Bike share in the works

Students will be able to cruise around town next fall when a bike share program goes into effect.

The project was developed by the Council on Presidential Affairs, student affairs, the department of recreation, facilities and the purchasing department.

Bikes will be available for check out for either a whole semester for $50 or a daily free rental. One hundred customized Butler University bikes will be ordered for this program.

Seventy-five will be designated for semester rental, and 25 will be for daily rental.

Junior Kelly Cassady, a member of CPA, said renting out a bike will be like checking out equipment at the Health and Recreation Center.

The bikes will be housed at the HRC because of the efficient equipment checkout system already in place.

“We have the software system for equipment checkout that can handle it,” said Josh Downing, associate director of recreation, said. “The system reports what equipment hasn’t been returned, then puts a hold on the student’s account.”

The initial conversation between CPA and the HRC began in December right before winter break. Once the spring semester started, the conversation became more serious.
Rich Michal, project engineer and utility manager, was approached by CPA to create a temporary rack to house the bikes.

The structure will be alongside the HRC and will be a double-decker rack. Once students check out the bike through the HRC, they will be able to unlock the bike from the structure and take it down themselves.

“It won’t be difficult for students to do themselves,” Michal said.

Both CPA and the department of recreation said this will benefit Butler students.

“We live in this wonderful metro area, and students don’t use it to their advantage,” Cassady said. “This program will open up the city to students.”

The program could decrease the number of cars on campus, CPA Chair Mike Tirman said.

“We’re beginning to market this to incoming students,” he said. “We’re telling students that they can get places on a bike.”

This program, advocates said, could potentially be a part of a bigger picture and discussion.

“Overall, we’re excited to be asked to be a part of this,” said Scott Peden, director of the department of recreation. “It’s a hot topic at other universities, and it’s nice to be leading the trend instead of being at the tail end.”

 

Michal said that hopefully in the future this program can expand to be a part of a regional, multimodal transportation hub.

“We need to think about what to do about the streetscape,” he said. “Hopefully, we can bring back public transportation to campus.”

Tirman said this project is just the beginning of a bigger program.

“We want to make the campus look like a campus,” he said. “This project will take about 10 to 15 years to be complete.”

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