SG Committee Meeting: Is UNF Bike-Share Ready?

Emily Echevarria, Government Reporter

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On Friday Sept. 27, the University and Student Affairs Committee met to discuss possible topics for future Osprey Voice surveys. 

The USA Committee gauges student opinion about issues on campus with brief surveys called Osprey Voices, conducted multiple times a semester, and with more in-depth questionnaires entitled Round Tables, held once a semester on a broader topic integral to campus life. 

The USA Committee heard from Ashley Ballard, the Senior Director for Recreation and Wellness on campus, to discuss her proposal for the next Osprey Voice. Her idea centers on a mobility share program coming to UNF, specifically through the company VeoRide. While the idea is still in its early stages, it involves either electric scooters or bikes that students can rent to get around campus.

Many details still need to be fleshed out, like how much the program would cost and potential geographic boundaries. For example, the idea of allowing students to be able to take a bike or scooter off campus, to places like the Town Center, was toyed with.  

Before looking further into the idea of bringing VeoShare to campus, the Osprey Voice would gauge whether students would actually be interested in the program. Questions on the survey would potentially include “How often would you utilize a bike-share program?” and “Would you be willing to pay a user fee to utilize the program?” 

The USA Committee, while intrigued by the idea of the program, was also a bit skeptical. The problem lied in VeoShare’s marketing. While it is advertised as a sustainable and healthy mode of transportation, senators on the committee were a bit hesitant to go all in.

VeoShare’s proposal for UNF included only electric bikes and scooters, which require little to no physical effort from users, making its label as a “healthy” alternative less plausible. Senators were also concerned with the details on just how sustainable and eco-friendly the program would be.

Further, UNF is not known for being bicycle or scooter friendly. We’ve all seen the “Stroll it, Don’t roll it,” signs around campus. We’ve all noticed the lack of bike lanes. Bringing a bike share program to campus may not be as easy or appealing as it seems. 

Based on these concerns, the USA Committee tabled discussion on the matter in order to further investigate the implications of the program. Roads may need to be changed for the safety of users, the sustainability of the program warrants further investigation, and costs of the program need to be discussed further. 

The proposal comes amidst concerns about parking and transportation on campus. With students struggling to find parking near their classes, or to find parking at all, a bike share program may alleviate problems by helping students get to class faster. 

The USA Committee will continue looking into the program and discussing its potential as a topic for the next Osprey Voice. Spinnaker will keep you updated as the matter progresses. 

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