A Cycling Solution

Construction Services Bikeshare

By Stephanie Gagnon

Jeff Murray of BU’s Construction Services was tired of fighting midday traffic on Commonwealth Avenue. He and his colleagues used a van to get from their offices in West Campus to meetings and projects on East Campus, less than two miles away. The van is difficult to manage in traffic, and some days it can be nearly impossible to find a parking space. Walking instead of driving isn’t a great alternative, since it would take 25-30 minutes, much longer than the ten-minute van ride.

That’s why Murray introduced the idea of a departmental bike share program. Now, Construction Services has a pair of bicycles that can carry them all over campus, often in even less time than the van would take.

Murray started the bike share program last winter. The bikes are from Landry’s Bicycle Shop, located near BU’s campus. They are outfitted with helmets, locks and chains, saddle bags, and lights to make the ride as safe and convenient as possible. Murray estimates the bikes are used every day by multiple staff members.

The bikes will be especially useful this summer, as construction on the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge over I-90 will make it difficult for vehicles to travel across campus. Rather than fight detours and traffic, the Construction Services staff will be able to cycle across the open sections of the bridge without heavy delays.

Murray enjoys biking during the day, he says, but cautions other cyclists to be vigilant when biking on Comm Ave. A large number of bicycle accidents have been reported on Comm Ave, leading the City of Boston to initiate a three-year project to create cycle tracks separating the bike lanes from the car lanes in both directions from the BU Bridge to Packard’s Corner. This will make the road safer for cyclists and pedestrians alike, and will reduce the danger of Murray’s daily commutes across campus.

The bike sharing program is a strong example of a program that saves time and money, and is beneficial to the environment. By replacing the carbon-intensive van with pedal power, Murray has reduced the carbon footprint of his department while fulfilling a crucial transportation need. He says, “You don’t really have to change your routine to be sustainable.”

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