With a new parking lot and fresh pavement on the bike path, the Metropolitan Transit District bus loop by North Hall now serves as an avenue for smoother rides.

Associated Students Bicycle Improvements Keep Everyone Safe and UCSB’s Transportation Alternatives Program joined in renovating the bike path and parking lot adjacent to the MTD bus loop on campus this summer. Improvements included repaving the path, expanding the bike parking lot and purchasing new racks as well as removing and impounding abandoned bikes from the area.

The bike path renovation was funded by A.S. B.I.K.E.S., a bicycle-centered student committee that receives money through a quarterly $1.50 per student lock-in fee. The work included leveling and sealing the path, as well as removing roots growing underneath the area to ensure a flat path.

According to A.S. B.I.K.E.S. chair Sarah Henkel, the bike path project cost an estimated $25,000, paid entirely through the student lock-in fee. Henkel said students are already noticing the benefits.

“We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback,” Henkel said. “The paving is a lot smoother and people who give campus tours now stop there because it’s looking so nice. It’s been a really huge improvement over there.”

As for the new bike racks, T.A.P. Manager James Wagner used grants from the California Department of Transportation Bicycle Transportation Account to cover the funding for the bus loop’s parking lot. The grants also covered areas such as Webb Hall and the Psychology Building.

“I applied for the grant and they recently funded it to provide 500 [bicycle] parking spaces on campus,” Wagner said.

Wagner said the grant was for $53,000 and that $12,000 remains for future parking projects.

“Because we are so bike-centric on campus and people on bicycles like to park as close as they can to their destination, some bikes are not parked legally and there are parts [of campus] that are very impacted,” Wagner said. “There is definitely a bike parking problem here.”

The bike racks are a new design developed by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students during a 2002 contest sponsored by SLO’s Industrial Technology Dept. engineering instructor Rod Hoadley, who supervised the project, now manufactures the racks with Peak Racks.

The vertical stagger design of the Peak Racks Campus Racks allows for higher-density parking, eliminates handlebar tangles and provides a secure locking bar, Henkel said.

“[T.A.P. and B.I.K.E.S.] picked those racks because they can increase capacity,” Henkel said. “They also keep the bikes really organized and you can securely lock [your bike].”

In addition to these improvements, several impending projects include a new bicycle roundabout near Davidson Library, additional bike racks at the Music Building and a new trail from Isla Vista to Coal Oil Point.