UT has been heralded in recent years for becoming a more bike-friendly campus. The introduction of the bike share program, Rocket Wheels, is one major example. Events held by the UT Cycling Club encourage the growth of a biking community.
While riding your bike on campus is great and should be encouraged for more than one reason, finding a good place to park your bike can be a nightmare.
The number of available bike racks on campus is around 30 (depending on your definition of a “rack”), per our own calculations. According to a university spokesperson, transit services is also working on compiling a number, but it was not available by press time.
When checking the number of places to lock up your wheels, we also took note of how many bikes were currently hooked up. Each rack averaged about 10 bikes. With only about four separators per rack, this means each rack is near capacity.
Construction on campus could affect these numbers, as it has caused more congestion at main buildings, including Rocket Hall, Student Union, Memorial Field House and the Carlson Library. There are two racks at both Rocket Hall and Field House, while SU and the library each have one.
The number of bikes parked on and near the racks on Engineering Campus is staggering. Each rack is overfilled.
While it has not grown into an epidemic just yet, the shortage of bike racks, and space to park your bike in general, has begun to cause problems. As a result, some students have started hitching their bikes to the poles holding buttons for automatic doors to buildings.
This can prevent the door from being opened or can make the button impossible to push, causing major issues for anyone who uses a wheelchair or needs to use the automatic door for other reasons.
If you are someone who has done this, stop.
This shortage also forces UT bike riders to get creative. Students link their chains around trees, picnic tables and even other bike chains, which is not the ideal situation for anyone who wishes to bike from class-to-class.
Personally, we find the lack of racks near Main Campus buildings in Centennial Mall ridiculous. More than half of the racks on campus are located on the south side of the river. What’s the point of being green and biking to class when you can’t even park anywhere near the building you’re headed to?
The solution to this is easy: UT needs to invest in more bike racks. While the summer months are winding down and the need for bikes on campus will soon decline, it is important to identify this problem now and fix it before next spring, when it will only get worse.
This can happen in any number of ways, with either the university, a club or an organization on campus taking the lead and either find funding for or donations of additional bike racks for campus.
This way we can continue encouraging eco-friendly and health-conscious behavior on campus, while also preventing people from being blocked from handicap entrances to buildings.
The number of bikes on campus is, hopefully, going to continue to grow. But, while this is a good thing, addressing the need for more bike racks sooner rather than later can prevent many issues on campus.