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UCSB’s Associated Students’ bicycle advocacy group approved $20,000 on Jan. 25 for renovations of the Recreation Center’s bike lot over Spring Break.
The construction will increase the number of bike parking spaces from 260 to 431 by installing space-saving ‘peak racks’ like the ones in place outside Campbell Hall. The Recreation Center Governance Board approved an additional $20,000 last week to match the contribution from Bicycle Improvements Keep Everyone Safe and fully fund the project.
B.I.K.E.S. Program Coordinator Emily Nord, a third-year political science major, said the new racks will help alleviate the lot’s overcrowding problem.
“It’s one of the busiest parking lots on campus,” Nord said. “There are a lot of illegally parked bikes; it’s one of the most consistently over capacity. Over the last five quarters or so it’s been, on average, over 120 percent over-parked.”
The student-run group will distribute a “Bike Gripe” student survey to evaluate and prioritize bike-related campus issues before choosing how to allocate their $88,000 annual budget, generated from a student lock-in fee.
“We oversee all the improvements on the bike paths and we also try to raise awareness about safety issues and encourage good biking skills,” Nord said. “Anything bike-related, we try to address and improve to make students’ lives easier.”
Nord said the renovation will improve the lot in a number of ways, from easing the hassle of parking in a crowded area to cutting down on bike impounds due to illegal parking.
“I think it’s kind of funny; you’ll see a big sign that says ‘illegally parked bikes subject to impound’ and right underneath is an illegally parked bike. We want to give [students] more space to park their bikes in the right spot,” Nord said. “Considering how much bikes are used as a part of the daily lives of students here, I think it’s a good investment.”
B.I.K.E.S. recently completed a variety of improvements on campus, including repaving Storke Circle, the Music Building, South Hall and an intersection near Kerr Hall. The group is currently collaborating with the A.S. Coastal Fund and the Coastal Conservancy to restore UCSB’s West Campus bluff trail, currently deteriorating due to erosion and faulty drainage. The project is scheduled to finish in March.