By Lizzie Blumenthal
The Associated Students Bicycle Improvements Keep Everyone Safe committee will soon spend $26,000 on bike path improvements – once the money makes its way into the hands of organizers, that is.
The resurfacing project will focus on the roundabout in front of the Music Building and radiate outward past Davidson Library, said Scott Bull, A.S. BIKES Student Affairs Adviser. While the repaving was originally planned to occur over Thanksgiving Break, Bull said the committee still needs to confirm with the A.S. administration the existence of funding that was provided by the recent passage of the Students’ Initiative.
“Some of these bike paths need to be resurfaced every five years because they are so highly used,” Bull said. “Concrete deteriorates over time.”
United Steel Coating and Slurryseal, the company hired to resurface the worn lanes, will remove areas damaged by tree roots, install an overlay to afflicted areas, apply a heavy slurry coat and re-stripe the bike path.
The $26,000 for the project comes from the A.S. BIKES budget, which will soon be replenished with an additional $25,800 in the next two quarters as a result of the Students’ Initiative, Bull said. Beginning Winter Quarter, students will be paying a total of $1.50 per quarter to the committee as part of their campus-based fees.
“We’re excited because improvement projects have been a priority for our committee for a long time, and now that we have sufficient funding, the committee is excited to get it complete,” Bull said.
Bull said the priority project list also includes improving access to bike parking in designated areas, increasing the number of bike racks and educating students on bike and safety laws.
Lauren Hagaman, a second-year political science major who rides her bike to class daily, said lane maintenance makes life considerably easier for bike-dependent UCSB students.
“It’s incredibly irritating riding through the pot holes,” Hagaman said. “You have to hold on to survive getting to class. Because they don’t offer us any other transportation, I think it should be a top priority.”
Hagaman said the orange spray paint lining some of the cracks and holes in the pavement highlights the danger of the current state of the bike paths.
“The warning signs of spray paint show that the school knows that there is a problem that they need to fix.” Hagaman said.
Along with improving the bike lanes, A.S. BIKES will soon distribute a brochure containing bike survival tips including ways to avoid tickets and theft. The brochure is currently in production.
In the brochure, students can find such information as the price of running a stop or yield sign ($125), riding a bike on the sidewalk (up to $300), locking a bike to something that is not a rack ($24) or listening to an iPod or biking with headphones (up to $150).
“We feel very confidant students will appreciate this project,” Bull said.