So, in a few hours I’m heading up to ArtsFest, but not after doing some research for Dr. Palmer and some research of my own.
A few weeks ago, the Senior Class Gift committee sent out emails soliciting proposals for the 2012 gift (Seniors, argh!). Being in DC and taking advantage of its wonderful CapitalBikeshare program, I thought bikeshare would be the perfect thing for the illustrious Class of 2012 to grace Penn State with. Bikeshare, upon reflection, has the potential to be one of the best senior class gifts the University has ever received, since the famous Class of 1919 benches I would wager. The real value in the gift would be its utility. Simply, it would be used. Used more than the Marsh Boardwalk, used more than the HUB Aquarium, used more than bell restoration or tree planting.
A bikeshare system like the one in DC consists of two main elements: bikes and stations. Stations lock the bikes in docks. In a campus bikeshare system, stations would be dispersed across campus. Major hubs of activity would have them. Each station would have more docks than bikes, so person A could bike from one station to another and have space to park without person B having to remove a bike from person A’s destination station for A to park. Releasing a bike from a station would be as simple as sliding your student ID card. An example of a bikeshare itinerary would be: Person A parks at the BJC parking lots with the intent to go to the HUB. A goes to the bikeshare station there, slides their ID, and hops on the unlocked bike. A bikes to the HUB, dismounts, puts the bike in the dock until the locking mechanism clicks. Person A walks in to the HUB.
At this point, I’ve submitted the idea to the Gift committee and have begun working with other local bikeshare advocates to move it forward. The months ahead will have many challenges, but even if the Gift committee eventually decides not to put bikeshare up to a vote, we will look in to other avenues for funding the project.