Lindsey Fox / Asst. multimedia editor
Along with Transportation and Parking Services adding more than 8,000 bike racks around campus, Ohio State is now housing the city’s first bike shelter.
Mayor Michael Coleman dedicated the shelter Wednesday, located in front of Charlie’s Grilled Subs and Salads on North High Street.
In the last three years, OSU has invested more than $2 million into efforts to promote and provide a bicycle-friendly environment for students and visitors, according to the League of American Bicyclists.
OSU is now the 26th university nationally and first university in Ohio to be recognized as bicycle-friendly. Jay Kasey, vice president of administration and planning at OSU, accepted a sign presented to OSU from Coleman that symbolizes the university’s new designation.
“It is very important to the city that The Ohio State University is now designated as bicycle-friendly,” Coleman told The Lantern. “Students have told me repeatedly over the years that it would add value to their experience at Ohio State and the city by having a bicycle-friendly city and university.”
Coleman said it was his first intention to keep OSU students in Columbus after they graduate.
“It makes better students, it keeps them here, I love Ohio State students and we want them here,” Coleman said. “I don’t want them to go anywhere else; I want them to live here. We are preparing this city for them. So this is one of the attractions and another reason for them to stay in Columbus after they graduate.”
The bike shelter is about the size of a bus stop and can hold up to 10 bicycles.
“Bicycling follows the attitude if you build it, they will ride. When you put bike lanes, multi-use trails, more people bicycle. The more people that bicycle the safer the roads for everybody,” said Bryan Saums, 2 by 2012 program manager.
The program 2 by 2012 is an initiative to have everyone in central Ohio bike to work at least twice a month.
“You just don’t need safe roads and trails for people to ride on, you also need safe places for people to end and begin their rides. (The bike shelters) are called end of ride facilities and just like we want safety on the roads we need safety when we park our bikes,” Saums said.
According to Saums, the bike shelter pile project will cost around $545,000 for various shelters around the city.
With the different facilities campus has to offer, Saums said he feels the end of ride facilities are a critical part of our bicycle infrastructure that will make campus and the Columbus community better.
“We know that people like to come to the campus area not just for class or to study but also for the marvelous amenities like the Wexner Center and the student union. People will come down here and have the opportunity to park their bikes and enjoy our marvelous campus area,” Saums said.
OSU was chosen to house the first shelter for many different reasons.
“The demand that exists at Ohio State University and the fact that we care about the students,” Coleman said. “This is symbolic to the fact that we want them here first. We want Columbus to be the first choice for Ohio State University graduates.”
Samantha Schmidt, a third-year in fashion and retail studies, feels there could be better places for bikes other than using the shelters.
“I think it would be more convenient to put bike racks inside the basements of buildings and dorms to really protect them from the snow and rain,” Schmidt said. “I don’t really understand how a shelter would help considering the snow and rain will still blow on the bikes.”
More shelters will be added throughout the year along streets like Front Street, Goodale Street, more on High Street and many others, according to Saums.