Three Penn School of Design students are working to make University City more bike-friendly.
The recently established University Bike Collective hopes to represent bikers on campus and advocate for bike reform in University City.
Daniel Wolf, one of the founding members of the Bike Collective, said the idea was prompted mostly by Susan Dannenberg from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, a regional bike advocacy group. Wolf, who had previously interned for University City District, “had some experience working on some bicycle-related issues in University City … doing analysis on usage of bike lanes and bike parking,” he said.
He and two fellow students, Veronica Ge and Bobby Lu, decided to form a group to promote these types of efforts.
“Through meeting with various other groups, we’re realizing just how much existing effort there is around this sort of stuff,” Wolf said. “There are all sorts of bicycle-related groups on Penn’s campus in particular.”
Wolf, Ge and Lu first met with an administrative Bike Committee, comprised mostly of people from Facilities and Real Estate Services, which is in charge of figuring out where bike parking should go on campus and developing general policies around bikes. The Bike Collective hopes to act as a group that represents bikers on campus because the administrative committees, like the Bike Committee, don’t have direct contact with bikers.
A primary goal, said Wolf, is connecting the many different groups that share similar concerns about and interest in bikes.
So far, the Bike Collective has held one information session in Meyerson Hall and has begun to build an online presence, garnering likes on their Facebook page and spreading the word about the initiatives of the group through Twitter.
Wolf, Ge and Lu hope people will get involved with the Bike Collective through its three principal goals, which are advocacy, education and exploration. They hope to add more bike lanes and bike parking to University City, identify the spots that have the highest rate of bike accidents, encourage more people to integrate biking in their daily lives and host social biking events.
“We plan on hosting urban riding basics courses,” Wolf said.
He added that while the Bike Collective has not yet developed any definite goals regarding known trouble spots on campus, like the intersection at 38th and Spruce streets which has been the scene of multiple accidents, the Bike Collective has met with representatives from the Undergraduate Assembly’s ad-hoc bike committee which is “more in touch with specific trouble spots on campus.”
To help their advocacy goal, the Bike Collective plans to pursue two main projects. The first is to create a crowdsourcing tool to identify where people want bike parking. According to Wolf, the UA is interested in taking that initiative and working directly with a University architect or with the FRES Bike Committee.
“Hopefully the survey respondents would be able to geotag their selected locations, upload a picture of the location and add comments about why they think a bike rack should go there,” Ge said.
The second project is a long-term goal to extend the Chestnut Street bike lane westward from 34th Street, as the lane currently runs only east from 34th. The Bike Collective hopes to get support for that project not only from Penn but also from Drexel, as Chestnut Street is “kind of the dividing line roughly between the two campuses,” Wolf said. Ge said that the project might also extend to University of the Sciences.
“We see this project as a way to work together, and as a way to express that this is a project that would not only benefit bikers but would benefit anyone crossing the street or walking along the street,” Wolf said. “We want Chestnut Street to be less like a three-lane highway.”
A previous photo caption misidentified Veronica Ge. Her last name is Ge, not Le.Comments powered by Disqus
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