Colorado State University is hoping to be recognized for improvements in bicycle infrastructure, education and enforcement since 2011.
The CSU Campus Bicycle Advisory Committee renewed the University’s Bike Friendly University application earlier this month in hopes of receiving a higher rating. The rating comes from the the League of American Bicyclists, which awards bicycle-friendly ratings to cities, businesses, states and universities.
When CSU applied in 2011, the University was awarded a silver rating. Alternative Transportation manager Aaron Fodge said they are hoping for a gold or platinum rating this year. There are currently only two platinum-rated universities and 10 gold-rated universities in the country.
“We collected data on pretty much everything bike related that has happened on campus in recent years,” Dan Baker, CBAC chair, wrote in an email to the Collegian.
This rating is based on the Five E’s, which are engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation and planning. The application consists of 70 questions and took the committee five months to complete, according to Fodge.
According to Fodge, 80 percent of CSU employees and 90 percent of CSU students live in Fort Collins, which means they can easily take advantage of alternative transportation. Fort Collins is one of four cities in the country that has received a platinum bike-friendly rating, according to Fodge.
“We live in a city, and attract students, who love to bike,” Baker wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Bicycling is a priority from the top to bottom of CSU administration.”
In the application, the committee highlighted what improvements the University has made since it was awarded a silver rating in 2011. According to Fodge, some of those things include creating new trails and preserving corridors through construction. CSU also has 10.4 miles of trails on campus, according to Fodge.
“We’re one of the few schools in the country, if anywhere, that have (trails) where it’s split between bikes and (pedestrians),” Fodge said. “That absolutely separates us.”
The fact that CSU has a bike plan, which helps preserve corridors, could really help increase the University’s ranking, according to Fodge.
With 15,000 bike parking spots on campus, Fodge said that CSU is a leader in bike parking. There are enough bike parking spots on campus for one in every two students. In three years, the University aims to have 18,000 bike parking spots to accommodate bike parking as the campus population grows. CSU has vehicle parking for one in three students.
Another improvement CSU made was creating the Rambassadors and Ramguard programs last year to increase bicycle education and safety on campus, according to Fodge.
“We have a very strong enforcement program, and a very strong education program to go along with it,” Fodge said. “That’s where the Rambassadors come in. They don’t write tickets, they do education on site.”
Fodge said enforcement is an important part of the application because it helps CSU stand out. Good enforcement is important to keep bicycling safe, which encourages those who may have some fears about riding their bike to try it.
CSU will be the first campus in the country to have permanent bike counters installed on campus, according to Fodge. There is currently one permanent bike counter installed in Fort Collins on the Mason Trail. On campus, bike counters will be installed in the next few weeks.
Fodge said that one of the questions on the application asked if the University had a bike manager and a budget for biking and alternative transportation.
“That was not the case five years ago, now we have that and that’s a really big deal,” Fodge said.
Now that the application is submitted, the League of American Bicyclists will review it and the community can also review it through a survey, according to Fodge. The survey closes Sept. 18 and CSU’s new ranking should be awarded in October.
Fodge said that biking is already a large part of the culture at CSU and being awarded a gold or platinum ranking would reinforce that culture.
“It’s similar to earning belts in karate,” Baker wrote. “When you reach the next level, there is always a higher level yet to strive for.”
Collegian Assistant News Editor Sady Swanson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @sadyswan.