New bike shelters will provide bike storage on campus.
Kaye Coholan/the Gauntlet

Delayed bicycle shelters still a go

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As sustainability and bicycle culture become more prevalent in the city, bicycle shelters may become an incentive for students to use more sustainable means of transport around the city and campus.

Students can expect to see construction on bicycle shelters on the University of Calgary campus in the spring of 2012. Construction of the shelters was originally planned to start fall 2011, but has been pushed back because of changes to the design. They are set to be complete by fall 2012.

A variety of people were included in the plans, including a design review committee, where the finishing touches were completed. The design review committee is comprised of internal and external design professionals ­-- architects, engineers and planners.

The design concept was developed by environmental design students from the U of C with the supervision of associate professor Barry Wylant.

There are three proposed locations where the shelters will house between 30 and 60 bicycles. The shelters require that users bring their own locks.

"I know a few people who worked on it and I know they did take longer than expected just because they are being more open toward listening to people and their opinions on how things should be done," said Bike Root volunteer Michael Godwin. "In that respect, it sounds very positive because they're not going to hire some engineer and be done with it."

Currently, the primary locations proposed are directly across from the main entrance of the Energy Environment and Experiential Learning building, across from Hotel Alma and the third will be beside the Olympic Oval. These locations should give a few central locations for locking bikes. The shelters will be enclosed and well-lit to discourage theft.

"I guess it says something about our university as an environmentally conscious institution," said first-year medicine student Ali Bagg. "It contributes to our idea of a sustainable campus."

Initially, discussions regarding dismount zones on campus were proposed along with the shelters, though they currently have been halted.

"We haven't gotten into that at all yet. It's a bit of a minefield once we get into that. It's certainly one we will have to get into at some point. It's something that goes hand in hand with having bike storage areas. You have to have places where there are dismount areas and places you have to walk," said Bob Ellard, VP facilities management and development. "I almost got run over the other day."

Though a safety precaution, dismount zones may be discouraging for responsible cyclists on campus.

"As a pedestrian, you do get a lot of people on bikes who can be fairly reckless, so in a lot of ways I agree with it. Still, when I'm on campus and I have my bike with me and I want to get to the other side, I'll hop on my bike and take it slow -- but not everybody's going to do that, so it's hard to say," said Godwin.

Though construction has been pushed back a few months, the shelters are now on track and were met with enthusiasm by U of C staff and students.

Campus sustainability has been an important aspect of the university's image and administration has done well to cater to the idea. The expected outcome is to move forward in terms of a more sustainable campus and to continue to implement eco-friendly infrastructure.