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Into the Bicycle Abyss

We returned to CSU-P this morning to listen to the student's projects relating to improving bikeability on campus.  The video below is on the trail that leads up to campus.
The presentations were very well done and potentially laid the groundwork and gave an outline for a potential future bikeability Master Plan.  All of the presentations, a full hours worth, can be found here.
The students were also asked what their reasons or excuses were for not bicycling to campus and those answers can be heard here.  I highly recommend listening to it.
Some of the common reasons students didn't ride their bicycles to campus were:

Distance - The campus is very separated from Pueblo town, therefore most commutes would be long ones.
Resolution:  I admit, riding to campus is long, but far from being impossible.  Students could start by riding part way, connecting with a City of Pueblo bus which would take them all the way to campus.

Safety -  Many students thought that there were no safe routes from where they live to the campus.  Others thought if there were more people to ride with, they would feel safety in numbers
Resolution: Pueblo actually has some very safe routes to ride, plus the Fountain Creek trail, which is 100% car traffic free, connects downtown Pueblo to the campus.  The new Pueblo Bicycle Route Map will be available soon,  keep an eye out for them.   At least 4 people said they lived on the south side of Pueblo, those people could form a small group and commute together.

Poor Weather -A few students claimed they would ride if the weather was nicer.
Resolution:  Pueblo has over 300 days of sunshine per year, very little precipitation, and mild climate most of the year.  To me, this is an excuse that is valid for maybe 20 days out of the year, the rest of the time, it's just an excuse.  It's not going to be as warm as inside your car, but the bit of inconvenience will be worth it. Look into investing in some decent outdoor clothing.  No need to go overboard.

No bicycle -  Some students just didn't have a bicycle
Resolution:  Working, functioning, commuter bicycles can be found at thrift stores or through Craigslist for as little as $20.  There is currently not much demand for bicycles, therefore the prices of used bicycles is low.  Even if you spent $50 on a bicycle, you would make up that cost quickly in the amount you spent on gas/parking/etc. 

Commuter School -  Many of the students that attend CSU-P come from neighboring towns which are up to 45 miles away, making a bicycle commute nearly impossible.
Resolution: There isn't really a great resolution for this one.  I do feel it should be the responsibility of the University to have bus shuttles to and from places like Colorado Springs, Canon City, Walsenburg, and La Junta if the majority of their students live in those places.  This might not get more bicycles to campus, but it would surely diminish the number of cars on campus.

Overall it was a great learning experience for us with PACE, but I hope also for the students.

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