Courtesy of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson’s vision for a bicycle friendly campus is slowly becoming a reality.
The 19-year-old civil engineering major plans to create bicycle paths through and around campus to increase bicycle transportation by making it less strenuous and dangerous.
“My goal is not making bicycling a sport or hobby but making it an effective mode of transportation,” Stephenson said.
After presenting his vision and plan to the Wellbeing Advisory Council in January, Stephenson said there has been an outpouring of support for the project.
Lakecia Farmer, ASWSU Arts and Sciences senator, has served as a liaison to help Stephenson connect with other groups who are working to improve bicycle safety on campus.
Farmer said she was in a bicycle accident the same day she presented about bicycle safety improvement to Pullman City Council.
“Bike safety is very important on this campus because many people do not have cars,” Farmer said. “The demand for Green Bikes has increased so people need a safe route to use them.”
Last week, the Services & Activities Fees committee recommended allocating funds to Wellbeing to add another Green Bike docking station. There are currently 120 bikes available for students to check out, according to the WSU Wellbeing website.
Stephenson has now established a cycleway project team consisting of six WSU students. The team has established connections with Parking and Transportation and has been collaborating with Alta, a company based in Portland that specializes in bicycle and pedestrian planning and design.
Stephenson and his team are continuing work on a proposal to present to ASWSU and the Parking and Transportation department in the near future.
After receiving feedback, Stephenson has had to make changes to his vision.
“I realized that it would not be realistic to make a 100 percent flat cycleway around the entire campus, so I have accepted that there may be areas with slight slopes,” Stephenson said. “The hope is to make small improvements that will increase bicycle use and make it easier to get from place to place.”
The largest issue Stephenson said he faces is the cost.
“The cost for one of the pedestrian bridges I hoped to see is $5 million,” Stephenson said. “So my goal is to start smaller.”
After revising his plan, Stephenson determined that the first stage of the cycleways would cost between $110,000 and $150,000. This stage would include pouring concrete and painting lanes.
Stephenson said he plans to apply to the Green Fund where he could receive up to $10,000 to start work on his project.
He said student input is the most influential aspect in shaping his vision.
“The more input we get, the faster we can produce ideas and the more bicycle friendly the campus will be,” Stephenson said.
Damen Gabriel Rodriguez of WSU Transportation Demand Management said Stephenson’s insight will be invaluable to the task force.
“It is the vision of people like Andrew that will bring about change for pedestrian and bicycle use in the area,” Rodriguez said.
A survey is currently underway to assess bicycle use at WSU. Stephenson encourages people to take the survey to better help him understand what needs to be done.
The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WSUBikePed2013.