Chronicle Column: More Bikes Please!

Duke Chronicle columnist Milap Mehta published an article today describing the commuting situation for off-campus undergraduates. For him, it is simply more cost-effective and convenient to bike to campus than to drive to the Blue Zone or take the La Salle bus. And since Duke has a free bike loan program, it was fairly simple for him to get a bike and start riding. However, Mehta also observed some serious shortcomings in an otherwise awesome program.

Since biking is such a great option for some commuters, I was shocked that bikes are in limited supply at Duke. On any given day there are only one or two bikes available for rental. The Outpost opens at 12 p.m., and usually it runs out by 12:05.

When exploring the bike racks outside of the Outpost, one may find many bikes in various states of disrepair. Some have loose spokes on their wheels, broken brakes and other mechanical malfunctions.

The Outpost office itself appears to be underfunded and undersupplied. In addition to the scarcity of bicycles and the obvious need for repairs, the computers are outdated and the ventilation system seems in drastic need of an upgrade. The less-than-stellar condition of the Outpost is surprising considering the decent condition of most Duke facilities.

If you echo these concerns or have ideas on how to improve the Duke Bikes program, drop us a comment! We’ll be working with other campus groups and administrators to address these and other issues with the Outpost and Duke Bikes and want to ensure that your voice gets heard.

Also, feel free to reach out directly to members of the Duke Administration. Getting input from critical stakeholders helps them do their jobs better and makes it more likely that your concerns will get addressed. Plus, it sounds more convincing to them if they hear it directly from students, faculty and staff rather than through a middle person. The following people will be involved in on-going conversions on the Duke Bike program / the Outpost:

  • Jordan Hale, Coordinator for the Outpost, OSAF – jordan.hale [AT] duke [DOT] edu
  • Brian Williams, Transportation Demand Management Coordinator, Duke Parking & Transportation – bpw3 [AT] duke [DOT] edu
  • Christina Lieu, Vice President for Athletics, Campus Services and the Environment, Duke Student Government – christina.lieu [AT] duke [DOT] edu
  • Tavey McDaniels Capps, Director, Duke Sustainability – tavey.mcdaniels [AT] duke [DOT] edu

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