Grinding Gears

A bike-sharing program at Temple would be useful, but the resources aren’t in place.

Temple may soon be getting a bike-share program. Temple Student Government Sen. Dusha Holmes has been working with several Main Campus organizations to discuss the feasibility of a campus bike-sharing program.

Among the topics of discussion are security, organizational and usability issues, as well as the concern as to whether students would take advantage of such a program. These questions – and others – are what make a campus bike-sharing program seem more like a pipe dream than a looming reality.

A bike-sharing program could do wonders for the campus congestion. Students who normally rely on cars to get them from campus to their nearby homes or jobs could bike to campus instead, clearing up streets and easing the parking problem. There would be fewer Main Campus parking violations, and residents in the surrounding neighborhoods wouldn’t have to compete with students for parking spots.
Of course, there is an added bonus: the green factor.

If more students were to swap their four wheels for two, Temple would be one step closer to being a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly university.

But the would-bes and the what-ifs are too many right now for a bike-sharing program to be feasible.
The biggest issue at hand is the organizational factor. Holmes and the campus administrators he’s been working with haven’t figured out who would run such a program: the university or students.If it were to fall into the hands of the university, the current economic condition would likely dictate a small budget.
Temple is currently in a hiring freeze and is making budget cuts. How will it be able to supply enough bikes for the program to run successfully?

And then there are other major factors to consider.

Bikes would clear up the parking matter, but where would all the bikes go? Temple would need to find a place to install more bike racks around campus. Installing additional racks would cost more money.
Safety would be yet another concern. The concept of getting people to bike more would decrease the amount of engine exhaustion in the air and increase students’ mobility, but it would also mean literally putting people on the street, often times without bike lanes.

In Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University have successful bike-sharing programs, which Holmes has been researching. But the key to these programs is resource. The amount of money it would take to initiate a bike-sharing program on Main Campus and provide adequate storage and safety doesn’t make such a program – no matter how useful – seem like a possibility any time soon.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.