By: Olivia Krauth
The League of American Bicyclists named U of L a Silver Level Bicycle-Friendly University. This ranking is the highest achieved by any Kentucky university thus far.
U of L’s multiple bike-based programs and initiatives aided in the achievement of the ranking. Chris Sims, a graduate student and program manager for the Sustainability Council, cited increased bike parking and bike lanes as factors into receiving the ranking.
“I think the changes that have happened for bicyclists at U of L … are incredibly important in changing public perception from bikes as recreational equipment to viewing them as legitimate forms of transportation,” said Sims. “It’s exciting to be part of these changes, but our work has just begun.”
“It is so gratifying to gain recognition for all of the work that the Sustainability Council has been doing to promote cycling at U of L,” said Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives. “People are responding very enthusiastically to our new Earn-A-Bike program and I’m definitely seeing more and more bikes in our new racks, bike lanes, and bike fix-it stations around campus.”
The ranking is based off of scores in five categories: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation and planning. University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University currently both have bronze rankings.
Mog states that there is even more U of L can do to improve their ranking in the future.
“The Bicycle Friendly University program has helped us understand some of the out-standing needs, such as for-credit bike education classes, establishing a Bicycle Advisory Council, widening shared-use campus paths, and developing a comprehensive Transportation Demand Management Plan to reduce traffic volumes and make it even more attractive to get to campus without a car,” said Mog.
A new program called “Bicycle Boulevard” is also on the agenda. The path will connect U of L to Highlands, and will be completed soon. The connector is one of many projects sponsored by the Urban Bike Network, a $300,000 city-wide program for improvements to pedestrian and bike infrastructure.