The University of Nebraska–Lincoln was recognized as a silver bike friendly campus by the League of American Bicyclists this year, but it doesn’t want to stop there.
The League of American Bicyclists uses five “E’s” to evaluate bike friendliness: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation/planning. UNL scored the highest on the encouragement portion because of the new measures to put a priority on biking.
UNL was awarded silver in 2013 as well, but has done a lot since then to improve biking on campus. Since 2013, UNL built the Outdoor Adventures Center with a bike shop that started bike trips and events, and has since added more bike lanes around campus.
Now, UNL is looking to continue to improve by tackling research and the evaluation of biking on campus. Jordan Messerer, the assistant director of campus recreation, said that his goal is to try to make a bike master plan developed so there’s a planning guide. This means that when UNL plans to build or change facilities, it has to first check the bike master plan to accommodate for biking regulations.
“We’re building these state-of-the-art buildings like the College of Business,” Messerer said. “But that building is only as progressive as the bike facilities added to it.”
Messerer said that bikes are a good “indicator species” on how progressive a city is. He is looking to Lincoln to continue to improve biking. Many young, professionally driven cities need to be bike friendly to house big companies. For example, one of Amazon’s criteria for its new headquarters’ city is bike friendliness.
“We need to invest in progressive forms of transportation or unique things that would show Lincoln is cool and can offer those,” Messerer said.
There’s also significant cost savings, Messerer said. Not only will students save money if they don’t have to bring a car to campus, but UNL will too.
“What is the cost savings if we can eliminate another parking garage?” Messerer said. “Is that worth investing in?”
Messerer said there is a still awhile to go for gold, but he also believes that people will recognize the need for more biking on campus. Since 2013, he has noticed much more biking on campus.
“It will take progressive people to decide that this is worth it,” Messerer said.