Today, we are proud to announce that the League of American Bicyclists has officially recognized Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) with a Silver Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) award, joining 54 other visionary colleges and universities from across the country.
This designation is a significant accomplishment for the University and recognition of the commitment to the Sustainable Operations Strategic Plan, which outlined a 2015 goal to achieve a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly University designation by the next BFU award submission in 2017.
“This latest class of Bicycle Friendly University awardees show a wonderful commitment to safety, health, and sustainability through their efforts to support bicycling on campus,” said Amelia Neptune, Director of the League’s Bicycle Friendly America Program. “We applaud this round of BFUs for raising the standard and being innovative in making bicycling a safe, convenient and enjoyable option for students, staff and visitors alike.”
Washington University received its first Bicycle Friendly University designation (BFU) in 2015, at the Bronze level, the first of four levels: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Though it was a source of pride for our university, this designation was evidence that there remained opportunities for us to make WashU more bike friendly.
Since our 2015 Bronze designation, the WashU campuses have seen many physical transformations resulting in a safer and more comfortable infrastructure for bikers. The construction of a separated bike and pedestrian path on Forsyth Blvd was a major improvement to increase on-campus bicycle infrastructure. Learning from the success on Forsyth, the University is continuing to build out bicycle infrastructure on other parts of its campuses. Notable achievements are visible along Big Bend Boulevard, which was renovated to include a separated bike and pedestrian sidewalk. Other bicycle facility upgrades on the Danforth inner campus are coming soon. These are just a few examples of the major recent advancements that have benefited bikers and generally enhanced mobility at WashU.
The East End Transformation design also had a significant impact on our Bike Friendly University application and improved designation. The plan, which is now under construction, prioritizes connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists by enhancing network connections and the addition of bicycle facilities (covered racks, showers, and wayfinding). Coupled with a reduction in the projected parking demand, these measures signal an acknowledgement in adopting a diverse set of sustainable mobility options for WashU.
This award represents the completion of a collaborative application process coordinated by the Office of Sustainability in partnership with Parking & Transportation Services, the Department of Facilities Planning & Management, the WashU Police Department, the School of Medicine, and other stakeholders. The BFU submission provided a forum to closely review the recommendations from the 2015 submission and was an opportunity to set ambitious goals for the future.
As the university continues to become more bicycle friendly, we will continue to lower the barrier of access to the surrounding communities for our students, improve the quality of the transportation options offered to staff, and lower our carbon footprint as an institution.
Bicycle-Friendly Beyond WashU
WashU’s Silver Bicycle Friendly University award recognizes both internal achievements and the university’s regional involvement with regards to bicycling. Through partnerships with Trailnet, Great Rivers Greenway, and the Bi-State Development Agency, we have used our resources to advance a number of regionally significant bike infrastructure projects including the construction of the Centennial Greenway through our campus, the upcoming Chouteau Greenway connecting Forest Park and the Arch Grounds, and a bike share program that is under review for the City of St. Louis. The Silver award serves to affirm the significance of our impact as we continue striving to elevate both WashU and St. Louis to act as models for the Midwest.
As a follow-up to our BFU submission, the League of American Bicyclists will send a feedback report focusing on areas of improvements to support WashU in its efforts to become (even more) bike friendly. This report will be broadly shared and serve as a basis for future discussions.
As the Danforth campus is currently facing a shortage of bike parking due to the recent changes in parking availability, the Office of Sustainability, Parking & Transportation Services, and the Department of Facilities Planning & Management are considering bike parking capacity a priority. Plans are underway to strategically increase bike parking options.
To apply or learn more about the free BFU program, visit the League online at www.bikeleague.org/university.