SGA working with professor on plan for city-wide bike lanes

Biking to and from campus may no longer be so difficult, thanks to the collaboration of Sam Houston State University’s Student Government Association and an environmental modeling class this semester.

SGA and Samuel Adu-Prah, assistant professor for geographical Information systems and environmental modeling, are working together this semester to plan the creation of bike paths around Huntsville and on campus. Adu-Prah’s class is giving a helping hand by planning the location of potential routes.

“The goal is to create as many bike-friendly lanes in Huntsville as possible,” external affairs chief Tyler Livzey said.

According to Livzey, however, the process to reach the anticipated goal is complicated.

“The size of the roads is a large issue, we need to make sure the roads are wide enough,” Livzey said. “Who owns which road will determine how we are able to change the road. Some are owned by the state, others by the university and others by the city. Making sure we have a cost effective solution to this is very important as well. It can be very hard to convince a government to spend money when they don’t always see the direct benefit.”

Livesy said he feels that students will benefit immensely from the potential realization of new bike lanes.

“There are so many advantages to having students bike to campus that it would be hard for a student to not take it positively,” Livzey said. “Whether it be more parking spots for students driving, students becoming healthier, a positive effect on the environment or less traffic, every student who comes to campus will be affected in a positive way by this in some form or fashion.”

Junior bike enthusiast Maddie Mortimore agrees with Livzey, and says that new bike lanes would also provide a sense of safety during her commute.

“I find it safer cycling here than back home (England) as people aren’t as used to seeing bikes on the road, so they leave a lot of room between me and them,” Mortimore said. “That being said, in some cases I catch cars off guard and have experienced a few close calls. The bike lanes would lessen the frequency of these types of incidents.”

The Houstonian reported a cycling student was hit by a vehicle on campus last year.

The idea of multiple new bike paths was originally thought of as a solution to the limited parking around campus.

“Making the university and the city more bike friendly had been a desire among several of us for quite some time,” Livzey said. “The parking issue only strengthened [our idea] to make it easier for students to commute to campus in ways other than by vehicles.”

As of right now, no specific locations have been discussed and a timeline for project completion has not been addressed. SGA does, however, have support from the university.

“There has already been a wide amount of support shown from the faculty and staff here at Sam Houston State University,” Livzey said. “It is clear that this is something the students and faculty here at Sam want and would benefit greatly from. We just have to hope that the city is as on board with this as [SHSU has] been. I am confident they will be.”

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