A new bike safety and repair program will wheel through campus starting mid-September to accommodate the growing bicycling community and curb the University’s environmental impact.
The Power to the Pedal project will sponsor bi-monthly educational workshops to provide information on bike safety and repair, as well as a mobile maintenance station on campus.
According to SF State’s Sustainability Coordinator Nick Kordesch, the new effort will help achieve the University’s sustainability commitment to alleviate the physical space constraints and traffic congestion issues around the school.
“Our job is to get people to commute to campus in a greener way, which means cutting down on people driving alone and encouraging ride-share, public transportation, biking and walking,” Kordesch said.
Though there have been efforts in the past to build a larger biking community at SF State, many of them have failed due to a lack of continued support and funding.
In 2012, the school installed public bike maintenance stations at the walkway between the new J. Paul Leonard Library and the Creative Arts Building for students to repair their bikes. Those stations disappeared within a year.
“The bike fix-it station was vandalized and rather than replace it, we decided to pursue a vandalism-proof solution,” Kordesch said.
Liana Derus, a junior at SF State and manager of the sustainable initiatives office, said Power to the Pedal will not be encountering the same problems.
Power to the Pedal has mounted the maintenance station onto the back of a bicycle and will have a person responsible for it throughout the day. Their plan is to secure the equipment in the Bike Barn to prevent theft during the off hours, according to Derus.
“That’s really unfortunate that they were taken advantage of, but ours is always going to be supervised,” Derus said.
Making bicyclists feel confident about riding to school was another issue the program faced.
“I think a lot of kids chose not to ride to school because it’s dangerous and scary to them,” said Giovanni Corralejo, a part-time employee at the Bike Barn.
Alex Foster, a mechanical engineering student who commutes from Noe Valley on his bike, believes the project will be a resource for the bicycling community.
“I think it’ll be great for students who are hard up for cash, and wouldn’t be able to ride to school otherwise,” Foster said.
The project is funded by the Mary A. Crocker Trust, a San Francisco-based foundation focused on advocacy projects that seek solutions to current environmental problems in the Bay Area. Last year, the Trust awarded the school’s sustainable initiatives office $10,000 to fund the project.
The grant covers tools and supplies for the initial year and employee wages for the project manager. The program is now accepting applications from students to join as interns.