GU Bike Share Set for Spring
Published: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Updated: Saturday, August 31, 2013 16:08
The Georgetown University Student Association is partnering with the new Office of Sustainability to make the campus more bike friendly ahead of a planned rollout of a Georgetown bike-share program next semester.
The Georgetown bike share would tentatively be a collaboration between GUSA, the Office of Sustainability, Lauinger Library, the Office of Student Financial Services and the Department of Public Safety.
The bike share could operate on both a short-term and long-term condition, with rentals running through the library.
The supply of bicycles would be split between long-term and short-term rentals, with some bicycles available to check out for an entire semester and other hourly rentals available through Lauinger.
The bikes for the proposed program would come from DPS, which has a stock of bikes that are left abandoned on campus at the end of the school year.
“I was ecstatic and happy to partner with a student group on the bike share program,” DPS Chief of Police Jay Gruber said. “You know it’s great that we have the opportunity to donate a lot of these bikes that have been abandoned and put them to good use.”
Summer sustainability fellow Greg Miller (SFS ’14) and GUSA Secretary of Sustainability Gabe Pincus (SFS ’14) worked with DPS and Lauinger staff throughout the summer to discuss the viability of a bike share program.
“We kind of realized there was a lot more that could and should be done before we set up the bike program,” Pincus said. “There’s just a lack of awareness about biking infrastructure at Georgetown. … We don’t want to establish this program in a vacuum.”
Instead, they will focus on establishing a biking culture on campus that would lay the foundation for the bike share in the spring.
The Georgetown groups are working to partner with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, a Washington, D.C., bike advocacy group, to get the university certified as bike friendly. WABA representatives will attend campus events throughout the semester to raise biking awareness on campus.
“They’re coming to [the Student Activities] fair and various other events to table and distribute bike maps and info about riding safely,” Miller said. “We’re hoping to bring a bike mechanic through the GU Farmers Market. They set up bike repair stands and they’ll teach people basic repair skills.”
This semester, Miller hopes to expand bike education and safety on campus by expanding on-campus classes about proper bike usage. Freshmen also received flyers with information on bike safety during NSO.
“One aspect is having classes to try to build confidence, use the bike trail network, et cetera,” Miller said. “The university already has a once-a-month bike safety class, mainly for faculty and commuters, which we’re hoping to expand to students.”
The implementation of a bike-share program would coincide with Georgetown’s official ban on cars for undergraduates.
“This definitely gives us a springboard to jump off of in terms of this issue [of transportation],” Miller said. “We hope to host a campus-wide bicycling forum to come together and speak about what it is they like about biking at Georgetown.”
Although Capital Bikeshare operates a station right outside the front gates, Pincus said there is still a need for a Georgetown-specific program.
“Capital Bikeshare was insufficient for student needs,” Pincus said. “Not that Capital Bikeshare is a bad program in any way, but it’s mostly geared toward tourists or commuters rather than students.”
The idea for a bike share program originated in a report two years ago but was prioritized again as a term goal by Pincus and GUSA President Nate Tisa (SFS ’14).
Office of Sustainability Director Audrey Stewart said that increasing bike usage at Georgetown is consistent with her office’s goals.
“Bicycling is a key component of sustainability at the university,” Stewart said. “Whether for commuting or just for fun, biking is a low-resource way to get around and promotes a healthier community and planet.”