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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Bike share program on (w)heels of failed basketball court project

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As a result of this year’s unprecedented turnout in the CSA elections, the Bike Share project referendum passed with a massive 946 student votes in support. This project follows the recent rescindment of last year’s Basketball Court referendum.

The Bike Share project, which will permit the use of eight new bikes from the Recreation Center, aims to increase student access to a high cost activity. The bikes will be hybrid models costing roughly $500 each, and be accessorized with helmets and locks.

Although the project may take up to two years to complete, the Committee for Student Projects has begun working on implementation. The Committee hopes this project will be more successful than the 2007-08 campus bike share program, which failed due to a lack of student interest and involvement.

Indeed, according to Jonah Hudson-Erdman ’18, captain of the Cycling Club, the cycling community is excited to grow campus biking culture. “When we get this bike share, we will be able to have people just come out on a ride and see what it’s like, and then maybe fall in love,” Hudson- Erdman said.

Hudson-Erdman worries that students in the past have been prohibited from cycling due to socioeconomic inequalities. Compared to other sports, “cycling has a fairly high barrier to entry, which is really unfortunate because I think it’s something a lot of people would enjoy doing if they had the opportunity,” he said. A similar bike program has worked well at St. Olaf.

This new bike project comes on the heels of the recently rescinded Basketball Court Project, which failed due to cost. When the basketball courts were voted on last winter, students approved a $30,000 budget. According to CSA treasurer Ben Strauss ’16, this allocation was about $70,000 short of the actual cost of the courts.

“We knew it was going to be more than $30,000. That’s how much the student body approved last year, but once we got the $80,000 to $100,000 figure, we thought it was just too large, too unfeasible, given that $100,000 is more than half of the rollover we have available,” said Strauss.

As a result, the senate voted to cancel the basketball court project, which overruled the student referendum. The main costs contributing to the increase were the size of the court, the special surfacing needed for durability, and requisite lighting and fencing. Maintenance costs were also not considered in the initial estimate. For the CSA Senate, the funding did not match the benefit of building the courts.

Instead, the Committee for Special Projects will focus on the Bike Share Program, along with other projects approved by senate. Currently, members of the Committee are working to install new whiteboards in Goodhue, add more picnic tables to the bald spot, and double the number of board games at the Info Desk. These projects all are estimated to cost less than $4,000, which removes the need for a student approval.

In the spring, the Committee will be proposing improvements to Little Nourse that were requested by the Experimental Theater Board. Yet, spring is a busy time for members of the Committee, so timelines are not completely determined.

The committee also hopes to finish the Paul Wellstone memorial within the next year, creating a section in the library of left-leaning books. Attempts to determine what books belong in the memorial are underway.

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