05/02/11

Biking, Walking, and Blogging: Students, Sustainable Transportation and Beautiful U DayBiking, Walking, and Blogging: Students, Sustainable Transportation and Beautiful U Day

Students, Sustainable Transportation and Beautiful U Day

From Amber Collett, Communications Associate

On April 20th, 2011, despite the slushy snow that fell earlier in the day, crowds gathered outside of Northrup Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus to celebrate Beautiful U Day. A major component of this year's celebration was the Sustainable Transportation Expo.

 

The Expo is part of an ongoing effort by the University of Minnesota (which is a bicycle friendly university!) to encourage students, faculty, and staff to bike, walk, or carpool to campus. It didn't hurt that on the cold day there was free hot chocolate and coffee for participants!

 

"With gas prices rising and construction beginning on the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line, creative and sustainable transportation options will be more important than ever for our university community," said Kathleen O'Brien, vice president for University Services.

 

Student groups, nonprofits, and local bicycle shops all had displays and folks on hand to answer questions about transportation in the Twin Cities. The University's ReUse Program partnered with Re-Cycle.com, a used bike retailer, to host a used bike sale with more than 200 gently used bikes for prices as low as $35. For folks who already had bikes, local bike shops offered tune-ups and other services across campus.

 

When I stopped by the Expo at 2pm, most of the snow was gone and there was a line of students 10 deep purchasing bikes. I stopped by the Nice Ride booth to say hello and wasn't surprised to find students snapping up station maps!

 

Rising tuition and gas prices make affordable, sustainable transportation options for students ever more important. Not only does the transit system need to be protected from service cuts and fare increases, but we need to make sure that safe, accessible connections to transit are available in communities.