TSG Sen. proposes campus bike share

Dusha Holmes, a TSG senator and AKL brother, hopes to replicate bike programs that local universities Penn and Drexel have.

Getting to class quickly may soon be as easy as hopping on the nearest bike.

Temple Student Government Sen. Dusha Holmes is hoping to start a bike-sharing program on Main Campus.

University bike-share programs recently became a trend as more schools started adopting green initiatives and making efforts to decrease cars on campuses. Programs appeared at area schools and also at the University of New England, Ripon College, the University at Buffalo and Saint Xavier University.

Philadelphia recently became a major force in increasing bike usage. In September, it launched its first multi-station bike sharing program.

Holmes, a senior STOC major, started researching a bike-share program last semester. Originally, he started putting together bikes for his fraternity, Alpha Kappa Lambda.

Rows of bikes like the one above at the Edge are signs of hope for Dusha Holmes. The city of Philadelphia has also proposed a bike-sharing program of its own (Roman Krivitsky/TTN).

He said he wanted to make a small fleet of bikes for everyone to ride, but as the fraternity received more bikes, he decided loaning them out to other students would be a good idea.

Holmes studied bike-share programs at surrounding Philadelphia universities, specifically ones at the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.

“It’s a quick form of transportation. It’s environmentally friendly,” Holmes said. “I think it would provide just another option.”

Throughout the semester, Holmes talked to different bike shops around the city and the Bike Church on Penn’s campus.

He reached out to Students for Environmental Action, the Office of Sustainability, the Dean of Students’ office, the Office of Student Activities and TSG to help solidify his plans.

“Basically, I did a lot of talking. I did a lot of reading and a lot of talking,” Holmes said.

All the organizations came back with support and have since worked hard to get the program started.
Because the committee’s planning meetings just began last month, the program remains in its very early stages.

Robert Gage, director for sponsored research and chair of the bike committee, said members are still working to gather information.

The committee is trying to assess whether a bike-sharing program would be feasible at Temple and if people would use it. The members are making a set of recommendations about bike parking and safety.
If the committee decides that a bike program would be used, security and program operations would need to be addressed.

The committee has yet to decide whether the bike-share program would be operated by students or the university.

Holmes will also have to create an effective marketing campaign for the program to get students interested.

He said incoming freshmen could learn about the program at freshman orientation, and resident assistants could promote the program to current students. Fliers will be posted around campus, informing students about bike renting locations.

To get students involved, Holmes said he would like to see bike-riding programs in order for people to meet.

Instead of having walk-a-thons for charity, there could be bike-a-thons.

The bike committee will have focus groups and conduct Web-based surveys to gauge students’ input.

“It is too soon to tell if it will happen,” Gage said, citing that they should have more information by April.

Holmes remains hopeful the bike-share program will get off the ground by the end of the semester.

“I think we can create a nice little bike culture,” Holmes said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see people zipping around 17th Street, 15th Street, 16th Street. Traveling on bike would probably be safer.”

Rebecca Hale can be reached at rebecca.hale@temple.edu.

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