By: Steven Goodman – Opinions Editor
Rolling onto UD’s campus amidst the end-of-semester-madness, it’s possible you may have paid little attention to, or even missed, the DYTLink Bike Share stations being installed.
Provided by B-Cycle, a company that supplies the docking station and bicycles for bike share programs in 26 U.S. cities, Link Dayton Bike Share officially launched May 5, the opening day of The Square is Where, an annual entertainment event on Courthouse Square.
There are 24 Link stations throughout Dayton, five of which are on UD’s campus (including one on Brown Street). The locations were chosen based on what Laura Estandia, executive director of Bike Miami Valley, called “trip attractors.” Basically, the placement of the bikes was determined by the attractions in that area, ranging from restaurants to businesses.
“We also did a public survey,” Estandia told Flyer News during a phone interview. “A lot of public feedback went into station selection.”
Renting a bike requires a membership card, which can be purchased directly at the stations. Membership options are 24-hour, monthly, semester and yearly, varying in price from $5 to $65. This membership gives renters 30 minutes with bikes at a time. Once that time is up, the bike must be checked in at another station, where the time will reset. Otherwise, the user will be charged $2 if returned within one hour and $5 for every 30 minutes after that.
On UD’s campus, the five Link bike racks were selected based on “what stations might be the best fit for the student population,” according to Estandia. UD sponsored the five Link locations on campus, along with Bike Miami Valley, the City of Dayton and other project contributors.
When asked what the goals of bringing bike sharing to Dayton were, Estandia stressed that “[the bikes] reduce time sitting all day… allow you to get somewhere faster than walking while removing car trips…[result] in a more active and healthier community…and improve interconnectivity between the city and [surrounding] neighborhoods.”
Estandia also confirmed that “sustainability is a huge part” of bringing Link to Dayton, something UD made public promises about last year when President Dan Curran announced UD’s divestment in coal and fossil fuels and the Hanley Sustainability Institute was created. Signs at the campus bike stations direct users to learn more about these and UD’s other “green initiatives.”
“It’s good to see UD investing money into a program like this,” senior mechanical engineering major Bryan Kinch said. The bikes, he added, are a great way to reduce carbon emissions by “reduc[ing] short trip traveling for UD students, such as driving to a local store.”
Each student Flyer News spoke to agreed that the bike share program will further UD’s green initiatives. However, some students, like Nate Wren, a senior mechanical engineering student, are still on the fence about using Link. Wren cited cost as “a deterrent” to using the bikes.
Currently, the RecPlex has a limited number of “RecBikes” which students may rent at no cost, provided they are returned by sunset. Despite the cost difference, Estandia assured Flyer News there is no competitive nature to Link: “We see these programs as being complementary.” The Link bikes, Estandia continued, are available 24/7 and do not need to be returned to the station where they were picked up. Regardless, she said, all of the bikes “improve the vibrancy of our city.”
UD may have been quick to adopt the bikes, which share their color with the university’s “green initiatives,” but some students have pointed out they were unaware of their presence on campus until actually seeing a station.
“It’s a great idea…but I would like to see some more information about it,” Kinch said, mentioning that he wished he at least received an email about the new system. Although UD posted an image on its Instagram page, a picture of the tail end of a Link bike with a sign reading “our wheels are always turning,” UD did little else to advertise it.
Still in its infancy, Link Bike Share is an opportunity to make changes.
Senior computer science student, Ben Thompson, said he believes these bikes “can more closely integrate the non-campus and campus communities.”