November 28, 2016

Ball State University students, faculty, staff and other community members are invited to attend an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Cardinal Hall Suite C (second floor) to discuss plans for bicycle improvements on campus.

In April, the Board of Trustees accepted a new Campus Master Plan — the university’s first comprehensive plan update in more than 20 years. The Campus Master Plan articulates the need to establish a stronger system for bicyclists on campus.

“A key component toward creating a more sustainable campus is encouraging cycling,” said Jim Lowe, associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Management. “Bicycle commuting and circulation are important contributors to reducing the negative impacts from automobile trips and parking, including impervious surfaces, emissions and the heat island effect.

“Throughout all prior planning efforts, we have heard from the Ball State community a need to pay closer attention to our bicycle infrastructure, and the time is right for us to make key upgrades.”

Building from the Campus Master Plan, Ball State is now completing a separate Bicycle Master Plan, which examines potential bike routes, proposed phasing and key physical improvements to campus. The plan will also consider how these efforts on campus will tie into citywide initiatives. In 2016, the city of Muncie was designated a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

Rundell Ernstberger Associates, an Indianapolis firm that provides urban design, landscape architecture, planning and civil engineering services, is leading the Bicycle Master Plan process. The firm has a long history of university bicycle plans, including recently completed plans for the campuses of Indiana University Bloomington and Purdue University (West Lafayette).

The open house will give the Ball State community a chance to share opinions and provide input on bike routes through campus, bike parking needs and other improvements necessary for safer bike travel. Part of the plan will also examine the potential for implementing a bike sharing program — something that will build from prior efforts led by the Student Government Association (SGA).

“Our intent through this process is not only to identify long-term strategies but also note short-term physical improvements we can make immediately to improve our circulation on campus,” said Lowe. “This might include striping bike lanes on some streets or looking at improvements to the Cow Path.

“But we need to understand the big picture first and craft a more comprehensive strategy for how we upgrade our systems. To do this properly, we need input from our students, faculty and staff as well as the greater Muncie community.”