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New MSU bike garages offer repair tools, added security

August 28, 2013

To combat the all too common sight of weather-beaten, and rusty bikes on campus, the university is offering an alternative option to exposing bicycles to the elements.

This year, MSU Bikes installed bicycle garages in parking Ramp 5, near Trowbridge Road, and Ramp 6, near Grand River Avenue. The garages offer improved bicycle racks, higher security and repair stands containing a host of tools for repairs on the fly.

The new facilities can provide up to 73 cyclists all that and more — but at a price. Access to the garage costs $50 for an annual rental, $35 for three to nine months, $25 for one to three months and $15 for one week to a month.

However, students can store an additional two bikes in the facilities for an extra 10 dollars.

MSU Bikes Service Center manager Tim Potter said the idea to install the new facilities came from his visits to other campuses and an unmet need from MSU commuters.

“The university had done some transportation-related surveys of both student and faculty and staff,” Potter said. “One of the questions was, ‘What are the things preventing you from riding, and if they were resolved, would encourage you to bike?’

“What a lot of people said is the bike parking on campus isn’t secure enough.”

The metal cage surrounding the racks only can be accessed with an MSU ID that’s authorized to open it, meaning that after the garage’s free trial period concludes Sept. 1, only paying renters of the garages will be able to get inside.

With more than 20,000 cyclists at MSU, Potter said the fees were necessary to control demand for the garages, which cost approximately $1,000 per bicycle space to construct.

The installation of the new parking garages also fits into the larger goals contain within MSU’s Campus Master Plan. Campus Planner Steve Troost said it’s about prioritizing non-motorized transportation.

“By providing a suite of options, hopefully we can encourage folks to do things differently, such as leaving their car at home and get more people to be coming to campus through different modalities, that not only enhance campus safety but improve our ecological footprint,” Troost said.

So far, only 10 users have applied and been authorized to use the garages. Applications to use the facilities can be filled out at the MSU Bikes Service Center.

In 2011, MSU was declared a bronze level “Bicycle Friendly University” by the League of American Cyclists. Potter said MSU will be applying to be evaluated in the next review cycle for the award, hopefully to gain the silver designation, with the ultimate goal of eventually achieving platinum status.

Nick Kehoe, president of the MSU Cycling Club, said the parking garages are a great idea, but noted the university has plenty of room for improvement.

“I don’t think it’s as friendly as the University of Wisconsin, where the only cars allowed on campus are emergency vehicles,” Kehoe said. “There are more bike lanes popping up so we’re moving in the right direction, but I still think we have a ways to go.”

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