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Gaining Speed: Bicycling Gains Traction on NYU’s Campus

May 07, 2013

At first there was the large, gated-off bicycle rack behind Stern, accessible with an NYU ID card. For those-in-the-know, there was the luxury of the small indoor rack in Meyer Hall. And, for those who didn’t care too much whether the bike they retrieved at the end of the day resembled the bike they dropped off in the morning, there was the rack on Waverly Place next to Tisch.

But as climate change has become a pressing global issue and sustainability a major initiative at NYU, bicycle commuting has become a University priority.

Truth is, given the excellence and the pervasiveness of NYC’s transit system, unlike many major universities, NYU has few automobile commuters.  A transportation survey conducted by the University in 2009 found that on the average weekday only about 2.3 percent of NYU’s students and employees commute to work by motor vehicle (car, motorcycle, or scooter).

Meanwhile, bicycle use has grown substantially in our community. Here’s a map of NYU and NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) bike racks in the area from 2008:

Bikes2008

Here’s a map of NYU and NYCDOT bike racks from 2012:

Bikes2012

This growth in racks was driven by higher bicycle utilization around campus and across the neighborhood (and also by the tendency of bike riders, in the absence of racks, to attach their bikes to street posts, lampposts, park fences, and whatever scaffolding happened to be around).

CitiBike-Law

Nearly three years ago, emerging from our Green Grants initiative, NYU launched its own bike share program, which has been a major success. There are currently some 850 participants, with over 200 added since January 2013. The program began with 30 bikes and has been expanded to 75 bikes due to demand.

You may have noticed new sets of bike racks have started appearing near Washington Square, including a set near the Meyer Building on Washington Place. They are part of the NYC’s bike share program, CitiBike. NYU worked with NYC DOT to select locations that would make the program readily available to members of the NYU community and the larger NYC bike-riding community.

CitiBike-Silver

So, if you’re moving from meeting-to-meeting or building-to-building or class-to-class, think about using a bike – it’s good for you and good for the environment, and you’ll be joining a fast-growing crowd at NYU.

And don’t forget to wear a helmet.

--John Beckman

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