Sunday, February 17, 2008

College to give free bikes to freshmen

There is an interesting article here about Ripon College give free bicycles to incoming freshmen. Last year, for the first time, the number of parking applications exceeded the number (400) of parking spots.

"We're a residential college with a beautiful, historic campus in the middle of a small town," said President David Joyce, an avid cyclist. "Paving it over was not an option I was willing to consider."
There is a phrase about the "toothpaste being out of the tube." Some will automatically argue that the car culture is the way we have to go. There is no turning back. But things like this will help. Cycling is not as hard as people think it is. Using a bike to ride a mile to pick up a gallon of milk is pretty easy.

Below is a picture of The University of Toledo's Centennial Mall. This is the center of the main campus area. In 1999, the American Society of Architects listed it as one of the 100 most beautifully landscaped areas. If you would have looked at this exact same space 30 years ago, it would have been military barracks and a parking lot. UT did not do anything spectacular as far as the car culture goes. Parking was not eliminated; it was just moved to garages on the edges of campus. But, a parking lot was removed and replaced with green space.

Things can be done. It's not as hard as you might think.

My favorite fact about the mall is the placement of the sidewalks was determined by the paths made in the snow by the students during the blizzard of 1978.

Here's another picture of the mall. In the background is University Hall. My favorite fact about that building is that there are no restrooms on the third floor.

Gas savings to date: $20.00
CO2 not added to atmosphere: 125.73 pounds

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