By Corey Kleinsasser
On May 12, Cal Poly Pomona students protested the university’s lack of changes to current bike lanes since last year’s Bike Week. The group claimed that the university’s Parking and Transportation Services wasn’t committed enough to making CPP bike-friendly.
Mike Biagi, director of PTS, says that one of the things the university has had over the last year is a shift in leadership, and that shift may have hindered some developments on the bike lanes that were advancing.
“President [J. Michael] Ortiz was on his way out, President [Soraya] Coley is now here and there was a lot of transition that went with that,” said Biagi. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that all the programs just continue to move along as they always did. We want to make sure that before we go off in one direction, that the leadership is with us.”
Biagi wants to make sure that members of the university community are on the same page before anything is resumed.
“We’re not the lead agency for Bike Week,” said Biagi. “We’re not the lead agency to establish new bike lanes on campus. We are very willing and eager to participate and partner with whoever it is that’s going to be identified.”
The Bike Week protest featured individuals that were frustrated by the lack of progress for the alteration of bike lanes. Biagi believes that demonstrations like this creates awareness around campus.
“I think we need to continue to move, and I think that this protest that happened recently will help us do that,” said Biagi.
The deaths of CPP students Matthew Myers and Ivan Aguilar ” killed by motorists in 2005 and 2013, respectively ” affected the campus, as well as PTS. The department evaluated the circumstances in each individual accident.
“Ivan was on a bike [and] Matt was on foot [at] different points of Kellogg [Lane],” said Biagi. “That did cause us to take a look at the corner of Kellogg and make some analysis of whether it was safe and what needs to be done, if anything. The facilities folks and the transportation planners took a good hard look at that.”
Like all large matters on campus, altering bike lanes will take time and may take away from other matters that may be of concern.
“It’s a balance between having bike lanes where there are currently parking spaces and not having enough parking spaces already,” said Biagi. “Do we want to take more parking away?
“[These are] some things we really need to plan with engineers for some period of time. We can all sit in a room and decide it’s a good idea and our traffic engineer that we have can say, ‘Ok. This sounds good.’ And we can just go out and do it. It really depends on what we’re doing as to how long it might take to do.”
Biagi says that safety is a concerted effort for everyone on campus.
“There’s a certain element of responsibility that everyone shares for safety on campus, whether you’re driving through a parking lot or riding your bicycle or skateboard through a parking lot, it can be dangerous,” said Biagi. “We all have a joint responsibility for safety on this campus.”
According to Biagi, PTS does listen when students, faculty and staff voice their opinions concerning safety and how the campus can improve on the issues that are bothering them.
“We take that information, we take a look at it, and if it needs further study we send it to the folks that we have on staff, and our consultants, and we develop it further,” said Biagi. “It can come in a variety of different fashions, but every suggestion that students make, or that faculty and staff make, for that matter, is taken seriously and looked at for the merits that it may have.”
As an avid cyclist who bikes to and from campus, Biagi does have one improvement that he would like to see implemented.
“I would like to see on Kellogg, the signs on the ground that show the bike with the arrows that indicate to vehicle drivers that cyclists use this lane as well,” said Biagi. “That would be a helpful symbol to bring awareness to vehicle drivers that you’re going to see bikes in this lane.”
Malak Habbak / The Poly Post
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