Next fall, the University of Miami may see an increase in cyclists on campus.
Junior Jake Krupa is working with Student Government and the Department of Parking and Transportation Services to bring a bike rental program to students by next semester.
The proposal for the program calls for the rental stations to be set up in the Ponce, Pavia and the University Village parking garages, where students will be able to check out bikes from a parking attendant for up to 24 hours and then return them to any of the available stations.
“We want to focus on the parking garages, specifically the UV garage,” Krupa said. “It would really alleviate the shuttle problem.”
Eventually, he hopes to implement electronic bike check-out stations across campus, but at the moment there is no electronic system that would work well on UM’s campus. In the meantime, the manual check-out system offers a possibility for creating student jobs to redistribute bikes and remove the damaged or broken ones from the racks.
Richard Sobaram, director of parking and transportation services, said the program will greatly cut down traffic congestion that is caused by students driving from parking lot to parking lot between classes.
“It would cut down the number of cars on campus and driving around campus. Not to mention the personal health and wellness thing,” Sobaram said. “It’s just a question of how do we get faculty and students engaged.”
Many colleges in the United States have already facilitated bicycle transportation programs for students. The University of Minnesota is currently in partnership with the City of Minneapolis to provide a public bike-sharing system called Nice Ride where bicycles can be checked out from public electronic kiosks. Schools like Texas Christian University, Duke and Emory have similar programs.
One advantage of the bike rental program at UM is that participation will be free to students, whereas at schools like the University of Minnesota, a season pass must be purchased for $50.
The only thing that is missing before the program can be put into action is funding. Krupa has already submitted a proposition to Sobaram for the purchase of 30 bikes for the program’s initial test run to gauge student interest. At this point, a prototype bike has been ordered that will be tested throughout the spring and summer semester to see if the bikes will be strong enough to stand riding and Miami weather conditions. According to Krupa, the rest of the bikes could total anywhere between $10,000 and $15,000.
“We want to get high quality bikes so we can spend less on repair costs,” Krupa said.
Alexandra Leon may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.