JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
University of Hawaii-Manoa officials hope to promote bicycling as an inexpensive alternative to driving to campus. A man got around on his bike near the campus Friday.
UH-Manoa reaches out to bicyclists
University plans call for a network of on-campus bike paths and hubs
BICYCLISTS at the University of Hawaii-Manoa are hoping a newly revised campus master bike plan will help some motorists to switch gears and pedal to school instead of getting in their cars.
The plan looks at ways to reduce an estimated 10,000 cars that will return to campus once school starts on Aug. 21.
It calls for the construction of a network of "bicycle hubs" and bike paths around campus, including the construction of a central bicycle hub next to the campus center with covered parking monitored by video cameras and security guards. Locker and shower facilities are included so people can change after biking to campus.
The plan also calls for eliminating 137 parking spaces along Maile Way and East-West Road to make room for bike lanes.
Aaron Hebshi, a graduate student and one of the authors of the plan, acknowledges some motorists might object to losing parking spaces, but said it will be better for everyone, including motorists, if traffic is reduced and air quality and noise quality are improved.
The plan also takes into account some objections by asking that the restriping take place after a new parking lot is built on campus to replace the lost spaces.
It also asks that the administration change the current rules and signs, commonly ignored, that prohibit bike riding on most university walkways.
"We definitely need to work on it to make it more rider friendly and safe," said Linda Day, the communications coordinator with UH-Manoa's Office of Sustainability.
Currently, there are no bike paths on campus, but bicyclists like graduate student Jim Ma say it is relatively easy and convenient to ride a bike.
Ryan Bailey, a dorm resident who uses his bike to get to his job at Ala Moana, said biking is good exercise and cheaper than driving.
Bailey believes more students would ride bikes to school if there was more security for bicycles.
"Theft on campus is really bad," he said.
To get better security, more bike parking and bike paths, Hebshi believes campus bikers have to band together.
Some projects could be accomplished within a year if there is enough support for them, Hebshi said.
Other parts of the plan will require money from the Legislature.
"We need a lot of political support and students and staff and community members saying this is really important," Hebshi said.
Improving bicycle access on campus is just one part of an overall strategy to increase bike riding, Hebshi said.
The other part involves improving access to the campus, which involves changes to city streets and the loss of more parking spaces.
A key aspect of the city's master bike plan, bike lanes and improvements on Young Street, is stalled, in part because of a lack of funding and in part because of complaints by residents and businesses over losing parking spaces to make room for bike lanes.
City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, chairwoman of the Budget Committee and a Manoa resident, attended a presentation on the bike plan at last week's Manoa Neighborhood Board meeting.
Kobayashi said there are some inexpensive and non-controversial fixes to make it easier for bikers to get to UH-Manoa, such as fixing curbs on Wilder Avenue and Metcalf Street.
But other projects are more expensive and/or involve losing parking spaces.
One example is a plan to create bike lanes on Woodlawn Avenue for people biking into campus from Manoa Valley. Creating bike lanes would eliminate parking on one side of the street.
"It's a huge problem and somehow we have to sit down and work this out," Kobayashi said.
Other city projects to improve bike access to the university include creating bike access on Kapahulu Avenue; McCully Street from Ala Wai to Wilder; and creating more bike lanes in Kaimuki and Kapahulu.
UH-Manoa's Campus Master Bike Plan calls for:
» A central bicycle hub to be built where the Engineering Quad parking lot now sits
» The construction of nine satellite bicycle hubs, which will have well-lit bicycle parking monitored by security cameras
» Bike paths throughout campus, including East-West Center Road and Maile Way, which will require the elimination of some parking spaces; other bike paths include Correa Mall, McCarthy Mall and the Legacy Path between Dole Street and Maile Way
» Bikeways on Lower Campus Road to Dole Street and along a proposed road between St. Francis School and UH to Woodlawn Avenue
» Changing UH policies and signs, which prohibit bicycle riding along major pedestrian walkways