Campus racks up more bike parking
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Last week, SF State gave bicyclists 200 more reasons to ride to school.

The university added new racks that can hold up to 200 more bicycles all over campus, the first in a series of planned steps toward making the campus more accessible to bicyclists.

Partial funding for the racks came from a $12,000 grant awarded to SF State’s Bicycle Working Group, a coalition of students, staff, faculty and administrators that seek to improve bicycling to campus.

Jason Porth, chair of the BWG and an administrator with government relations, said SF State encourages bicycling and public transportation to mitigate both its carbon emissions and a growing student body’s contribution to traffic congestion.

These racks expand upon SF State’s current bicycle parking and will complement upcoming projects, such as the bike path from University Park North to Thornton Hall, Porth said.

They also address a growing need for safe, legal bicycle parking close to classrooms, said Phil Evans, director of campus grounds.

“Within minutes after we put them in place, people were chaining their bikes to them. We’re hoping to order more,” he said.

Hundreds of people bike to school each day, and more are doing so now than ever before, Evans said.

“Last year’s counts were looking at 200 bicycles [coming to SF State per day] as a comfortable maximum,” with about 150 closer to a daily average, “but this year there are a lot more bikes. It’s just been a real influx,” he said.

Though officials at SF State have not yet investigated why more people are bicycling this fall, gasoline’s rapid rise in price undoubtedly plays a role, said William Rutledge, an environmental studies major and member of ECO Students’ new Bicycle Advocacy Group. “Four dollars, 69 cents a gallon, compared to a 20-minute bike ride, has put a lot of people on two wheels,” he said.

The racks could increase the number of bicycle parking spots outside the Bike Barn to about 280, though part of the idea behind the new racks was to replace “dilapidated and non-functional racks from previous generations” with a standardized model, Evans said. The double-loop new racks “allow you to conveniently lock [your bicycle] in two places,” he said.

The Bike Barn, SF State’s bicycle parking structure behind the gymnasium, can hold up to 350 bicycles. Before the new racks came, “the intent for a long time was to have bikes parked in the Bike Barn,” said Evans, who still recommends that people do so.

Many bicyclists have told [X]press for years, however, that they do not park in the Bike Barn because it is not close to their classes. As recently as last week, dozens of bicycles could be found chained to hand rails and trees all over campus, violating university rules.

The new racks “complement the Bike Barn significantly,” Porth said. “For those who want to enter from 19th Avenue and have classes at Hensill Hall, [the racks] would benefit them,” he said.

“It’s really important for people not to lock their bikes onto the hand rails,” which disabled and visually impaired students need unencumbered to help them navigate the campus, Evans said. “We’re trying to make sure we have enough racks.”

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PHOTO
Mytia Smith-Spencer | staff photographer
With a shortage of bike racks on campus, it has lead students such as Marcus Inglizian, 19, a BECA major, to locate any available space on campus for his bike.

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