Friday is Bicycle to Work Day and the University of Virginia is encouraging faculty and staff to commute on two wheels instead of four.
To mark the occasion, the Department of Parking & Transportation is installing a fifth bicycle fix-it station outside the Elson Student Health Center on Brandon Avenue. The station was funded by Student Council “Green Initiatives Funding Tomorrow” funds obtained by the Green Grounds Group.
Parking & Transportation partnered with U.Va. Dining and the School of Architecture to install four other do-it-yourself bicycle repair stations, located at Clark Hall, Campbell Hall, Observatory Hill Dining Hall and Runk Dining Hall.
On Friday, cyclists are invited to load up on refreshments – including fruit, water and energy bars – at two local “bicyclist energizing stations.” Parking & Transportation will sponsor one off Alderman Road near the Student Activities Building from 7 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m. Blue Wheel Bicycles and Bike Charlottesville are sponsoring the second energizing station at the Main Street Market during the same hours..
The University promotes cycling as a transportation alternative, touting it as environmentally friendly, good for personal fitness and a way to lessen traffic and demand for parking. Jonathan Monceaux, a transportation demand management professional at Parking & Transportation, said the University has taken many steps to encourage bicyclists.
“We have recurring bicycle education classes on maintenance and safety, rules of the road and commuting tips,” he said. “We have created additional bicycle parking, including covered bike parking inside the Central Grounds Parking Garage on Emmet Street. We have also installed five bicycle fix-it stations around Grounds that will make it easier for people to perform their own repairs and maintenance.”
The University has also worked closely with the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County to assist bicyclists, including painting "sharrow" markings on Alderman Road.
“Sharrows are a system of road markings that remind motorists and bicyclists that they are sharing the road with each other,” Monceaux said. “The city has installed sharrows on Water Street as well.
“At U.Va., we have many students, faculty and staff who view a bicycle as a primary mode of transportation,” he said. “We recently worked with the city of Charlottesville to do bicycle and pedestrian counts at various intersections around Grounds and the city. These counts will help city planners identify areas that have high volume of cyclists and potentially make improvements.”