UT needs more bike parking, students say

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Civil engineering sophomore Joe Jancaus attempts to lock his bike near the Gregory Gymnasium on Tuesday afternoon. 9,200 registered bicycles have to compete for the 7,000 bike parking spaces available around campus.

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

An additional 1,700 bike parking spaces have been added over the last six years to accommodate for the high number of campus bikers, according to the most recent Parking and Transportation Services report.

However, students say the University still needs more parking availability due to continuously overcrowded bike racks. There were about 7,000 spaces for the 9,200 registered bikers in 2017, according to the report. 

“Parking is not provided at a ratio of one-to-one,” PTS associate director Blanca Gamez said. “Traffic undergoes continuous changes through the day on campus whether you are driving a vehicle or riding a bike.”

While PTS has been providing more spaces, they stopped three years ago when there were enough racks to accommodate for more than 70% of the
registered bikers. 

Public health freshman Eric Wang said this is not enough, especially when bike racks at Carothers Residence Hall are often full for the whole day. 

“I personally have huge issues with this at my dorm … since people just leave their bikes,” Wang said. “But honestly, it’s a problem all over campus for me at least.”

More distant buildings, such as those within the engineering school, also tend to have more overcrowded bike racks. This causes students to struggle to find available spots before class starts. 

“If the one nearest to the building is full, it’s often difficult to find a nearby rack that doesn’t require stairs,” civil engineering senior James Lentz said. “The rack that happens to me the most on is the one on Dean Keeton under the pedestrian bridge by the Civil Engineering Building.”

 

Chemical engineering senior Hayley Bishop said PTS should keep better track of what areas of the campus need more bike racks.

“There has not been enough surveillance of which bike racks are useful and where the racks get overcrowded,” Bishop said. “There should be a record to understand which areas have the most bike traffic and the highest need for bike racks.”

It is not uncommon for PTS to hear from students and building managers with requests for additional racks in certain areas of campus, Gamez said.

“PTS monitors rack capacity and also engages the campus community to provide feedback, including recommendations for bike rack replacements,” Gamez said. “(Locations where the bike rack should be placed) are determined based on need, available real estate and permission to place racks.”