Tuesday, Associated Student Government (ASG) voted against implementing a plan to add new bike lanes to Spring Street. In a move that placed parking priorities over that of supporting alternative means of transportation, ASG’s decision defeated a green movement that had already won the support of Miami University Parking Services. Despite this noble effort to “green” Oxford, the editorial board of The Miami Student believes that the actual logistics of the plan would have proved too ineffective when placed against the trade-off of lost parking spaces. However, in agreeing with ASG’s decision, this board believes that a modification to the original plan should be studied-one in which a bike lane is only placed on the campus sections of Spring Street, while leaving the off-campus sections of the street for parking.
In a decision that at first glance can be attributed to internal ASG politics, examining the proposal leads to some real conflicts with student parking around the university and in Oxford. Obviously, ASG representatives would want to vote against any bill that would reduce the supply of student concern number one: parking spots.
Whether students live in College Suites or five minutes off of campus, this seems to be one of the most contentious issues at the university. The silliness of such complaints seems to decline, however, when off-campus concerns are examined. Sources inside ASG argue that the overall design would have placed an alternating, bike-car-car-bike lane pattern on Spring Street. Such a design would have eliminated all parking on the north side of the street (since there exists no parking on the south side of Spring Street) and would have made living in a house on that street very difficult.
Those off-campus parking spots are invaluable to those who live in houses with several roommates and need to bring their cars to Miami. These problems, however, are non-existent in the on-campus zone of Spring Street. Since the street is an under-five minute walk from the Goggin parking lot, this change in parking location would add little to no inconvenience.
Moreover, bikes should have a safe place on the streets of campus because their existence on sidewalks presents a dangerous obstacle for pedestrians-be it the student running between classes or the family from out-of-town visiting their child’s residence hall.
By redesigning the ASG legislation to present an only on-campus solution, this board believes that an effective compromise can be reached where the busiest sidewalks are freed from the increase in the number of bikers that surveys show will appear if bike lanes are introduced.