Green Bag Series Discusses Bike Share and Bike Friendly University

At the February Green Bag Discussion Series, GC Director of Parking and Transportation Ryan Greene presented current news on the Bike Share program, our efforts to become a Bike-Friendly University, carpooling to campus, and the Fishing Creek Community Trail.

Ryan has been working with student leaders to help create a Bike Share program, whereby several dozen bicycles would be made available to students, staff, and faculty for use around campus and town.  The bicycles encourage healthy lifestyles, recreation, and cut down on automobile traffic and parking problems.  Ryan and a group of dedicated activists have identified several alternatives, including 1) an in-house program paid for and operated by Georgia College, 2) a third-party vendor solution such as Gotcha Bike which would be paid for by advertising sponsors and operated by a national vendor, and 3) some combination of those two options in the event that we are unable to attract major external funding.  The cost of a program is dependent upon the type of bikes, how many bikes, and what type of locking and check-out mechanisms are used.  Ryan estimates that a program with 20 bikes running for three years would cost about $72,000.  The benefit of the third-party solution is that a bulk of the expenses could be covered from advertising revenue placed on the bikes themselves.

gotcha_bike

Ryan also updated the attendees on current efforts to qualify Georgia College as a Bike-Friendly University, a program run by the League of American Bicyclists.  The application for this important designation is being completed by Ryan’s office.  The Bicycle Friendly University program evaluates applicants’ efforts to promote bicycling in five primary areas: engineering, encouragement, education, enforcement and evaluation/planning.  Qualifying would enhance recreation and wellness opportunities on campus and attract attention to our efforts to make Georgia College more sustainable by providing alternative transportation options.

In related developments, Ryan shared his efforts to promote a system to enhance ride-sharing among students, staff, and faculty.   Georgia College has an outdated Ride Share board online, but it is not getting much use, and there was a discussion on ways to encourage more students to share rides to and from campus.  Ryan would like assistance developing a convenient and efficient online solution to help commuters identify and contact willing riders or drivers to share driving, and reduce the need to develop additional parking spaces.  Ryan mentioned that his department recently conducted a study for the construction of a parking garage at the Montgomery & Liberty St. lot; the estimate for a parking structure works out to $32,000/space, which makes bicycles and carpooling a lot more attractive!

Ryan also discussed plans in the works to develop the Fishing Creek Community Trail, a multi-use trail from the Oconee River Greenway to West Campus and beyond.  President Steve Dorman and other community leaders have hired a consultant to develop a design plan, and are identifying stakeholders for funding and grants.  This trail would help connect West Campus to Main Campus with a contoured path along the creek that would go under the highways and allow students to bike to class without having to worry about traffic on the main roads.

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