U of A Wins National Bike Month Challenge; Key Indicator in Growth of Cycling Community

Professor Jon Johnson, left, who led in total mileage for campus participants, and former Chancellor Dan Ferritor cross the front lawn of Old Main.
Chieko Hara, University Relations

Professor Jon Johnson, left, who led in total mileage for campus participants, and former Chancellor Dan Ferritor cross the front lawn of Old Main.

During the fourth and final week of the Bike Month challenge, the U of A community bounced back from lead shattering rainstorms to clinch the national bike month challenge by riding more the 13,500 miles during the month-long event.

"The fact that the U of A won this national event is evidence that the growth of the cycling culture is well underway here on campus, thanks in part to infrastructure investments throughout the region, and now is the time for us to double down on our efforts to accommodate U of A affiliates that use active transportation modes to get to campus. I'm guessing that of the 13,500 miles we biked, a significant portion were commuting miles — this makes me especially proud of the UA community," said Ammen Jordan, active transportation coordinator at the U of A.

BIKE MONTH CHALLENGE WRAP RIDE

The campus community is invited to join challenge participants for a 13-mile bike ride along the Niokaska Loop at 4 p.m. today, Wednesday, June 14. Please register here.

chart showing University of Arkansas winning the national challenge

FULBRIGHT WINS FIRST IN COLLEGE COMPETITION

Despite a late surge from ENGR, who passed WCOB late in the challenge, Fulbright College was able to hold on first. Being the largest college on campus, with 37 participants in the Bike Month Challenge, basically ensured a winning position for Fulbright but based on the strong showing of Engineering it's very likely that we will see some reshuffling during the next competition. Mark your calendars for Cycle September!

Chart showing college rankings with Fulbright College winning

Chart showing individual leaders with Jon Johnson in first place

PART OF A BROADER TREND

A student crosses a sidewalk with a new bicycle route designatorIn keeping with changing transportation trends that are occurring across the nation, the U of A is accommodating alternative transportation options such as busses equipped with bike-racks, e-scooters, as well as the primary active transportation modes: walking and riding a bicycle. 

Active Transportation describes all human-powered forms of travel. Walking and riding a bike are among the most popular and can be combined with other modes, such as transit.

Equitable and inclusive, by function, active transportation infrastructure improves the quality of life for UA affiliates by:

  • Supporting increased physical activity which improves overall health and well-being
  • Contributing to higher GPA's and workplace productivity
  • Fostering in-person interactions and relationship building
  • Being more cost-effective than vehicle ownership 

2020 Transportation Survey

An ongoing study by the U of A Office for Sustainability indicate that mode share trends on the UA campus for 2020 continued to transition towards alternative transportation. According to the 2020 transportation survey, 49% of UA affiliates use alternative transportation to get to and from campus. The UA has helped fuel this trend by working with e-scooter and bike share companies to operate on campus and in the greater Fayetteville area. These shared mobility systems have seen great ridership, especially from students, and 73% of UA affiliates support more shared mobility systems. Other catalysts include more housing near campus, new bicycle trails, and more apartment shuttles. 
The continued increase of University affiliate's choosing to bike or walk to campus is representative of national trends.  As public agencies, local foundations, and private organizations like UA make investments in active transportation networks, two key realizations are shaping how these investments are made:  1) If you build it, they will come! 2) The safer and more pleasant the better.

The benefits for the university include: 

  • Healthier, happier, and productive student body and workforce
  • Reduced work/study time lost to traffic congestion
  • Reduced parking demand and associated costs
  • Improved institutional brand

bicyclists ride along Senior Walk while crossing campus
Cyclists cross campus on Senior Walk as they head to the Razorback Greenway.

PROMOTING COLLEAGUESHIP THROUGH ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION

Dean Matt Waller of the Sam M. Walton College of Business with bicycle helmet and jersey
Dean Matthew Waller of the Sam M. Walton College of Business with the college's motto slightly altered for bicycling: RideEPIC.

Responding to this general increase in active transportation on campus, the Sam M. Walton College of Business recently hosted a guided bike ride and walk from Shollmeier Plaza at the Walton Quad across campus and south along the Razorback Regional Greenway a 5-mile "SoFay Loop."

Dean Matthew Waller led the group out with former Chancellor Dan Ferritor sporting a Razorback bicycling jersey and joining the tour.

"Active transportation is a great way to build relationships, enhance your health, reduce your carbon footprint and work toward the university's goal of carbon neutrality," added Eric Boles, director of the U of A Office for Sustainability.

CONNECTING CAMPUS TO THE RAZORBACK GREENWAY

As part of a continued effort to make the U of A a more connected and bicycle-friendly campus "super sharrows" were recently installed near the new Old Main Lawn ramp on the east side of Carnall Hall. These road markings were installed to indicate a shared lane environment for bicycles and automobiles and reinforce the legitimacy of bicycle traffic on the street, recommend proper bicyclist positioning, and help with bicycle wayfinding on campus. Additional wayfinding markings have been installed on preferred routes around campus that are designed to eliminate physical barriers, eliminate conflicts with automobiles, and reduce congestion on sidewalks.

Workers install new bicycle directional signs at the entrance to Carnall Hall
The new pavement markings and nearby ramps were developed and designed by the U of A Office for Sustainability and Facilities Management Planning and Design. 

About FM Planning and Design: The Facilities Management Planning and Design Office directs a broad range of planning issues, including land use and master planning, campus development standards, landscape design, transportation planning, resource allocation oversight, and facilities assessments. This group is the source for capital and physical planning at the University of Arkansas, and ensures that all projects support the academic goals of the University and promote the highest physical potential of the Fayetteville campus.

About UA Office for Sustainability: The mission of the University of Arkansas Office for Sustainability is to motivate, facilitate, and coordinate responsible practices through partnerships with students, faculty, and staff across all campus departments. The OFS uses the campus as a living laboratory by overseeing the implementation of the University of Arkansas environmental goals. These programs are part of the UA Resiliency Center, hosted by the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, and are supported by UA Facilities Management.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas' economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

Contacts

Ammen Jordan, active transportation coordinator
Office for Sustainability
479-575-3715, aj077@uark.edu

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