Bike lanes emerge for fall semester

Painted bike lanes have replaced all parallel parking on campus on the outskirts of both lanes of West Georgia Drive. This initiative is part of an unnamed sustainability committee  formed of UWG faculty, staff, students and Carrollton business operatives. This committee hoped to create more eco-friendly transportation.

Formed in October 2014, under the leadership of Dr. Kyle Marrero, President of University of West Georgia, Campus Planning and Facilities partnered with Parking and Transportation Services to develop the safest and most efficient biking arrangement on campus.

“[The committee’s] objective is to decrease single-occupant vehicle use by promoting alternate modes of transportation such as walking, bicycling and public transit,” said Brendan Bowen, Assistant Vice president of Campus Planning and Facilities. Bowen co-chaired the committee with Mark Reeves, Assistant Vice President of Auxiliary Services. Other members included UWG faculty and staff, representatives from Southwire and Friends of Carrollton GreenBelt, the organization responsible for the design and construction of the 16-mile trail system through the city of Carrollton.

“Under President Marrero’s leadership, Campus Planning and Facilities has actively partnered with Parking and Transportation Services, community stakeholders and design partners to develop safe and efficient infrastructure for biking on campus,” continued Bowen.

The painting of the bicycle lanes meant making a compromise with the currently existing campus infrastructure—the West Georgia Drive parallel parking spaces. Bowen said this was one of the biggest issues to consider before construction began on the bike lanes.

“Parking is always a controversy on college campuses,” he said. “However, [the committee] did hire a parking consultant to measure parking demand and utilization and made our decision to remove parallel parking based on that data.”

A traffic engineering consultant and an urban planning firm were also hired to review all the options put forth to ensure the safest and least controversial locations for the bike lanes.

In Nov. 2014, the committee emailed an online survey to all UWG faculty, staff and students, posing the topic of better bicycle infrastructure on campus and in town. Bowen said that a little over 600 people responded, over half being students. Based on the positive reaction, it was determined that the plan to paint the lanes would move forward.

“This project is the first step in a multi-year plan that will promote health, wellness and clean transportation for thousands of students, faculty, staff and guests,” said Bowen. “The perimeter bike lane will ultimately connect to the 16-mile Carrollton Greenbelt, as well as downtown Carrollton and the Athletic Complex.”

UWG’s bike lanes will expand and connect into the already existing Greenbelt and eventually hope to lead into Adamson Square in downtown Carrollton in the coming years.

This multi-year plan includes seeking to make biking and other environmentally clean transportation options a permanent part of the UWG experience. Eventually, the committee hopes for these painted lane lines to become physical barriers, separating the bikes from the cars and other traffic and offering other raised crosswalks to campus. Improvements like these will be made when the city repaves West Georgia Drive in the future.

The committee also completely remodeled and repaved Back Campus Drive into a pedestrian and bicycle safe environment during this past summer. These enterprises are designed to help UWG create a sustainable campus and promote cleaner transportation options to faculty, staff and students.

One of the other initiatives was the placing of the electric car charging stations in the TLC parking lot.

“We’re encouraging people to park on the perimeter of the campus or to leave the cars parked and use the public transportation or walk,” said Bowen.

The bike lanes currently extend from the west entrance of West Georgia Drive into the front of the Quad. The final painting will take place this fall, extending the lanes completely around West Georgia Drive.

Bowen stated that he has currently received no personal feedback, positive or negative, on the bike lanes, other than questions related to the new configuration of the driving lanes on campus.




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