MacEwan Bikes group supports a two-wheeled commute to campus
By Kimberley Howard, executive director, MacEwan International
Cycling is the best way to start and end my work day, and my helmeted head is usually accompanied by a cyclist’s grin.
I’ve been commuting by bike to MacEwan—at least during the fairer months—for over a decade now and I’m encouraged by the changes I’ve noticed over the years. There are many more of us, and I’m often not the only cyclist at an intersection anymore. I have seen an increase in year-round cycling and admire those who brave the cold, dark and snow as “fat bikes” and winter cycling becomes more popular.
MacEwan Bikes, a grassroots group on campus for those who support bike commuting, started earlier this year. With close to 60 members (or in bike terms, almost 120 wheels), we meet to discuss ways to improve the biking experience at MacEwan, share biking stories and socialize at events, like the “Bike to Work Breakfast” during Environment Week in June. I’m proud to be part of a group committed to cycling and invite those who are considering commuting by bike to attend a MacEwan Bikes meetings.
Together with the Office of Sustainability, members of MacEwan Bikes provided the university with input on everything from routes to parking to security. Building on the feedback received, the Office of Sustainability is working with Facilities and Transportation Services to create a campus cycling plan that “encourages active transportation, enhances safety and inspires well-being.”
Ultimately, the goal is to prioritize cycling and pedestrian movement through campus and make it a delightful experience. The Strategic Campus Sustainability Plan, approved by the Board of Governors earlier this year, has a goal to “create a bicycle-friendly campus that is connected to the larger municipal transportation plan.” I’ve appreciated the integrated and consultative approach MacEwan takes; to me, it’s proof that MacEwan takes prioritizing cycling culture and sustainability seriously.
Most of MacEwan’s bike traffic is from the south and the west areas of the city, and when the downtown Edmonton bike grid opened earlier this summer, it added more than seven kilometres of bike-friendly commuting to the city’s core. This is great news for downtown cyclists, and MacEwan is part of the ongoing conversation with the city to ensure that our university is an integrated connector as the grid expands. It will require flexibility and creativity, but that’s a perfect challenge for an engaged, sustainable university at the heart of the city.
If you’d like to be part of the MacEwan Bikes community, please contact Theresa Agnew at email@example.com or 780-497-5366.
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