Friday, August 21, 2009
OU community gets wheels for campus commutesBy Katie Land, news editor
Two new forms of transportation will hit Oakland University’s streets this fall. The new school year will bring the launch of the OU Bike Share Program and the OU Van Shuttle Service.
Based on successful programs at other colleges and universities, these programs will offer free, eco-friendly and convenient choices for students, staff and faculty to cover distances on and off campus deemed too far to walk.
Largely a student-led initiative, the bike share will offer a convenient method of transportation, reduce traffic, decrease parking demand and reduce fuel emissions while promoting physical fitness and a sense of community.
“It is important to start looking at alternative forms of transportation,” said Glenn McIntosh, dean and assistant vice president for Student Affairs. “The bike share program serves a dual purpose by promoting an eco-friendly system and wellness concept to our faculty, staff and students.”
Developed to be used on an honor system model, the program will begin with at least 30 bikes and 30 designated bike racks. The bikes are to be used only on campus and will be stored during the winter months. An additional seven bike racks have been added to various buildings on campus.
Program organizers anticipate an increase in the number of private bikes on campus and plan to continue to develop a bike-friendly campus culture by establishing bike lanes and bike trails throughout campus.
The shuttle bus is a pilot program that will run every weekend from September to April. Bus transportation will be free to all OU students, staff and faculty with an OU ID.
“As our on-campus population continues to grow, we have seen a need for this type of service,” said Dave Tindall, assistant director of residence life for University Housing. “Many students in the dorms don’t have vehicles or don’t want to lose their parking spaces. I’ve seen students walking down the Walton corridor with bags of groceries, and this shuttle van service will help keep them safe.”
Two 12-passenger vans will run in loops to locations such as Busch's shopping center, Buffalo Wild Wings, The Village of Rochester and Downtown Rochester. The shuttle buses will run Fridays from 6 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
“Student participation will make this a success,” Tindall said. “But the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses are excited as well. A great by-product of this program is to see the campus community reaching out to the local community in Rochester to strengthen relationships and build community partnerships.”
The bike share program will kick off from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3 outside the North and South Foundation halls.