prevalent bike culture. One of these amenities includes doubling the number of campus bike racks to 20, and including covered and secure parking options for 250 bikes before 2016.

Bikes are often improperly parked in areas like the bottom of the Lone Mountain stairs or at the entrance to the Kalmanovitz amphitheater because most of the current racks are in inconvenient areas located away from where riders can keep watch of their bike, as stated in the plan. In a 2011 USFpedals survey, nearly 500 of the 620 students, faculty, staff, and USF community members said that a free, covered, secure bike parking area would persuade them to ride a bicycle to campus.

Kuehn said, “Hopefully the new bike shelter will be a place where cyclists and non-cyclists intersect to form new friendships, share stories, exchange biking tips, and brainstorm ways to make USF a more sustainable campus.”

For more information on the USF Bicycle Transportation Plan, visit www.usfpedals.org.

BART Prices Increase, Environment Suffers

BART raised their prices recently, making it more expensive for the thousands of San Franciscan commuters to get around the Bay Area.  BART is a vital mode of transportation, and its importance was most evident last week when the Bay Bridge was closed. BART was supposed to be an easier and cheaper way to get home from various locations for people trying to stay environmentally conscious by keeping their cars off the road.

However, prices of BART tickets are continuing to increase, which gives less incentive for commuters to leave their car at home when gas costs just about the same as a BART ticket.

In August I took the BART from the station on Mission Street to the San Francisco International Airport and paid $10.70 for a round trip ticket.

I recently looked up the prices now to get to the airport from the same station and it is $16.10. It has only been three months and already the price has increased. Thankfully my roommate informed me of the Super Shuttle, which only costs $20 including tip. The Super Shuttle picks you up at your home, helps you with your bags, and drops you off at your designated terminal at the airport in a timely manner.

The problem with BART, besides its price increase, is that you have to take different buses or a cab to get to the BART station if you live near USF.

If you are going to the airport with luggage, this is a huge hassle. Super Shuttle will come to you and you don’t have to spend money on Muni to get to the BART station.

I do not understand why the city is increasing the price of public transportation, like BART and Muni, if they want us to be “greener” by not using cars as frequently. The previous prices were more reasonable and encouraged people to take BART or Muni instead of their cars. Now it costs $2 instead of $1.50 for an adult to take Muni, and $6 more for people to get to the SFO from downtown San Francisco.

San Francisco has better public transportation than other cities. It is clean and available almost 24 hours a day. But the transportation was also a cheaper way to get around San Francisco. That aspect is changing.

San Francisco is a environmentally conscious city and its public transportation should not make it more expensive for people to help the emissions of greenhouse gases. Something needs to be done and fares need to stop increasing.

It is quickly becoming more economically efficient to drive around the city and pay for gas instead of continually paying for bus fares and BART tickets that increase every time you hop on board. Bay Area public transportation agencies need to keep fares low in order to encourage commuters to ride transit and help the earth.

Student Tries to Get Bike Club Rolling

Tour guides from all over the state have hailed San Francisco as “the land of the bike.” According to the 2006 David Binder Poll, 30,000 plus San Franciscans use a bicycle as their primary mode of transportation. USF students are no exception. Many bike to campus and also bike for fun. Their bikes can be seen parked near Gleeson Library, University Center and outside Cowell Hall. Senior environmental studies major, Tarun Manya wants to take this biking passion one step further with the introduction of the Larger Rubber, a new bike club on campus.

The Larger Rubber Club was not registered in time to participate in the Involvement Fair, so Manya has been working to talk with students to make them aware of the club and to gather signatures for a petition. The Office of Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE) requires aspiring clubs to gain signatures and write a Constitution to become offically recognized. Tarun Manya, attempted to post up on the outskirts of the Involvement Fair, “I was[trying] to be as close as possible so I could get more people interested in the bike club, or upcoming bike club,” he said, but he was escorted away by Public Safety officers. Assistant Director of  SLE, Darren Pierre, said that he “didn’t know anything about the group” and so “could not, in good conscience, allow them to participate in the Involvement Fair.” Pierre does believe, however, that if the club can get registered it is “absolutely” a positive addition to USF. “Wherever there is a need and students can create ‘community’,” he said, there should be a club. The Larger Rubber Club does indeed cater to a desire for encouraging students to use alternative modes of transportation, and for students who bike to get together to share biking resources, information and experience.

Manya is currently getting a petition signed and creating a constitution, as part of the registration process required by SLE to become recognized as a club. In addition to promoting the use of bicycles, the club will participate in events based on the interests of its members. One San Francisco biking tradition is traversing the Golden Gate Bridge while taking in the city’s skyline. Freshman Lauren Birdwell expressed interest in the group, she said, “I’ve always wanted to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge!”

Public Safety to Replace Segways With Rascal Scooters

The economic downturn hit close to home at the budget meeting this past week with the board of trustees. USF’s Department of Public Safety was hit hardest when the group learned that its transportation budget would be sliced in half for the upcoming school year. After hours of debate on how best to acclimate to the sudden drop in funds, it was decided that all current methods of transportation would be sold and the department would invest in a new fleet of Rascal scooters for patrolling officers.

“We examined many resources, but Rascals always seemed to come out on top. They’re electric, they’re reliable and they have a lifetime guarantee from The Scooter Store,” said Dan Lawson, Director of Public Safety.

Rascals can reach top speeds of 30 miles per hour, where Segways could barely top 20. “This added 10 miles per hour was what made the Rascals stand out from the rest,” said Lawson.

Negotiations are currently underway to sell off the remaining patrol cars and Segways to charities in Africa who are there fighting the AIDS epidemic. USF is cutting the charities a break and offering good prices for the Segways, which is apparently an excellent mode of transportation in the rural African jungle. Unlike jeeps and Landrovers, Segways are immune to sand build-up, which can reduce a car’s speed and performance. Lawson only had this to say on behalf of the group, “One word: Karma.”

While some officers are taking the transition well, others are upset by the change. “That Segway was like my partner. I put a lot of hard work into that little guy. I even fashioned a personalized horn for the handlebars,” lamented Peter Thorn, a patrol officer at USF. “I’ll never be able to call one of those maroon scooters my own. I’m ashamed to even ride one.”

While this year’s entire transportation fund has been spent on the new fleet, the Department of Public Safety already has a wish list composed for next year. Accessories such as beverage caddies, front and rear baskets, folding trays and ‘coon tails comprise the list. A veteran officer, Scott O’Neal, pointed out, “The Rascal scooters expose us to the harsh winter elements and bitter wind of San Francisco…’coon tails are a must if we don’t want our heads to freeze.”

The only problem that Public Safety can foresee with the scooters is that officers might start being confused with members of the Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning. Lawson and the rest of the department have examined this possibility, but hope that the personal ‘coon tails they’ll receive next year will negate this dilemma.

The new fleet of scooters have been ordered and are on their way, and within a week USF will be welcoming a new fleet of power chairs to its walkways.