Transportation Committee - May 20, 2008

May 20, 2008; 8:30 am
Kendall 207

Present: Jillian Buckholz; Ann Bykerk-Kauffman; Beverly Gentry; Jim Jessee; Suzy Littrell; Russell Mills; Rick Rees; Eric Reichel; Alan Rellaford; Ken Sator; Glennda Morse; Guests: Ann Marie Redente and Kyle Hughes from AS Adventure Outings

Wildcat Bike Program: Kyle Hughes, from the AS Adventure Outings Bike Cart Program, talked last semester about expanding their cycling services on campus. Today, he and Ann Marie Redente reported the status of their program; he also gave a brief update on their recent participation in Bike Week. His group hosted the bike swap which is a big collaborative garage sale. He said they polled a lot of students and non-students; he learned there is a lot of staff and faculty on campus who make an effort to bike to campus. There was over 250 people at their event as well as 20 sellers. They raised $300 for the Butte Bicycle Coalition. He said they also set up an Energizer Station in City Plaza which was very popular and received positive feedback.

Kyle reported that their Bike Cart was busier this semester than it was last semester. He said they did 80 tune-ups and repaired 156 flat tires. He said that all used tires/tubes are recycled. He said the agreement they have with University Police to receive abandoned/found bicycles have helped them to have 4 auctions; they have sold approximately 200 bikes; they plan to have one to two more auctions in the Fall.

The A.S. would like to expand the bike program on campus. Currently they are providing the following major services to campus:

  • They provide a convenient and economical place for bike repair (outside the BMU, out of their Bike Cart).
  • They offer used bike sales through auctions and at the Bike Cart.
  • They encourage sustainability by giving people an alternate mode to campus, as well as recycling the metal and rubber from the bikes they cannot fix up.
  • They provide safety education.
  • They contribute to reducing vehicle traffic.
  • They contribute to reducing parking issues.
  • They provide employment for students on campus.

The proposed additions to their program include:

  • Conducting workshops/clinics to teach people how to tune up their own bikes.
  • Hold open shop time, where people can come work on their own bike.
  • Educate the community on bicycle safety.
  • Collaborate with/assist UPD on bike registration.
  • Open a donation center where students can donate their bikes when they leave campus.
  • Have a rental fleet. Their idea here is to start small; e.g. target the international students who are only here for one or two semesters.
  • Offer a bike safety school, where a person can go instead of getting a ticket for a bike violation.

Ann Marie Redente said in order to move forward with the above proposed additions to their program, they would need:

  • Working space for four mechanic stations (minimum of 400 square feet).
  • Room to store 75-100 bikes for auctions.
  • Storage for inventory of used parts.
  • The space should be close to the campus core and near students.

Potential places they have looked into include the current racquetball courts behind Acker Gym. Each court is 800 square feet and they are currently under utilized. The only downside is that it may be costly to have a roof put on the open courts.

Kyle said he’s been talking with professors about the triangle of land behind McConnell Hall. Perhaps a small structure could be built (by students) in this area. The downside to this is the cost, and they don’t know the regulations and procedures associated with building something new on campus.

They also looked into the Whitney Hall area. It is already an indoor facility, however, it would not be available for 2-3 years and they are not sure what Housing has planned for that space already. They have looked into a temporary space at Siskiyou, but, it would be only temporary. They also would like to explore using one of the houses in the College Park neighborhood or getting space allocated in a new parking structure. Ideally they would like to get some place long term.

Jim Jessee said he would encourage they pursue the racquetball courts idea, suggesting that they talk with Duane Knudson. Chief Reichel said he has spoken to Duane about the area already and he is receptive to using it for this reason. Kyle said he did meet with Duane a few weeks ago. The outcome was that they were willing to give them some space; the potential is there. Glennda said even covering the space(s) with roofing would be cheaper than studying the “lot” behind McConnell and all the things associated with getting something new built on campus (no matter how small). She said maybe the construction/engineering students can help with the roof project. In addition, Jim Jessee asked what about using one or more of the existing courts for secured bike parking that could be card-accessed.

Ann Marie said she looked into prices for the double-decker bike racks and found out that a120-stall double-decker secured rack would cost approximately $20,000. Ken Sator said they should remember to look at the insurance and risk-management issues affiliated with running a small business-type enterprise on state land. There is paperwork they will need to go through, so the University itself wouldn’t be liable. There are also safety issues they need to look at relating to the use of using solvents, oils, flammables, lubricants, etc. How are they protected? How are they stored? They may have to include plans for this to be run by the State Fire Marshall’s office and there may be costs associated that aren’t realized now.

Ken said he is interested to hear what local bike shops are saying about the program, since they could be losing business. Kyle said they’ve looked at other schools that have similar programs. Jillian said the direction they are going in has an advantage in that they are offering things that are not offered anywhere else, for example, the education they provide to the campus community about bike safety and bike programs.

Jillian made the suggestion to offer “fun rides.” Have each participant pay a $10 fee for a planned ride somewhere; have vendors set up along the way. A way to encourage local bike shops to accept the AS Bike Program is by advertising for them. Chico Velo has dealt with that issue in the past.

Bike Week Debriefing: Bev Gentry said thank you to Kyle, who did a lot of work organizing the bike swap. She also thanked Ann Marie, Cory and Kirk Monfort. She said Jillian took the lead in organizing the University’s connection with the City of Chico Bike to Work Week Challenge. She said we had over 100 participants and it was a very successful event. Bev gave a big thank you to all who contributed to the success of the event.

Zipcar/Flexcar Program: Jillian Buckholz did a lot of research regarding the program. The Zipcar and Flexcar programs have merged; they are now the same company, however, they still use both names at this time. She presented what the program is all about: providing rental car(s) on campus to people who need to use a car by the hour. She said they take care of all insurance, background checks, all vehicle maintenance; roadside assistance; etc. The University needs to provide a parking space and a $35 annual application fee. The user signs up by going on their website. Once the user is approved, he gets a card which is then flashed at the windshield; the door opens. The keys are in the car as well as a gas card. Flexcar says each car they have takes about 20 vehicles off the road. The only other expense to the university is that you have to guarantee so much revenue per month. The University would have to pay the difference if Flexcar didn’t make a certain amount of money. Many questions were asked, which Jillian said she would research. Much discussion took place about the program. It was suggested that Housing would be a great place in which to try the program since Flexcar caters to young drivers. It may be a way to get Freshman to leave their vehicles at home when they move into student housing their first year. Jillian said she would meet with them to discuss the program.

Spring 2008 Bike Survey: The survey was shared with the committee. Comments regarding the decline of bike ridership were made. It was mentioned that bus ridership was up this semester; perhaps there is a trend. Discussion regarding possible reasons for decline in bike ridership took place.

Russell Mills commented that Bike Week doesn’t necessarily change habits. People ride their bikes during bike week, but go back to their old habits afterward. He said it may have gotten one or two new people to ride a bike to work permanently.

Other: Alan Rellaford asked who is responsible for bikes left in racks that are trashed? Chief Reichel said it is University Police; UPD does a formal bike clean-up in the summer. (Notices are put on bikes, then they are confiscated.) A suggestion was made for the racks to be bolted down so they can’t be dragged. It was also suggested to have the AS Bike Cart Program participants be involved in helping UPD identify abandoned bike (e.g. every Monday morning, someone could walk the campus and report to UPD any “abandoned” or vandalized bicycles). Chief Reichel said that part of the Summer O presentation to new students includes reminders about not leaving your bike parked in the same place for a long time, and what happens to bikes that are left in bike racks.

Bev Gentry said the City’s bike map has been revised and it is now on-line. The website is: http://www.bcag.org/documents/transit/bike_maps/cbikemap.pdf. Bev encouraged everyone to look at the map and provide feedback as it will be discussed at the next Chico City Bike Advisory Committee meeting. They are looking to us to double-check the CSU Chico portion of the map.

Bev also reported that over the past several years, the University has always gotten assistance with paying for the free ridership program on the Butte County buses. The money comes from the Butte County Air Quality Management District, who gets grant funding. She said they did not get much funding this year, and therefore, will not be assisting the University with the bus ridership program as in past years. Since the University is locked in to the bus ridership program until 2010, she said they will be looking at other options to help fund this program.

Alan Rellaford and Bev Gentry said they are still working on their idea to change the look of the campus parking permits. Samples were handed out and some discussion took place. They said they still planned to pilot the new tags at the Health Center this fall.

Bev said if anybody had any announcements for the TAPS website, to please let her know.

Alan asked Chief Reichel about having another promotional campaign in place when school starts (the sandwich board signs reminding people about bicycle safety, etc.) Chief Reichel suggested they discuss it later via e-mail. Alan mentioned he has seen commentary about the signs over a blog, FYI.

Chief Reichel reminded the committee this was the last meeting until the Fall semester. Committee members would be contacted in a few months regarding the new meeting schedule.

Meeting adjourned at 9:40 am.