Kansas State University, located in Manhattan, has been designated as the first Bicycle Friendly University in Kansas by the League of American Bicyclists.
The University has received the bicycle organization's Bronze-Level Bicycle Friendly University award. In all, the league awarded or renewed bicycle-friendly status to 49 universities in 31 states this year, bringing the total of designated bicycle friendly universities and colleges to 127 in the nation (a list of all Bicycle Friendly Universities may be found here).
The Bicycle Friendly University program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bike-able campus for students, staff, and visitors. The program provides the road map and technical assistance to create great campuses for cycling.
"Being designated as a bike-friendly campus is something to be proud of," said Derek Jackson, Director of Kansas State University's Housing and Dining Services. "Students and staff are biking more and more for both transportation needs as well as for recreational wellness. Having infrastructure that supports biking is important to our campus and community."
Kansas State University encourages bicycling as an easy option for transportation and continues to improve the bicycle-friendly nature of campus as called for in the University's 2025 strategic plan.
According to Mark Taussig, Associate Director for Campus Planning who will serve as the University's contact for the Bicycle Friendly University program, some of the steps the University has taken to be more bike-friendly include: developing master plan guidelines and standards for pedestrians and bicyclists; improving lighting, especially at intersections and crosswalks; adding appropriate pavement markings at crosswalks, on streets and on sidewalks; creating 3.3 miles of shared pedestrian/bicycling paths around the campus; adding bike lanes and bike routes on city streets; and adding hundreds of new bike parking spaces on campus.
“Increased awareness and enforcement of pedestrian and bicycle regulations have been priorities, as well as realigning some key intersections for improved safety,” Taussig said. In addition, the university is taking out streets and replacing them with wide walkways, or “malls”, for pedestrians and bicyclists. One of the malls was built this year on a quarter-mile section of 17th Street on campus, with another mall planned in 2016 that will cover one-mile on Mid-Campus Drive.
Doug May, Transportation Planning Intern for the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization and master's student in Regional and Community Planning, spent several months collecting data and preparing the application for the Bicycle Friendly University designation.
"Using the knowledge and skills I learned in the planning program at K-State, and through my internship with the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization, I was able to prepare the comprehensive Bicycle Friendly University application," May said. "I'm looking forward to the future of K-State as it continues to grow and move even more toward a bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly environment."
With the designation, the university will have access to a variety of free tools and technical assistance from the League of American Bicyclists to become even more bicycle friendly.
To learn more about the multimodal efforts underway at Kansas State University, the surrounding community, or in the region, contact the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization at FHMPO@FlintHillsRegion.org or 855- 785-3472. To learn more about the Bicycle Friendly University program, visit bikeleague.org/BFA.