As fall classes at VCU start up, so does traffic around the campus. With about 30,000 students making their way back to class, you can expect to hear more horns near VCU streets. However, the school and the city of Richmond are working to ease the congestion.
VCU is launching a new project to help encourage students to take two wheels instead of four. By mid-September, the empty parking lot on Grace and Belvidere streets will be transformed into a cycling center for students, called the RamBikes Stand. The university's alternative transportation coordinator, Brantley Tyndall, says the school invested $100,000 to create the biking shop, instructional center and lounge for the young cycling community.
"The outside of the facility will have covered bike parking and a self repair stand…You can use it from tools that are provided dangling from cables," said Tyndall.
Tyndall says the bike center will promote pedaling to more students; and more bikers means less drivers. An estimated 15,000 VCU students regularly ride their bikes.
"Traffic is much more vibrant and bustling when school is in. So, it just picked up recently," added Tyndall, since classes began Thursday.
A steady flow of Twitter posts read of chagrins about gridlock near campus. That's why VCU freshman Matthew Morrison left his car with his parents.
"I think bikes are just so much more efficient, and I think they're a time-saver too," said Morrison.
Richmond City officials say they continually apply for state and federal grants to ease congestion around VCU. The city is currently spending nearly a million dollars for upgrades around campus streets. By the end of the year, eight intersections will have new traffic lights and new crosswalk signals. Officials say this will help reduce congestion and safety hazards.
VCU is also ranked as the most bike friendly university in Virginia, according to the League of American Bicyclists.
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