Friday, May 27, 2011

Bike Week Wrap-Up

A week ago today was Bike to Work Day!  To celebrate, and to help some of our new cyclists get through the commute, various organizations hosted Energizing Stations that offered refreshments, educational materials, and even an air pump to make sure cyclists were pumped up and ready to go!

Energizing Stations were set up outside of the Main Street Market and the Albemarle County Office Building from 7am-9am and 4pm-6pm.  I worked with Misty Boos of CHUVA (Co-Operative Housing at the University of Virginia) to host an Energizing Station near the intersection of Rugby Road and University Avenue.  We were joined by UTS driver Ola, bike supporter Matt, and my wonderful wife Sarah.  We had a great time talking to cyclists and even administered some quizzes to see how aware our area cyclists are of the rules of the road.  Cyclists who completed the quiz were able to enter a raffle to win awesome prizes from Blue Wheel Bicycles, Zinc restaurant, ACCT (Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation), and more.


Bike to Work Day came towards the end of all the Bike Week events held throughout the week (see my previous posts) that encouraged more people to try cycling for recreation and commuting.  Perhaps more importantly, Bike Week raised awareness about bicycle safety and the need for motorists and cyclists to share the road.

In other bike related news, the City of Charlottesville added some new bike lanes this week on West Main Street near the Main Street Market.  The photo above is courtesy of Bike Charlottesville (check out their Facebook page for more).  The lanes come after City Council voted to remove some of the on-street parking to increase safety on this major corridor.

Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bike Week 2011 Is Underway

What a week for bikes!  Despite the periods of crazy storms, Bike Week 2011 activities have been going tremendously well all week thanks to the efforts of so many groups.


Bike Week began Monday with the Cross Town Ride and Bike Charlottesville News Conference.  The ride began at the Emmet/Ivy Parking Garage and led a group of about 30 cyclists through The Corner and Midtown, ultimately ending outside City Hall on the Downtown Mall.

The ride attracted an array of cyclists, including City Traffic Engineer Jeanie Alexander (pictured above), U.Va GIS Planner Bill Palmer and Mayor Dave Norris.  While not only serving as a very visible start to Bike Week, the ride itself gave participants a first hand view of some of the major cycling corridors and where improvements are needed.

On Tuesday evening Community Bikes hosted an open house at their shop on Preston Avenue.  Blue Wheel Bicycles' own Scott Paisley and U.Va's own Chris Gist were on hand with other Community Bikes volunteers to provide bike maintenance self-help tips, bike commuting route advice, and general bike tune-ups.  Visit Community Bikes online to learn more about their services:  http://www.cvillecommunitybikes.org/



The weather held out Wednesday evening for the annual Ride of Silence.  The 7-mile long, police-escorted procession through Charlottesville raised awareness of cyclists and honored those who have been injured or killed while cycling.  Ian Ayers created a great video of the ride (above).

On Thursday we hosted a free "Bike Commuting 101" workshop at Carruthers Hall for anyone interested in knowing the basics of bike commuting.  Led by volunteers Mary and Rob Cook, the course gave participants an introduction to the rules of road, safety tips, having the right gear and attire, and the various types of bikes that can be used for recreation and commuting.  Participants were also treated to lunch, delivered by U.Va Catering.  On participant, Monica from the Health System, even won a free bike helmet and shoe covers courtesy of Blue Ridge Cyclery!

So, what's left?  Bike to Work Day!  On Friday commuters who live within a reasonable distance of their classroom or workspace are encouraged to try getting there by bike.  P&T, and various community organizations, will have Energizing Stations set up to provide refreshments to keep bike commuters going.  Stop by and see us Friday in the morning (7am-9am) or afternoon (4pm-6pm) near the intersection of Rugby Road and University Avenue.

Don't forget, if you have a bike at U.Va make sure you register it with U.Va Police!  If it is ever lost or stolen, you have a much greater chance of it being recovered if it's registered.  You can register quickly and painlessly on UPD's website:  http://www.virginia.edu/uvapolice/registration.html

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bike Week Begins on May 16


Each year the League of American Bicyclists sponsors and encourages the celebration of the month of May as National Bike Month, with emphasis put on Bike Week which runs from May 16 to May 20.  During Bike Week, cities across the country host events with the goal of educating the public about bicycle safety and raising awareness of cycling as not only a recreational activity, but also as a means of transportation.

U.Va is joining Bike Charlottesville and several other community organizations in celebrating Bike Week here in Charlottesville.  The various activities planned throughout the week will culminate with Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20. 

Bike Commuting 101 - Thursday, May 19
Parking and Transportation will be hosting a free "Bike Commuting 101" lunch and learn session on Thursday, May 19, that will prepare new and potential cyclists for Bike to Work Day.  The session, which will be led by Mary and Rob Cook, will teach participants the basics of commuting by bike including safety tips, traffic laws, and what gear and apparel they need.  Attendees will be treated to a free U.Va Catering lunch and be entered to win a free bike helmet from Blue Ridge Cyclery!

Bike to Work Day - Friday, May 20
Employees living within a reasonable distance of their workplace are encouraged to try cycling to work on Bike to Work Day.  Since we're not all experienced cyclists, we might need a quick pick-me-up to get us all the way to the office.  Various organizations will be hosting "Energizing Stations" that will offer cyclists fruit, drinks, and other goodies to keep them going. 

I'll be working with some UTS drivers and U.Va student Misty Boos to host an Energizing Station near the intersection of Rugby Road and University Avenue from 7:00am-9:00am and 4:00pm-6:00pm.  Stop on by and say hi!

More Events
There will be several more events during Bike Week that you should definitely check out or even participate in.  These include a Cross Town Bike ride on Monday, an open house at Community Bikes on Tuesday, and the annual Ride of Silence.  Head on over to Bike Charlottesville for more information about these events.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bike Fix-It Station Installed During Earth Week

In the Fall of last year, Greta Ruediseuli of the Green Grounds Group approached me about giving cyclists access to air pumps and tools that they would need while on Grounds to keep their bikes in good working order.  Fortunately, Andrew Greene (Sustainability Planner) and I had already had some discussion about the Bike Fix-It Stations offered by Dero, a company that specializes in bike amenities.

Greta and Alex of the Green Grounds Group and I started evaluating locations and ultimated decided on a location outside of Clark Hall.  Clark Hall is centrally located on Grounds off of McCormick Road, and features a large concentration of bike parking.  The Fix-It Station was installed during Earth Week and officially unveiled during the Eco-Fair on April 21.

The Bike Fix-It Station features several tools and a bike pump.  Cyclists can hang their bikes on the station and use the tools to make repairs.

Head over to U.Va Today to read more about the Fix-It Station:  http://bit.ly/jEq3TK
Also check out NBC29's coverage of the station:  http://bit.ly/jVefu2

Thursday, May 5, 2011

U.Va Hosts Eco-Fair as Part of Earth Week 2011 Events

During Earth Week 2011 Parking and Transportation participated in coordinating several events including the "Vanpooling 101" workshop and "Traffic Skills 101" training course, the Recycled Art Exhibit hosted at the Student Activities Center, and the Eco-Fair.

The Eco-Fair brought together University departments, community organizations, advocacy groups and local/regional businesses who represented various facets of sustainability ranging from transportation to conservation.

Community Bikes was on hand with the always popular pedal powered bike blender smoothie maker.  Even Andrew Greene, University Sustainability Planner, got to enjoy a smoothie at the fair (photo by Cole Geddy)!  Chris Gist from Community Bikes was also at the fair to promote bike safety.  Later that evening Chris taught the first session of the "Traffic Skills 101" training course.



Heather Higgins of Bike Charlottesville, a local coalition of bike groups and community members, joined Community Bikes at the event to offer event attendees information on advocacy opportunities and safe cycling.  The new kid on the block, Blue Ridge Cyclery, was also at the fair giving away water bottles and encouraging students to sign up for their mailing list.  BRC opened on Millmont Street in December of last year and in addition to selling quality bikes and gear, they regularly sponsor group rides and maintenance classes.


U.Va Housing and U.Va Dining were both at the Eco-Fair with some great freebies!  As part of Housing's "Changing the Flow" initiative, reps were on site distributing reusable water bottles that can now be used in the newly upgraded water fountains in the residence halls.  Kendall Singleton and her Green Dining team had some delicious granola samples and plenty of information on Sustainable Dining at U.Va (head on over to Kendall's blog for some great photos).

Students from the research and design group, RideForward, had their electric powered Honda Accord on site.  The car, a result of a class taught by James Durand, was converted from using conventional gas power to electric drive (EV) as part of an ongoing class project.



The Eco-Fair was a huge success and a great opportunity for sustainability-minded groups to come together to not only educate the U.Va community on local initiatives, but also to learn from each other.  I very sincere thank you goes out to all the groups that participated in the Eco-Fair, including:
Sorry if I left your group off - there were so many great groups I may not have remembered to list them all!  Looking forward to Earth 2012!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

P&T Hosts "Vanpooling 101" Workshop for Employees

P&T hosted it's first Lunch & Learn session, "Vanpooling 101:  Everything you need to know about vanpooling", for U.Va faculty and staff on April 18 - the first day of Earth Week 2011.

The workshop brought together employees looking to reduce their commuting costs by sharing the ride.  Attendees watched a presentation by VPSI, Inc. experts Damian Gray and Chris Fenderson while being treated to a delicious U.Va Dining catered lunch.  A question and answer session followed allowing attendees to get more acquainted with idea of vanpooling to U.Va.

I'm happy to announce that a vanpool is in the works from Lovingston to U.Va!  VPSI is currently working with a group of interested commuters to get the van going.  If you are interested in joining, please let me know (jmonceaux@virginia.edu).

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Announces Virginia Transportation Challenge

Governor Bob McDonnell announced the Virginia Transportation Challenge on Earth Day, encouraging Virginians to try some other mode of transportation other than driving alone at least once every other week.  Check out the video below: