UO Bike Program, Campus Operations begin initiative to improve bike safety

To increase bicycle safety, Campus Operations layed down the first shared road arrows, or “sharrows” on 13th avenue Monday morning. The arrows will replace bike lanes, making campus streets shared between drivers and cyclists. This is the first of several steps to improve bike safety on campus.

After receiving a silver ranking in bike friendliness last March from the League of American Bicyclists, UO Bike Program Coordinator Ted Sweeney and former coordinator Briana Orr started working toward initiating a bike infrastructure plan that has been sitting untouched by the administration for 20 years.

Former Bike Program coordinator Brianna Orr rides across the freshly laid "sharrow" on 13th Avenue. (Sam Stiles/Oregon Daily Emerald)

The silver ranking put the University behind two gold-ranked University of California schools, and platinum-ranked Stanford.

“When we were going through the (bike friendliness ranking) application process, it asked us if we had signs, road markers and other types of infrastructure for cyclists which we had none of, and we thought: ‘why don’t we?'” Sweeney said.

Orr and Sweeney took action to make campus transportation easier and safer. Campus Operations, Department of Public Safety and the Outdoor Program all supported the Bike Program’s plan. Campus Operations donated $5,000 and the ASUO awarded it $17,000 in over-realized funds.

“I remember when Brianna, and Ted came in to pitch their plan (to ASUO), and I felt that it was a great idea and it would be great for this campus,” ASUO Senator Molly Bacon said. This increase in biking infrastructure is great for not only the biking community but the university as a whole, Bacon said.

Other parts of the bike infrastructure plan include placing signs on streets indicating directions and times to destinations, smaller road markers indicating bike usage on smaller paths, and as clearly labeled walk-only zones reserved for pedestrians. Campus Operations hopes to have these plans completed by start of fall term.

“We thought that this was a really great cause for the money to be going to because campus is getting more and more students, but the paths aren’t getting any wider,” Orr said.

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