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UI nominated for bike share grant

BY DANIEL VALENTIN | DECEMBER 16, 2014 5:00 AM

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In an effort to reduce the carbon footprint, the University of Iowa has applied to receive a $135,000 grant to start a bike-sharing program on campus.

The grant would pay for 76 percent of the cost to set up three stations across campus, each housing 30 bikes.

The program would allow students to rent bicycles through the UI.

The David Rose, the head of the Iowa Transportation Commission, said the commission approves the money for the grant, but another department decides on the grant.

“There is tremendous interest from all communities in Iowa,” he said.

Liz Christiansen, the director of the University of Iowa Office of Sustainability, said the bike-sharing program would provide modes of transportation for people having to deal with parking problems because of construction.

She also said it would be a more affordable mode of transportation for those who do not own cars on campus.

“By the middle of January, we like to promote safe walking, safe driving, and safe bicycling,” she said.

Christiansen said the idea of having a bike-sharing program was recommended after the UI became a bicycle friendly community.

She also said the Biking Advisory Program will launch a bike-safety course in the spring.

University of Iowa Student Government Vice President Jeffrey Ding said he spent time with the bicycle committee in the summer of 2013 and sent in an application for the grant, but it failed.

He also said since then, UISG has conducted surveys to provide statistical support making sure the bike-sharing program is still popular among students.

“There’s a lot of benefits to encouraging more bicycling,” he said.

Ding said UISG also submitted a letter in conjunction with the grant proposal saying it will collaborate by providing necessary funds to support the program.

“It will continue to show the University of Iowa is bike friendly,” he said.

Some students are unsure of whether they would use the bike-sharing program if it were created.

UI sophomore Courtney Mercurio said she would rather drive her car on campus because it would be more convenient to have when it is raining compared with a bike.

“I drive a car everywhere because it saves time,” she said.

Mercurio, however, said she thinks the program might appeal to other students.

“I think we’re college students, and if we’re presented with bikes, more students will take advantage of it,” she said.

UI senior Eric Lofstrom said the bicycle-sharing program would help reduce bus traffic because more people riding bicycles means the buses will be less crowded.

He also said this new program would be good for the university’s image.

“More people on bikes looks good for freshmen visiting the university,” Lofstrom said.


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