Yes Parking, for Bikes
Indoor spaces for bikes open in Warren, South Campus| From Commonwealth | By Leslie Friday
Brittany Mitchell (CGS’11) locks her bike at the new storage space in Warren Towers. Photo by Vernon Doucette
They started showing up en masse a year ago, clustering around Marsh Chapel, the clock tower by the Tsai Performance Center, and the tender saplings along Commonwealth Avenue.
Bikes are everywhere at BU. And now cyclists have more space to store them.
A new indoor bike storage space opened in November at Warren Towers, with room for 447 students, faculty, and staff to stash their bicycles. Another indoor parking area, for fifty bikes, opened earlier in the fall at 504 Park Drive in South Campus. And there are more to come.
“The demand for on-campus bike parking changed significantly with the establishment of the Commonwealth Avenue bike lane last year,” says Dwight Atherton, director of Parking and Transportation Services. “As soon as it was painted, bicyclists began to appear out of the woodwork. There were bicycles attached to anything that wasn’t moving.”
The one-mile stretch from Kenmore Square to the BU Bridge is a highly visible and well-used part of the Boston Bikes program initiated by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (Hon.’01) to create a network of bike lanes and add 250 bike racks throughout the city. University planners knew that with the bike path would come demand for bike parking, Atherton says, but they didn’t know how much demand.
Currently, there are 3,585 indoor and outdoor spaces to park bikes around campus — an increase of 137 percent over last year — but officials are scouting locations for more racks. They are mapping bike rack locations and noting where bikes tend to cluster. That, says Atherton, is the easy part. The hard part is finding accessible space on an already jam-packed campus.
“Bicyclists may be athletic, but they’re not interested in walking very far to get to bike racks,” he says. “You have to put the racks where bikers go.”
Craig Hill, associate vice president for auxiliary services, says BU spent $55,000 for the Warren Towers storage area and $15,000 for the South Campus site. “This is part of the University’s investment in alternative, greener methods of commuting around campus,” Hill says.
The parking facilities are free, but cyclists are required to register their bikes with Parking and Transportation Services.
From January to November 2009, BU Police had registered more than 200 bikes.