The number of students using alternative transportation has exploded over the last five years at University of Nevada, Reno.
The University has been investing more money in programs to encourage the use of alternative transportation to get to campus.
There are different options of alternative transportation for students to get to campus such as carpooling, biking, Walking to Class Project, the shuttle from the Highlands, Circus Circus and the Wolf Pass RTC Bus.
Assistant director of Parking and Transportation Michelle Horton, recently added the Walking to Class Project to their program, which is a great option for students that live close to campus. Currently there are 48 people registered in the program. By registering as a walker, the students receive five free parking permits to use throughout the year.
“We want to promote it [alternate transportation], and the University is a great place to do that,” said Horton.
As a result, the sale of parking permits has decreased by 1,000 in the last year, and according to Horton, this number tends to go down even more in the coming years. The high price of fuel and parking permits, and other economic reasons lead students to ride their bikes or walk to school.
“I live four miles away from campus and I have a car. But I found it more convenient and cheaper to ride my bike to school,” said accounting student Gavin Deller. “Besides that, I can get some work out and help the traffic and the environment.”
To encourage the use of alternative transportation, the school has the support of the Campus Cycling Coalition and the Reno Bike Project. Those projects, together with the University, help make UNR a more cycling friendly campus.
One of their projects is the Free Bike Stand Initiative located at the Knowledge Center. The stand provides free bike repair for the student community every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“The Free Bike Stands is pretty successful so far,” said the member of the board of directors of Reno Bike project Scott Hall. “We were at once a month, then twice a week and now we are every Tuesday. The demand has been there and as we grow and become more popular and well known on campus, things tend to be even better in the future”.
The CCC (Campus Cycling Coalition) also helps the Parking Services register bicycles on campus. By registering their bicycles, the cyclists help police recover it if it is stolen, and it also provides data for the university to know how many people use two wheels instead of four to get to school.
According to Horton, biking is the most popular alternative transportation chosen by students. Right now, there are approximately 1,000 registered bicycles on campus and over 60 bike racks spread throughout campus.
“We are always trying to increase the number of bike racks on campus according with students’ opinion and suggestions,” said Horton. “They are really inexpensive and we really encourage the use of it.”
Personal security is always a fear among students when it comes to bicycles, skateboards and pedestrians at the University.
According to UNR police officer Todd Renwick, UNR doesn’t have a big number of accidents. In 2012, there were only five accidents between pedestrians, skateboarders and bike riders registered by campus police department.
Renwick said that most of accidents are due to high speed bike riders and skateboarders inattention toward pedestrians; who are also distracted.
“We know people use alternative transportation and we encourage that, but they have to do it safely,” said Renwick.
According to Hall, fear is the most important aspect people take into consideration when riding their bikes. Assaults, bike thefts, secure parking and clean bike lanes and bike paths are the biggest concerns of cyclists.
“If they feel they can have fun and be secure with the community, they will ride more,” said Hall.
To encourage biking in Reno, Washoe County teamed up with RTC in 2008 (Reno Transportation Commission), to adopt a completely new street mentality so users can function more easily and safely in the traffic environment.
There are now, 50 miles of bike lanes and bike paths around the city and, according to Hall, the goal is to 200 more miles in the future.
You can see the Bike Map of Reno on the link bellow:
“The more people that rides, the increase on health go up and the cost to the environmental and society health goes down,” said Hall, “For me, that’s a win-win.”
Here is a video with additional information about eco-friendly transportation at UNR and Reno: