Off The (Bicycle) Chain! The New School’s Bike Task Force Gets to Work


According to a survey conducted by The New School in Spring 2010, nearly a third of New School students, faculty and staff respondents commute to campus by bicycle ‘ second in popularity only to riding the subway ‘ with 45% of these cyclists riding 1-3 days per week, weather permitting. One result of this popularity: a bike-parking squeeze outside some university buildings. Another is the new Bike Task Force, convened earlier this month by the Office for Sustainability to address and serve the growing culture of biking at The New School. As a working group of the Sustainability Advisory Committee, the task force, comprised of students, faculty and staff, will also promote cycling initiatives on campus in the context of sustainability goals around energy and active design.

To date, a bicycle and a student commuter survey have been administered at The New School to gather initial data on bicycle use on campus. The Office for Sustainability addressed some of the recommendations that emerged from these surveys, including installation of more outdoor sidewalk bicycle parking through the Department of Transportation’s CityRacks program (we currently have 46 racks accommodating 96 bicycles in front of New School buildings with more on their way), establishment of secure, indoor bicycle parking on 14th Street at the Imperial Parking Garage ($25/semester; sign up for a permit with the Office for Sustainability, 71 Fifth Avenue, 9th floor, during normal business hours), and creation and distribution of public education materials. For more information, contact sustainability@newschool.edu.

On the academic side, last semester Environmental Studies students in the Planning Sustainable Cities course drafted a bicycle master plan for the task force to review; a group of these students went on receive a Green Fund award to further bicycle advocacy work on campus. At Parsons, the urbanBIKE initiative received a grant from the Cycling Sports Group (Cannondale, Schwinn, Mongoose and GT) and ran two cross-disciplinary design studios yielding a number of innovative projects and prototypes. See urbanbike.parsons.edu. A group of Transdisciplinary Design students also received a Green Fund award to showcase a potential connection between bicycles and energy generation.

Bicycle tours are also offered throughout the year through The New School’s Office of Recreation and Intramural Sports. For more information, contact recreation@newschool.edu.

Open to The New School community, the next Bike Task Force meeting is Tuesday, February 28th at 6:00 p.m., in 80 Fifth Avenue, room 529. Please join us!