In an attempt to support sustainable transportation, the University of Maine installed four new bike repair stations on campus in early October.
The new stations — four-foot-tall metal cylinders with dangling cables — are located near Fogler Library, the New Balance Recreation Center, the Maine Bound Adventure Center and the Sawyer Environmental Research Center. According to Daniel Dixon, director of sustainability at UMaine and member of the Professional Employees Advisory Council (PEAC), the locations of the repair stations were chosen deliberately.
“The locations were primarily chosen based upon existing high bicycle traffic areas. We also wanted to have them covering as much of the campus as possible,” Dixon said.
The project was a joint venture financed by Student Government and the Professional Employees Advisory Council, a group that exists “to encourage, facilitate and contribute to collegiality among professional staff, administration, and the larger campus community,” according to its website. The Maine Bound Adventure Center and Office of Sustainability also provided support for the project and monitors the condition of the stations, according to a UMaine news release.
Initially beginning with an idea from a member at Maine Bound, the project quickly garnered the attention of the PEAC, who then sought out other funding sources for the expensive stations.
“Student Government and PEAC were both quick to step up [to contribute funding],” Dixon said.
UMaine’s Office of Sustainability — an organization “committed to working with all UMaine constituents to reduce the environmental footprint of the campus,” according to its website — also advocated for the project. In the past, the office has been involved in similar initiatives to promote sustainable transportation on campus.
Among the initiatives listed on the organization’s website is the Campus Carpool program. The program establishes designated parking spots for commuter vehicles and connects people traveling to campus from the same areas so they can travel together.
To apply for a carpool permit for a vehicle, students can go to GoMaine.org, the state-run commuter transportation website.
UMaine also promotes the use of electric-powered vehicles on campus through the Electrical Vehicle Pilot Program. According to the program’s website, individuals can apply for a special “EV” permit and obtain a reservation to park their vehicles in designated spots around campus.
There are seven charging stations for electrical vehicles on campus.
These initiatives indicate UMaine’s significant investment in sustainable modes of transportation, and among the most popular and widely-used modes is the bike.
Nearly every residence hall and academic building has a bike rack in close proximity. At the end of every academic year, the University of Maine Police Department collects abandoned bicycles from around campus and stores them behind its station. As of late September 2018, there were more than 70 bikes in the collection in various conditions — from disrepair to like new.
Students can utilize the new repair stations free of charge at any time of the day. For more information on sustainability projects at UMaine, you can visit the Office of Sustainability website at umaine.edu/sustainability.