The university is in the planning stages of opening a bike hub to provide a central location for bicycle repairs, accessories and education for students and faculty and staff, according to a statement from an Office of Administration and Planning employee.
The hub is set to be located inside the Recreation & Physical Activity Center on the west side or lower level of the building with the possibility of an outdoor extension, Nicole Holman, assistant director of marketing and communications in the Office of Administration and Planning, said in an email. The initiative was a collaboration between the Ohio State Transportation and Traffic Management team and student organization Smart Campus, which aims to improve innovative transportation on campus.
Danny Freudiger, Smart Campus founder, president and doctoral student in mechanical engineering, said the project is a step in the right direction toward making the campus a more bike-friendly community.
“Just the way the campus is set up and the nature of the way it’s evolved over the years — it’s not really evolved into a bike-friendly campus,” Freudiger said.
He said campus infrastructure doesn’t support avid cycling, but voices within the university are advocating for improvements including bike paths, bike lanes and safer crosswalks.
The hub models similar facilities on other university campuses, where bike riders can receive assistance on a range of bicycle-related needs.
Jackie Altschuler, an Ohio State alumna of the environment, economy development and sustainability program, said her senior year capstone group studied campuses across the nation recognized for being bicycle-friendly to suggest improvements to bicycle mobility at Ohio State.
“Having something like [a bike hub] on campus will promote more bicycling,” Altschuler said. “It’s definitely a more sustainable mode of transportation.”
Freudiger said a major component of the hub is teaching students how to keep their bicycles in good working condition on their own.
“There’s a lack of education in maintenance required to keep [bicycles] up, and after a while, they stop using them and leave them on the bike racks. Essentially they become unrideable,” Freudiger said.
Students will be able to check out tools and air pumps to maintain their bicycles, and staff will be trained to assist students with basic repairs.
Freudiger said he is interested in the bike hub because he sees potential to support other modes of transportation in the future.
“Once you have it, you can grow into much more than a bike hub,” Freudiger said. “You can see it more holistically as a mobility hub for all the different new types of mobility options we might see. We already have the scooters. Who knows what’s going to be next?”
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