Oklahoma State University is eradicating all bike lanes to create a more shared campus.
Many of the bike lanes on campus have already been removed, such as the one running in front of Gunderson. Others are to be removed as well. There will be no replacements in the parts of campus that are now under construction.
The Long Range Facilities Planning department has been working on implementing a safer and friendlier system for campus traffic. A large factor in this system is bike travelers.
Mike Buchert, director of Long Range Facilities Planning, and Nigel R. Jones, university architect, detailed the university’s plans regarding bicycle traffic.
They have studied many downtown and campus areas throughout the world and have decided to mimic the systems without explicit bicycle divisions. The University of California at Berkley campus has already adopted this approach and has been advising OSU in the matter.
The new system will have “no preference” for where cyclists travel regarding the street or sidewalk. Though there are many signs bearing the message, “Share the road”, OSU will be urging pedestrians to share the sidewalk.
Buchert acknowledged that many “avid cyclists” are adamantly against riding on sidewalks, but he appeals to the emotional side of the issue.
“I am a recreational biker who rides to work. I don’t feel comfortable in the roadway beside a car,” he said.
Jones added that there are parts of campus with “no actual street,” just walkways.
Implementing bike lanes on sidewalks creates its own problem, J
ones said. They create a sentiment of ownership, which causes cyclists to speed. “When (pedestrian sidewalks and bike lanes) come to a junction, it’s a real junction,” he said.
He also pointed out the danger of bike lanes close to building exits.
The new systems requires that drivers, pedestrians and cyclists behave as “good citizens of OSU”, Buchert said. Cyclists riding in the road should maintain speed of cars; those on the sidewalk maintain speed of pedestrians.
LRFP is working with Steve Dobbs, Manager of Grounds and Landscape at OSU, to improve this problem.
In terms of infrastructural changes, many sidewalks are being expanded to 22 feet in width. This is part of the construction on Monroe. OSU’s model, UC Berkley restricts usage of cyclists if the sidewalks are too narrow. This can cause an enforcement issue.
“We don’t want to have police watching traffic on campus,” Buchert said.
OSU is wanting to depend more on education. To receive free bike permits, students and staff have to watch instructional videos and take an exam. The system will be added to the exam criteria. At the beginning of implementation, there will be A-Frames set out to remind both pedestrians and cyclists to be considerate of each other.
LRFP said it is working with Parking and Transit to make the conversion as painless and efficient as possible.