The A.S. Bicycle Improvements Keeps Everyone Safe (A.S. BIKES) Committee has emerged from a long hibernation. Its yearlong dormancy has ended with a new team committed to bringing a better bicycle system to the UCSB campus. With an estimated 15,000 cyclists going to and from campus each day, and student enrollment continuing to grow, a fully functioning bicycle path and parking infrastructure is essential.
The A.S. BIKES most significant accomplishment is the design and approaching construction of the Broida Expressway, connecting the bike path behind Davidson Library to Engineering I. The path is slated to begin construction during summer 2005. The committee has also succeeded in repaving the once treacherous Goleta Beach path from the east side of campus to the Goleta Pier.
For the many who have more expensive bikes and longer commutes, A.S. BIKES has worked out an agreement with the Transportation Alternatives Board that will provide bike lockers to faculty, staff and students who wish to ensure the safety of their high-end bikes.
Building from this newfound momentum, A.S. BIKES is now working closely with the Shoreline Preservation Fund to widen and improve the pothole-ridden West Campus Bluffs path from Del Playa Drive to Sands Beach. Also slated as a future project is the construction of a new bike parking area in front of the Music Building.
The A.S. BIKES committee sees its future energy going toward improving bike mobility and pedestrian safety via the campus Long Range Development Plan. The current plan shows the Pardall Road and Student Health underpasses being removed, relocating Ocean Road. To replace them, there will be a road coming in from I.V. that creates no separation between bikes and cars, plus a parking structure on the campus side of Ocean Road. Removing the underpasses will generate cross traffic between bicyclists and motor vehicles during the 10-minute passing period between classes. Students need to get in the loop and get their voices out there if they want a say in the future of our campus.
The bike paths are often the last things considered in the vision of campus designers. Bicycle paths and parking tend to appear at the lower end of financial and planning priorities, even when it is obvious that bikes are the most efficient and heavily used mode of transportation. Thankfully, A.S. BIKES has student support, proven again and again by the approval of its lock-in fee and the passing an additional fee to construct the Broida Expressway. A.S. BIKES is holding a general meeting on this Thursday, Feb. 2, at noon in the UCen Mission Room to discuss campus-related bicycle issues.
Kamron Socklov is a senior physics and environmental studies major.