The amount of individuals riding bikes seems to have increased over the last few years. Apparently times have changed, and riding a bike has become a significant means of transportation for New Yorkers, including many members of the Baruch community.
Data from the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), New York City biking is up 14 percent since spring 2010, meaning that since last spring, the number of cyclists per day has increased from 16, 463 to 18,809. In fact in the last decade, the city has added nearly 400 miles of bike lanes. This number is likely to increase with the DOT's plans for NYC bikers.
According to the DOT website and NYC.gov, the plan for city bikers is known as the NYC Bike Share. The program will serve as a new means of public transportation, made up of durable bicycles and docking stations that will provide convenient and inexpensive mobility for cyclists 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
A key component of the bike share is that it takes place within the service area. The service area will stretch from the Upper West Side and Upper East Side to Bedford, Stuyvesant and Greenpoint. New Yorkers will have access to 10,000 public bikes at approximately 600 stations. In addition, an annual membership into the NYC Bike Share will be cheaper than a monthly subway card. An article published in the Transportation Alternative website, titled "NYC Bike Share FAQ," revealed that the exact cost of an annual pass is $90. This is equivalent to 25 cents a day for unlimited rides of roughly 30 to 45 minutes. After that, overage charges will apply.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan believes that this plan will be beneficial and essential to New Yorkers. In a recent article from TheAtlanticCities.com, entitled "Methodology of Bike-Share Station Placement in NYC," she states, "New York is never about just one mode of transportation. Riding a bike is becoming an increasingly attractive way for New Yorkers to get around. This is a very natural next step."
The effects of the NYC Bike Share plan can potentially cause more people to bike for fun as a means of transportation to work or school. In fact, in some colleges there already are a number of students and professors riding their bikes to school and ditching the MTA. One such individual is Baruch Professor Jakob Reich. In an article published in the Transportation Alternative website, Professor Reich describes what biking means to him.
"I have been commuting by bike on and off for over 15 years. I commute from Crown Heights to Baruch College. What keeps amazing me about biking in Brooklyn and Manhattan is how efficient and hassle-free it is! No delays. No missed trains. No parking problems!"
Recently, there have been more Baruch students using bikes as an alternative form of transportation. Junior Anthony Chanza and senior Greg Paull are just two examples of the many new riders. Chanza has been biking to school for a year and a half, longer than Paull. Paull has been biking for nine months. Both Chanza and Paull decided to stop riding the MTA and ride their bikes to school instead for the same reasons. For them, it's a great source of exercise and it saves both of them money.
Chanza and Paull agree that biking to school is convenient. Paull explains that bicycling allows him to side step all the inconveniences that are usually associated with taking the train. They also agreed that there are some aspects about the subway and other means of transportation that they do miss. For Chanza it's "sitting and not having to pedal" and for Paull it's the ability to be able to read and sleep on the train if he wants to.
Paull and Chanze both think that Baruch can do a better job accommodating cyclists. Paull, a bit more lenient than Chanza, feels that Baruch does not really have to do anything. He states that "They have places to lock bikes-that's all I need." Chanza on other hand feels that Baruch could do more to accommodate cyclists. He also thinks that the bike parking racks such as the ones located on the 25th street entrance of the school are not enough.
He explains that about a year and a half ago he rode his bike to Baruch in order to speak to a student advisor and locked his bike with the other bikes in front of the school. "When I came out an hour or so later I found my bike lock clipped and my bike gone." An obvious downside to biking has made Chanza believe that having the security guards actually check outside to make sure no one is trying to steal anyone's bike is a regulation that he would like to see implemented at Baruch. With regards to Paull, he would like a place to store his bike in a shelter during the winter or when it rain.
Megan Aronson, Baruch's assistant director of Health and Wellness, states that riding a bike to school can be extremely beneficial to students. "The NYC Department of Health recommends 30 minutes of activity ever day. So riding your bike to and from school is a great way to get in your exercise each day. It also helps cut transportation costs. Just make sure you wear a helmet, ride in bike lanes, and pay attention to traffic!"
Biking has become an option or idea that many students have started to utilize. Furthermore, according to Paull, biking to school can be a great start to one's morning or day. For Paull biking to school is "sunshine, fresh air," and "exercise to start to my day."