Faculty Senate calls for bicycling-friendly OU
A staff association will hold a tour of proposed bike routes as part of OU Staff Week and efforts to make OU a bicycle-friendly university.
James Corley, The Oklahoma Daily
Nikki Self, The Oklahoma Daily
The Informational Staff Association will host the tour at 10 a.m. today beginning at the fountain of the OU College of Continuing Education building. People are encouraged to bring their bikes to join the tour and learn about possible bike routes.
The bike route tour comes just two weeks after the Faculty Senate unanimously passed a resolution outlining a tentative plan to improve bicycling conditions on campus, said Scott Moses, Committee on Faculty Welfare chairman.
The senate eventually wants to see OU certified as a bicycle-friendly university by the League of American Bicyclists.
Both the Staff and Faculty Senate call for OU to be designated a bicycle-friendly university within the next five years, according to the resolutions.
Currently, 35 U.S. universities have bronze, silver, gold or platinum status as bicycle-friendly universities, and most of them are on the east and west coasts, according to the league’s website.
Applications for the designation are due each July, and certification involves an evaluation of five components.
Norman and Tulsa are the only two bicycle-friendly communities in Oklahoma, according to the league’s website.
OU is already in the process of becoming more bicycle-friendly, assistant to the vice president Lezlie Marsh said.
In 2008, the university hired MA+ Architecture and Alta Planning+Design to draw plans for the upcoming improvements, referred to as the bicycle master plan, which began last year.
“The plans for the bike improvements do not currently have a set budget, but funds will be allocated as they are needed,” Marsh said.
OU currently has about 5,000 feet of bicycle routes on campus, Marsh said.
“The proposed master plan identifies an estimated additional 38,000 feet of bicycle routes via the use of existing, widened or new paving for shared bikeways or bike lanes,” Marsh said.
Along with bike lane extensions, OU will add more bike racks as biking becomes more popular, Marsh said.
More than $100,000 in university funds have been put toward bike rack additions around university buildings during the past three years due to demand.
The master plan will also be incorporated into the future Scholars Walk, a pedestrian walkway that will go along the east side of the South Oval, said Nick Hathaway, chairman of the Bicycle Master Plan Steering Committee.
The Scholars Walk does not yet have a final design set in place, so there is no certainty on how to incorporate bicycle-friendly routes yet, Hathaway said.
A buffered bicycle lane is slated to be put in place on Asp Avenue south to Timberdell Road, which will coordinate with Scholars Walk construction, Marsh said. All plans are still subject to change throughout the project.
The Committee on Faculty Welfare formed the original draft of the resolution, which identifies the environmental and health benefits of becoming bike friendly.
“Resolutions are one of the means that faculty can draw awareness to issues and indicate to the university administration that they support a certain action,” Moses said.
OU President David Boren will review the Faculty Senate resolution, and Hathaway, executive vice-president of finance and administration, will review the Staff Senate resolution.