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Alternative transportation student fee increase pays for trail expansion, mobile bike shop

Students biking or walking to class from the north side of campus may have noticed a change to their commute this year—but they might not have realized that they’re paying for it.

Following an increase of $4.27 to the alternative transportation student fee last year, the Alternative Transportation Fee Advisory board celebrated the launch of its first-ever infrastructural investment on campus, the renovation of the Green Trail, along with two new projects on Aug. 21.

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The Green Trail, which runs from the Shields underpass all the way to the Lory Student Center, was both expanded and separated to provide distinct pedestrian and cycling paths from the Rec Center to the underpass.

Previously, the sidewalk was a single 10-foot path for cyclists and pedestrians. Following the renovation, that original 10-foot path is now exclusively for pedestrians, with an added, separate 12-foot bike trail, said Wendell Stainsby, a student vice chair of ATFAB.

The paths themselves are now separated by four feet, according to the project proposal.

Additionally, the $30.50 student fee for alternative transportation helped fund a mobile shop launched by The Spoke, Colorado State University’s educational bike shop and SkiCSU, which provides round-trip transportation between CSU and designated ski resorts throughout the ski season.

These projects were the first to be funded by the alternative transportation fee, which previously had been implemented to provide access to public transportation such as Transfort to students, said Hanna Johnson, student chair of ATFAB.

“Although transit is great, (we realized) that’s not really enough for the student’s needs on campus,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of areas on campus that need improving if you’re riding a bike, if you’re walking to campus or if you’re in a mobile device like a wheelchair.”

Johnson and Stainsby said ATFAB provided $208,000 for the renovation of the trail, with matching funds from Facilities.

Assistant Director of Central Receiving Heather Reimer said the alternative transportation fee funded approximately $30,000 for the pop-up Spoke shop. Stainsby later confirmed The Spoke received $33,232. 

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Erika Benti, active transportation professional at CSU, said ATFAB contributed $8,768 to the SkiSU project for the upcoming academic year. This will help cover the cost of 10 trips to a variety of ski resorts over the course of the 2018-19 ski/snowboard season.

Johnson said ATFAB, which reviews projects to be funded by the alternative transportation student fee on an annual basis, wanted to be able to invest in alternative transportation for those students as well, and one of the most-demanded projects on campus was this trail.

“Pedestrians and cyclists have said they’ve almost been hit in that area, and then it was a huge safety issue from dozens of students,” Johnson said. “When we had the opportunity to finally have funding for infrastructure projects, this was really our priority, not only as chair and vice chair but our whole board really saw this was a huge need of students.”

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  • CSU faculty welcome student bikers during the grand opening of the Green Trail on Aug. 21. The Green Trail extension was funded by the Alternative Transportation Student Fee and is located just south of Moby Arena. (Clara Scholtz | Collegian)

  • Student body President Tristan Syron speaks during the grand opening of the Green Trail on Aug. 21. (Clara Scholtz | Collegian)

  • Student bikers ride on the Green Trail extension after its grand opening on Aug. 21. (Clara Scholtz | Collegian)

  • Students bike through the entrance of the Green Trail after its grand opening on Aug. 21. (Clara Scholtz | Collegian)

  • The Alternative Transportation Fee helped fund the Green Trail. (Clara Scholtz | Collegian)

  • The Spoke’s pop-up educational bike shop is launched during the grand opening of the Green Trail on Aug. 21. (Clara Scholtz | Collegian)

  • Bikes hang at the Spoke’s new mobile bike station during the grand opening of the Green Trail on Aug. 21. (Clara Scholtz | Collegian)

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Alternative Transportation Manager Aaron Fodge said on Aug. 20, 2,596 bicyclists and 443 pedestrians used the underpass alone, not counting the students who joined the trail from other directions, such as from the resident halls on the north side of campus.

“We’re getting thousands of people a day that are taking this trail, and before they would have to share the trail with pedestrians,” Fodge said. “We didn’t have a sidewalk that was anywhere near big enough to support the number of people that ride bikes here at CSU.” 

A graph displaying 2,596 bicyclists and 443 pedestrians used the underpass on Aug. 20. (Image courtesy of
Wendell Stainsby.)

Both Fodge and Johnson said, although this project was the first infrastructural investment made by the board, the project had been developing for years.

“The 2014 bicycle master plan for the University outlined this project. We had landscape architectural students that actually designed a preliminary look at what the trail could be, and over the last two years ATFAB has asked the University to cost-estimate what this project would look like,” Fodge said.

Reimer said the Spoke, which is also funded in part by Housing and Dining Services and Central Receiving, requested additional funding from ATFAB in order to expand their reach through the mobile shop and extend the hours at their main shop, located in the Pavillion.

In particular, Reimer said it was important to extend the bike shop’s educational programming beyond the north side of campus, where the main shop is located.

Coleman Centola, a senior economics major who built the mobile Spoke pop-up shop over the summer, said the mobile shop is intended to visit 8 locations decided based on a bike-distribution map, a high-bicycle-density map and a path-convergence map to maximize student use.  

The Spoke pop-up shop will visit eight target areas on campus. There will be alternating locations every other week, labeled in red and black numbers on the map.  The tent will be set up MondayFriday, with the numbers displayed here corresponding to days of the week, 1 indicating Monday, 2 for Tuesday, etc.). (Image courtesy of Coleman Centola.)

“We do exactly what the Spoke does, so we have the educational component is huge, if you stick around and learn how to do it, it’s free,” Coleman said. “The line is ‘we will put the tools in your hand’ … it’s pretty much fully equipped to handle most minor bike adjustments and bike repairs.”

Coleman, who has worked at the Spoke since he was a freshman, said the shop’s analysis determined that although students living on the south side of campus have more bikes, almost all the students who come into the physical store are from the dorms located near the shop, which is next to Durrell in Laurel Village.

Hours for The Spoke pop-up shop:

Monday 2 – 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday 1 – 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday 2 – 4:00 p.m.

Thursday 12 – 2:00 p.m.

Friday 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Tristan Syron, Associated Students of Colorado State University student body president, spoke at the grand opening event about the importance of student fees.

“That’s the coolest thing about Colorado State University: if you have a dream and you have a passion, whether it’s concrete trails, or water bottle refilling stations, or anything your brain could possibly imagine, you have the ability to make it happen,” Syron said. “I think we all have to thank our fellow students, because ultimately they’re still the ones paying for it.”

Collegian news editor Natalia Sperry can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Natalia_Sperry

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