I am pleased to announce that the Green Initiative Funding Tomorrow (GIFT) Grant will be fully funding three grants that Sustained Mobility, a subcommittee of Green Grounds, has written. Sustained Mobility, formerly called Parking and Transportation, has worked hard these past few weeks to come up with ideas for sustainable transportation programs to bring to UVa. We have drawn much inspiration from the Charlottesville Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan, since the fourth chapter contains Network and Facility Recommendations. Other grant ideas have been drawn from previous years where GIFT has funded projects. So, what are the projects? I’m pleased to announce this year’s projects that Sustained Mobility will carry out!
Time for round 2, Biking 101 Workshop!
With the huge success of our Biking 101 Workshop, we applied for a GIFT Grant to continue funding the workshop. (If you know of any other funding possibilities that will allow us to offer the workshop for subsequent years, please let us know! We are looking for funding options aside from GIFT Grant, such as the Parents Fund, which can continue funding the workshop.) I’ve already talked a bit about the workshop, but I wanted mention a few points we emphasized in writing the grant. Compared t o last year’s grant, we realized that the workshop is more suited to smaller class sizes, and the money we requested reflected just that. With smaller class sizes, the instructors can provide more effective feedback to participants during the drill section of the workshop and answer more individual questions. We also made sure to include a better feedback mechanism, since GIFT requires a measurable outcome. Rather than having participants fill out an online survey after the workshop, we figure providing a paper survey immediately after the workshop is over will improve user response.
GIFT will be funding two workshops, similar to last year, and they will be taught by Bike UVA and UVa Department of Parking and Transportation instructors, both certified by the League of American Bicyclists. One will be sometime in March 2016 and the other will be late September 2016. Like Green Grounds on Facebook to keep up with the news!
More Fix-It stations around Grounds!
That’s right! GIFT will be funding two new Dero Fix-It stations outside of North Grounds Recreation and the Aquatic and Fitness Center. When the original writer of the GIFT Grants that funded the first Fix-It station outside of Clark, he recognized the potential to expand the project to other locations, including gyms. Since then, there are Fix-It stations outside OHill Dining Hall, A School, and Student Health in addition to the one at Clark. We are now expanding the program to the gyms, especially since many students who live at Hereford, Gooch-Dillard, or any of the North Grounds housing locations have inadequate access to bike maintenance tools despite owning a bike.
Welcome, stair channel!
What’s a stair channel, you ask? Take a look below at this beauty!
The purpose of a stair channel is to allow the user the ease of wheeling their bike up a set of stairs rather than picking their bike up. Very cool, right? That’s s certainly what we thought! While the stair channel will not exactly look like the concrete one above, it will serve the same purpose. (Ours will be metal.) One consideration for installing stair channels in America, at least, is that the stair channel cannot violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA requires adequate access to a handrail at all times. Therefore, we cannot install a very thick stair channel or one that is designed for strollers/prams as well (see below) since there’s a liability of someone slipping on the rail closer to the center.
Where will the stair channel go? After much deliberation, we decided to have a stair channel installed at the staircase connecting Emmett Street (Route 29) and Newcomb Plaza (right by location 37, the UVa Bookstore, on the map below). We figured that the location is very visible, compared to other locations we initially proposed, and have seen bikers carrying their bikes up this massive flight of stairs. (Poor bikers!) Our project’s education component will include appropriate signage that illustrates to users how to use the stair channel. We also intend to have a QR code on the signage that will link users to a feedback survey, with questions like “How easy was the stair channel to use?” and “Where would you like to see a stair channel in the future?” We hope this project can be expanded upon in the future to other stair channels!
We had a few other creative ideas for GIFT Grant projects (possible future blog post!?) but ultimately decided to focus our time and resources on these three. We’ve very happy with the success we’ve had with GIFT Grant projects in the past and hope to continue the wonderful legacy!