Students who have demanded a bikepath between Broida and Webb halls will have a chance to put their money where their mouth is during next week’s campus elections.
A fee initiative on the ballot will call for a $3 per student per quarter lock-in fee to be paid through Summer 2007 to fund the construction of a bikepath through Broida Plaza. The roughly 120-yard addition would link the area around the Engineering and Chemistry buildings on the eastern side of campus to the library bikepath and cost between $400,000 and $500,000. The fee initiative is sponsored by the Associated Students Bicycle Improvements Keep Everyone Safe (A.S. BIKES) Committee.
Many students currently ride bikes through the area despite the lack of a path. A.S. BIKES chair Ed France said that students have been calling for the so-called “Broida Expressway” for seven years.
“We’ve been using that catchphrase for years. What we need to do is say to students, ‘Hey, you know how you can’t get from the library to the Chem. building on your bike? That’s what this is,'” he said.
Physical Facilities Project Manager Marsha Zilles said if the measure passes, construction on the path would most likely begin in Summer 2005, with preparations such as tree removal and the relocation of a temporary trailer taking place this summer. France said he would push hard to have construction on the path begin this summer.
“Even if it goes into Fall, I would like to see it started this summer,” France said. “We’ll be tabling in front of the UCen. We’ll have petitions and information on what offices people can call and say, ‘I want this started as soon as possible because I don’t want to be getting a ticket over there next year.'”
Fee measures for the expressway have failed in the past, most recently two years ago. France said that measure received 65 percent of votes in favor, just short of the 66.67 percent required in Associated Students elections. Since this year’s measure is through the Campus Elections Committee instead of A.S., it will only require above a 50 percent “yes” vote to pass.
“If this [initiative] doesn’t go through, this project probably won’t happen for 15 years,” France said.
France said the path plan encountered opposition two years ago from departments in the area, including the Physics Dept. and the College of Engineering. He said the new plan has seen “zero opposition” this time around, which he attributes to a better design that does not disturb the existing walking path.
Zilles agreed that the initiative had encountered little opposition, but for a different reason.
“Under the original plan, it was basically going to be fully funded by the university,” she said. “People like that the students have taken the initiative to pay for it.”
An informal poll in the area found that students overwhelmingly support the measure.
“I haven’t gotten a ticket, but it will be nice to not have to worry about getting one,” third-year physics major Jared Thompson said as he rode his bike down the walkway.