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University Facilities

Campus Bikeways - Case Studies

Case Studies

Case studies and best practices from other universities and recreation areas across the country were reviewed to provide examples for future bikeway development on campus and in the forest.

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  • University Case Studies +

    The bicycle planning practices and networks at Clemson Peer Institution and potential Clemson Transportation Peer Institution Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech), Cornell University and the University of Maryland were reviewed to understand how these institutions addressed bikeway facility development and related topics. The schools were selected based on similar community influence and/or size, climate, topography, institution type, and transportations issues.

    Clemson UniversityCornell UniversityVirginia TechUniversity of Maryland
    City Clemson, SC Cornell University Virginia Tech University of Maryland
    City Population 13,002 30,013 42,881 27,286
    University Enrollment (2009) 20,494 20,053 32,827 42,586
    Climate & Topography Hilly, humid summers and cool, dry winters. Hilly, sometimes hot and humid summers, cold, snowy winters. Somewhat hilly, summers warm and humid, winters cool to cold with warm periods. Somewhat hilly, warm spring, fall, cool winters.

    Bicycle Friendly
    These institutions were chosen because each achieved various awards in alternative transportation excellence. The University of Maryland and Virginia Tech were recognized as a Best Workplaces for Commuters by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The University of Maryland and Cornell University had achieved the League of American Bicyclist’s Bronze Certification Level in the Bicycle Friendly University Program. The Bicycle Friendly University Program was developed by the League of American Bicyclists to recognize institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bicycle-friendly campus for students, staff and visitors. The program provides a roadmap and technical assistance to create better bicycling environments at institutions of higher learning.

    A summary of university bicycle infrastructure and program elements from these university are found below.

  • University Bicycle Plan and Goals +

    Virginia Tech

    In the 2002 Parking and Transportation Master Plan, a bicycle section was included. The following goals are taken from the plan:

    1. Improve Bicycle Lanes – ensure easily acceptable bicycle lanes exist from the perimeter of campus to the central campus.
    2. Bicycle lanes and pedestrian paths should be well lit, provide ample space for passing bicycles/pedestrians, and provide properly spaced emergency call boxes.
    3. All new roads constructed on campus should consider installing either a bicycle lane or a separate bicycle path. Bicycle lanes are preferred for routes where there are frequent intersections/driveways and a separate bicycle path is preferred for routes with infrequent intersections/driveways.
    4. All new residence halls constructed on campus should include bicycle shelters over bicycle racks as an integral part of the design. Existing residential halls should have bicycle shelters installed near them.
    5. The University should establish a capital budget for bicycle and pe;destrian facilities. This budget should be used for improvements and maintenance to the bicycle and pedestrian network.

    Cornell University

    Cornell University Bike Map
    The 2005 Cornell’s Campus Master Plan was a new development strategy to guide land development over the next 30 – 60 years. As part of the larger Campus Master Plan, campus transportation and circulation was reviewed. A summary of planning priorities, key movement strategies and initiatives from the transportation and circulation element of the Campus Master Plan is as follows:

    1. Bike racks should be located outside of all buildings, with weather protection provided wherever possible. Most new buildings should include indoor bicycle storage facilities and change rooms. Require bike racks, indoor bike storage facilities and change rooms in major new buildings.
    2. The steep grades in certain areas of campus deter high use of bicycles, and in some places walking a bike is the only choice. Install, wherever possible, bike stairs on all future stairways and retrofit existing stairways in these areas. Bike stairs simply include narrow ramps adjacent to the steps that allow bicyclists to roll their bicycle uphill. Install bike stairs where primary cycling routes to campus cross the gorges.
    3. The bike network should discourage cyclists from using heavily-traveled pedestrian routes, and along shared paths and trails, signage should remind cyclists to look out for and give way to pedestrians. Identify and sign primary bike routes to and through campus.
    4. Consider a bike share program. A bike-share program would allow a member to pick up a bike at one location on campus and leave it at separate location, avoiding a long walk or short drive. Also, bike rentals should be investigated, perhaps by partnering with the bike shop. Cornell should consider subsidizing bicycle rental costs for students or employees who wish to rent a bicycle for the semester instead of applying for a parking permit. Develop and implement an effective bike share program.

    University of Maryland

    In 2008, a Bicycle Study was completed at the University of Maryland that recommended improvements to bicycle infrastructure and parking on campus. Enhancing policies and programs for bicycle management, safety, and security was also encouraged. Goals and strategies to highlight the cornerstone of its transportation and sustainability commitment are listed below:

    1. Significantly increase bicycling on campus as an alternative to automobile travel. Reduced automobile use will reduce congestion and emissions, reduce the amount of space and money dedicated to motor vehicle parking, contribute to sustainability efforts and improve campus wellness.
    2. Increase safety and mobility.
    3. Model engagement in collaborative partnerships as indicated in the campus Strategic Plan.
    4. Identify several roads throughout campus as vehicular/bike roadways as designed by the State and add covered parking. Suggested routes will be highlighted in educational brochures and signs will be added to the exits of some parking lots.
    5. Install racks at key buildings. Existing racks have been mapped.
  • Bicycle Networks +

    Virginia Tech Bike Map
    Cornell University has a primary bicycle network that provides connections to destinations on campus and to off-campus bike routes. The network is comprised of bike lanes, shared road bike routes, shared paths and dismount zones. Common signage prominently identifies primary bicycle routes. Dismount zones are signed in areas where bicyclists should walk their bike. Riding on a bike through these areas is prohibited.

    Virginia Tech has a small system of bike lanes and paved off-road shared use paths. The 2006-2016 Master Plan calls for an expansion of that network. Route expansion will increase the number of bike lanes on campus and provide more off-road bike paths to improve connections across the entire university property. The goal is to encourage greater use of bicycles as a primary mode of transportation.

    University of Maryland Bike Map
    The University of Maryland has a network of on-campus bikeways providing a high level of connections to destinations on campus. The bikeway is made up of mostly shared roadways that are marked with shared lane markings and one shared use path. The location of the campus bicycle shop, bicycle registration office, bicycle racks, shower facilities, campus police and other bicycle-related are shown on the official university bike map.

  • Bicycle Parking and Storage Facilities +

    Covered bike rack at Virginia Tech All three institutions provide bicycle parking and a map showing the locations of bike racks on campus. All three also have the inverted “U” bicycle racks. At Virginia Tech, a covered bike rack provides shelter for a series of the inverted U racks. At Cornell, bikes can be parked inside a Inverted building with permissions from the Building Director. The University of Maryland provides group bike lockers. The lockers contain double decker bike racks that are equipped with security cameras inside campus parking garages. The rack space is available to rent for an annual rate of $45, $25 for fall, spring and summer semesters and $10 for winter break. Bikes must be registered before locker can be rented. Locker codes are electronic and change with every new person. Telephone support is also available.

  • Bicycle Share and Bike Rental +

    Cornell's Big Red Bikes The Big Red Bikes Bike Share program at Cornell University began in 2011 as a student initiative. Students must register to use the program. The first 25 hours of use a week are free. After that, rates are $5/hour for the first 5 hours, and any additional time is billed at $20/hour. A student can obtain a key for a bike by showing a student I.D. Users are allowed “one strike” for any problems or misuse before a fee is charged. Groups of 7 or more can reserve bikes a week in advance. At the University of Maryland, Trek Alliant Cruisers are available for students to rent for the semester at the Campus Bike Shop. The $70 rental fee includes a U-Lock and priority maintenance guarantee. There is a short bicycle use orientation. Mountain bikes can be rent for $10/day, $35/week. Helmets and locks are each $2/day, $5/week.

  • Bicycle/Pedestrian Conflict Management +

    Cornell University has designated dismount zones in designated areas to try to minimize bicycle accidents with pedes;trians. They also have a policy that limits biking on campus unless it’s on a signed, shared path. At Virginia Tech, separate facilities are being developed for bi;cycles and pedestrians. These multi-use paths, called greenways, are 12 feet wide which allow room for bicyclists to pass pedestrians, and are paved with asphalt to distinguish them from pedestrian only sidewalks. Bicycle crashes and path maintenance issues can be reported through an online form at the University of Maryland and Virginia Tech. Users can report an issue in real-time, providing instant feedback for facilities management.

  • Bicycle Advocacy +

    There have been a few different student groups involved in bicycle advocacy Virginia Tech. In the last several years, “Bike Challenges” have been held to get people to commute by bike. In 2009, The Bicycle Advocacy Group ran the events, and in 2006, The Environmental Coalition had 315 partici;pants who rode 14,351 bicycle commuter miles during the challenge. Cornell University has a Bicycle and Pedestrian Traffic Safety committee that covers issues pertaining to improving the cycling and walking environment on campus. University staff from Transportation Services, Environmental Health and Safety, Police, Planning and the Judicial Administrator's office are on the committee. Interested students and staff may also join. The University of Maryland’s Bicycle Advisory Group meets bi-monthly to discuss developments and issues in campus biking. Members are from different departments on and off campus. Additionally, the Bike UMD program is funded by student fees and monies recouped by lower than expected fuel costs for the campus shuttle system.

  • Enforcement and Education +

    Each of the institutions has an educational and enforcement component to their bicycle program. Each school provides state and university bicycle policy and rules online. All of the institutions provide free bicycle registration online for those who parking and operate on campus online. Virginia Tech requires bicycle registration. Bicycles on campus without it may be fined or impounded. Registra;tion is designed to help improve bicycle facilities, prevent theft and assist with the recovery of stolen bicycles on campus.

    Through the Cornell University Extension program, there is a Pedestrian and Bicycle Website that is a resource for information on local events, state programs and policies, campus programs and other topics. The University also offers a bike riding safety brochure, and offers beginner bike, traffic skills, maintenance classes.

    The University of Maryland Department of Transportation Services website contains images as well as text that shows the proper way to lock a bike, load and unload a bike on a bus and where to locate a bicycle serial number, which is typically used for university bike registration. This website also provides information on bicycle commuting. Virginia Tech also provides a number of education resources on its website.

  • Bicycle or Alternative Transportation Use Incentives +

    These institutions also provide different kinds of incentives to those who ride bikes. At Cornell University, students and staff who biked to campus and need to shower before class or work are allowed to use the athletic shower facilities for free. Virginia Tech provides repair kits on campus and free enrollment in an emergency ride home program. At the University of Maryland, committed cyclists receive 15 discounted daily parking permits for $15 per semester. Helmets, U-Locks and front and rear lights are offered at a discounted rate through the University of Maryland.

  • University Departments and Bikeway Development +

    Each university has a pair of departments that work together to implement and support the bikeway development and related topics. The following table lists the lead and support university departments involved with bikeway develop.

    Cornell UniversityVirginia TechUniversity of Maryland
    Lead Department Facility Services Commuter and Parking Services Transportation Services
    Support Department Campus Police Cornell Outdoor Education, Extension Campus Sustainability
  • Outdoor Recreation Areas Case Studies +

    The Forest is a unique feature of Clemson University. Natural resource education and forest management historically have played a large role in use of the forest, but in more recent decades, recreation in the form of hiking, biking and horseback riding has increased. There are two nationally recognized outdoor recreation areas just a few hours from Clemson University that provide good comparative case studies for mountain biking, trail management and user-group conflict. The Tsali Recreation Area in Western North Carolina is rated as one of the top places for mountain bike riding in the country. Lake Norman State Park is a center for outdoor recreation activities, including mountain biking, and is located outside of the growing Charlotte, North Carolina metropolitan area.

  • Tsali Recreation Area +

    Tsali Recreation Area Trail Map The Tsali Recreation Area is a destination for mountain biking in the eastern part of the country. Located in Western North Carolina, 17 miles north of Robbinsville in the Nantahala National Forest, this recreation area contains almost 40 miles of trails. Rated as one of the top places to mountain bike in the country, the area is located on a hilly peninsula reaching into Fontana Lake at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains. The four long main trails wind along the lake shore and into the wooded interior. There are several connector trails, gravel roads and extension trails that give a few more options for rides besides the main loops. The trails are well designed for mountain bikers and heavily used. User-group conflicts are managed by alternating open trails on different days of the week. Two trails are always be open to mountain biking. Hikers and hunters are urged to choose a trail not in use by mountain bikers. Users are advised to watch for signs of forest management and to stay off “Road Closed” signs. There is a $2.00 trail use fee per day. Maps and information are available online and at trailheads.

  • Lake Norman State Park +

    Lake Norman State Park Itusi Trail Map Lake Norman State Park is about 40 miles north of Charlotte. There are many different recreational activities that are permitted in the park, including the Itusi trails for mountain bikers. The trails are designated by signs for travel in one direction for bikers and the other direction for hikers to maximize visibility in the event of trail user conflict. The one-way travel design allows users to ride mountain bikes without worrying about meeting hikers from behind or collisions from on-coming riders. Each loop of the trail is ridden in a counter-clockwise direction during odd-numbered years and clockwise during even numbered years. The trail is reversed each January 1st to give the riders a new riding experience and to allow the trail to heal. On the International Mountain Bicycling Association, trail maps indicate the level of difficulty in each trail by color designation.

  • Summary of Recommendations from Case Studies +

    The following are recommendations for bikeway development at Clemson University, including areas on campus and in the forest.

    Campus Recommendations

    • Develop a network of integrated primary and secondary bikeways.
    • Create a bike map, and have it available online.
    • Develop a bicycle ownership policy.
    • Include bicycling as part of the larger Transportation Demand Management Strategy.
    • Set a bicycle operation policy that defines where bicycles are allowed and prohibited on roads, sidewalks and multi-use trails with a clear enforcement strategy.
    • Incorporate bicycle facilities in new developments.
    • Improve short term and long term bicycle parking facilities.
    • Develop a Bicycle Advisory Committee comprised of University Students, Faculty and Staff, City Employees and Local Advocates.
    • Develop incentives for students, faculty and staff that choose to ride their bike to campus as a form of transportation.

    Forest Recommendations

    • Identify a network of named trails, including off-road (unpaved) and on-road (paved) trails for bicyclists. Consideration should be given to classify trails in ways that might indicate primary trails and secondary trails as well as level of difficulty.
    • Develop and install a trail marking or wayfinding system in the Forest for all users.
    • Set a trail user policy that will minimize user-group conflict and, therefore, maximize trail use.
    • Develop a road and trail closure policy and marking program.
    • Create an official trail map that has contains the official rules, policies and trails of the forest.

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