A proposed bikepath connecting the Engineering building to Broida Hall will not be completed for five or six more years, if ever, as plans work through the university, a member of the campus bicycle safety committee said.
While Associated Students candidates speak of completing the path by next year, the university Design Review Committee (DRC) voted to delay the project in a meeting last Friday and does not plan to discuss the path again until 2002, DRC Chair Michael Artz said. Artz said more planning is needed and future construction should be considered before the bikepath is built.
“It’s much more complicated than a bikepath,” he said.
An independent design committee, consisting of professional architects and urban planners, has offered alternative sites for bikepaths that would not interfere with construction of future parking lots or faculty housing, Artz said.
The decision could lead to more delays, said graduate student Jim Dalton, who has worked to get the “Broida Expressway” passed for years as a member of several campus safety committees. Dalton said he went to the meeting Friday and was disappointed at the outcome.
“The result of the decision of the DRC has delayed this project indefinitely,” Dalton said. “I believe I could have had it built in 16 months if it had been accepted.”
The DRC has already paid $20,000 to a professional to plan and design the bikepath, all which included landscape planning, pedestrian and bicycle path alternatives and a complete estimate of the planning, Dalton said.
He believes a path would help safety for bikers and pedestrians.
“I believe that when you have a situation where students are doing the wrong thing and getting tickets for it, the environment should be designed effectively to not have students do the wrong thing,” Dalton said. “As long as there is not a pathway from the Chemistry building to the library, bicyclists will have to walk their bikes. Not all students will comply, though, and the incomplete bikepath will encourage students to ride their bikes illegally through the sidewalks, putting themselves and pedestrians at greater risk of an accident.”
Four years ago, the Public Safety Committee had to decide whether to improve the current bikepaths’ geographic locations and conditions or eliminate bikepaths altogether, Dalton said. An established $0.75 per-quarter lock-in fee, adding up to over $43,000 a year, helped pay for new bikepaths and the re-surfacing of old ones. A half-million dollars have been spent over the last three years on improvements.
One thousand students signed a petition supporting the “Broida Expressway” and Associated Students have unanimously passed legislation in support of the path for the last two years, Public Safety Committee Chair Courtney Ross-Tait said. Ross-Tait said she believes the committee does not understand the need for a new bikepath.
“Bicycles are not given the credit they deserve,” she said. “This is a much needed pathway.”
UCSB’s flat geography makes it unique from other colleges, and an estimated 14,000 bikes are on campus on the busiest days. Bicycling is an important form of transportation because parking is limited, Dalton said.
The A.S. BIKES Committee has moved on to their second priority for this summer: a bikepath from the library to the existing parking lot next to Broida.