The following is a guest post from David Amiton, Transportation Analyst | MURP with Commuter Services | Transportation Services at the University of Washington
This might come as a shock, but as a government employee I don’t receive a lot of fan mail. So you can imagine what a pleasant surprise it was when appreciative emails began trickling into my inbox in December.
One read, Thanks for one of the most useful things to ever be installed as a resource on UW’s campus! Another was more concise: This is so cool – thank you!
What were people going so gaga for? A new cycletrack on campus that someone forgot to tell me about? A fabulous new covered bicycle parking area? Had Red Square been converted into the world’s largest roller skating rink?*
Late last year, UW Commuter Services installed bicycle repair stations at five popular campus bicycling destinations. Each station features an air pump and essential tools like tire irons, screwdrivers, and a hex wrench set. Manufactured by Dero, the stations are clean, simple, and functional. And the best part? The project was entirely funded through a grant from the University’s innovative Campus Sustainability Fund.
The bicycle repair stations give UW students, employees, and visitors convenient access to the tools that keep bicycles on the go. They also send a clear message that bicyclists belong on campus. This might seem like a small gesture, but it’s an important one, because generally speaking people who bike don’t receive many visual cues that invite them to use public spaces.
Consider some of the things you encounter on your bicycle errands and commutes: body-less bike symbols, wet leaves in the bike lanes, honking cars; sound familiar? Now, when was the last time you spotted a bicycle radar sensor, display counter, or waiting rail while pedaling around Seattle? These are also small gestures, but they add up to create an environment that welcomes people on bikes. Judging from the feedback I’ve received, the bicycle repair stations are definitely helping the University of Washington roll out the bicycle welcome mat.
*Apparently the honor goes to this place. But still, a guy can dream.