Bike Month promotes sustainable transportation

As the weather turns warmer, clothes get lighter, drinks get colder, and bikes are used more often. Or at least that is what the university and the city are promoting during the month of June, a.k.a Bike Month.</p>

Waterloo is participating in TravelWise, a region-wide campaign which promotes “sustainable transportation choices.”

Some of the ways the university is encouraging people to participate is by building “bike parking” similar to the “bike boxes” piloted a few years back.

“It’s a secure bike storage, and we’re exploring ways on how that could work more scalably in the future,” said Mat Thijssen, UW’s sustainability co-ordinator.

Although there are no bike lanes along Ring Road, the university has made a strong effort to keep vehicle traffic off the road to keep it more cyclist and pedestrian-friendly.

“Our roadways on campus are too narrow to add bike lanes and still accommodate large vehicles such as buses,” said Dan Anderson, director of Police Services.

Along University Avenue and Columbia Street, parking lots were developed to also help with this effort, and make it safer for cyclists inside the campus.

Surveys have also been done throughout the university in the last three years to collect information on staff and faculty’s ways of transportation to and from the campus.

“About 10 per cent of the survey responded [that they] cycled, and that’s roughly in line with the number of transit users [and] those who walk,” said Thijssen. “Carpooling is a little bit higher.”

Because this was the first time the university was part of this campaign, target goals have not yet been set.

Several other events were held to promote the cause, including Bike Breakfast on June 18, and a bike safety session offered by Police Services on June 23, where the basic rules of the road and must-have gear were taught.

A cycling challenge was also held at UW, where people could log their trips and then compare their process to other participants.

“We’ve been doing quite well so it’s exciting to see people biking to work,” Thijssen said.

The university efforts are to encourage more cycling, and the goal is for this to be a culture builder.

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