Nebraska-based hair metal.
It’s official: UNL’s effort to become a recognized Bike Friendly Campus is underway, and they’re joined by the city of Lincoln’s own quest to be a Bike Friendly Community.
The award, designated by the League of American Bicyclists, recognizes those campuses and communities that go the extra mile for bike commuters by fostering a safe environment for cyclists, including infrastructure.
Jordan Messerer, coordinator for Outdoor Adventure at Campus Recreation, said that UNL’s partnership between the student government, Campus Recreation, the Chancellor’s Wellness Iniative and the City of Lincoln, is coming up with a master plan for projects short- and long- term.
This isn’t just designated bike lanes for cross campus cycling. It’s also building shower facilities, safe roads into campus, placing proper signage, studying traffic patterns to determine areas of potential pedestrian/cyclist conflict, and establishing preferred cycling routes. The goal is to get even more students riding in on two wheels instead of four.
“Once you build that infrastructure, cyclists will fill [it],” Messerer said.
The campus groups have also launched a new resource for cycling announcements and information at bike.unl.edu.
The site currently includes an event calendar, maps, information on campus services and safety rules. In the future, they hope to make it a go-to place for campus cycling information as the process moves on.
“We have lots of neat things happening on campus, but we needed a central clearinghouse,” Messerer said.
For Gary Bentrup, president of the Great Plains Trail Network, the campus’ efforts are just a small part of the overall goal.
The group, which oversees the trail system in Lincoln, wants to encourage more cycling in the community in general.
“It’s one of those quality of life issues that people look for when relocating to a community,” he said.
Bentrup said some of his hopes include making final connections between streets and bike trails and making biking a part of the planning of new street projects; or, as Bentrup says, “reverse it to be ‘why shouldn’t there be more pedestrian- and bike-friendly areas?’”
Already, the Network is working with city planners on the far east of the city, where Lincoln continues to expand. They hope not only to make the new developments safer for biking, but also to connect them to the existing infrastructure.
Another project that recently broke ground is the Jayne Snyder Trail Center, part of the Active Living Center under construction at 21st and Q. The public/private venture seeks to encourage healthier, more active lifestyles. For its part, the Snyder Center, named after cycling advocate and city council member Jayne Snyder, will serve as a hub for the entire trail system and include meeting rooms, restroom facilities and retail spaces fit for the bike commuter.
As efforts step up, it remains to be seen whether Lincoln or UNL will make the cut; 20 of 32 university applicants were granted the designation last round. But all involved remain hopeful that Lincoln can become a better place for cyclists.
“There’s lots of trips under two miles that a bike is the right way to get to those points,” Messerer said.