As the number of cyclists on Harvard’s campuses continues to grow, so too does the infrastructure to support them. New bike racks and repair stations are being set up, expanded bicycle benefits for commuters have been rolled out, and the University has made a major investment in the Hubway bike-sharing network by supporting the installation of 12 stations in Boston and Cambridge. The national advocacy organization League of American Bicyclists has recognized that progress by naming Harvard a silver-level Bicycle Friendly University.
“College campuses are natural places to integrate bicycling, and Harvard University recognizes the small steps needed to make bicycling a safe and easy option for students and staff,” said Andy Clarke, president of the league, which announced the award Monday. “Young people are driving less and riding more, and Harvard has embraced that trend.”
Harvard is the highest-ranked Bicycle Friendly University in New England and the Ivy League. The silver award recognizes Harvard’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in promotion, education programs, infrastructure, and supportive policies. The program was developed to influence how universities evaluate their efforts in sustainability, transportation options, and quality of life, while allowing administrators to benchmark their progress toward improving bicycle-friendliness on campus.
“Harvard is extremely proud to be recognized as a Bike Friendly University. While the work of our CommuterChoice team has been exceptional, our initiatives and programs are successful because of the complete support and enthusiasm of Harvard’s biking community,” said Lisa Hogarty, vice president for campus services. “Being named a Bike Friendly University highlights just how strongly students, faculty, and staff are committed to using alternative forms of transportation.”
Last year, 17 percent of commuters to Harvard’s Cambridge and Allston campuses used a bicycle as their primary means of transportation. Harvard also works collaboratively with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the city of Cambridge, the city of Boston, and other stakeholders on municipal bicycle planning initiatives, and helps to incorporate facilities and pedestrian enhancements into planning efforts in areas of Boston and Cambridge that affect the Harvard community.
“Our goal is to partner with Harvard’s Schools, departments and our community partners to make the University safer and more accommodating for bicyclists,” said Ben Hammer, CommuterChoice’s program coordinator. “Harvard’s strong support of bicycling makes the University stronger and helps our community explore alternatives to driving that are healthier and better for the environment.”
On the Longwood campus, the Harvard Longwood Bicyclists is a student and staff initiative that encourages the use of bikes to and from the Longwood Medical Area. The group is sponsoring a bike fair at the Quadrangle Promenade on May 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. On May 15, as part of Bay State Bike Week, the CommuterChoice program will host its annual bike-to-work appreciation breakfast. And on the evening of June 4, Harvard will host the Bay State Bike Bash at the Queens Head Pub.
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness, and transportation, and works through advocacy and education to encourage a bicycle-friendly America. The League has 300,000 members and affiliates.