Chapter 6: Implementation Strategies
The value of the recommendations presented in previous chapters hinges on the University’s ability to coordinate staff and resources to implement this Plan. Improving the culture of bicycling at UNC-CH cannot be accomplished by one staff person or through a one-time initiative, it will require coordinated and sustained support from a range of staff, University administrators, students and the broader community. UNC-CH has already taken steps to improve bicycle conditions and programs on campus. This chapter provides a framework that will enable the University to keep the progress going and to intensify its efforts.
The framework presented here focuses on the staffing and oversight that is needed to accomplish the physical, program and policy recommendations of this Plan. It also includes recommendations related to data collection, which will help UNC-CH track progress toward Plan implementation and changes in bicycling behavior. This type of evaluation will help UNC-CH understand what infrastructure, programs and policies have the most positive impact on the bicycling environment and help guide future investments. Finally, it provides a series of examples of how peer universities have funded their bicycling initiatives.
Cost estimates, priorities, the level of difficulty and parties responsible for implementation of all of the recommendations in this Plan are included in tables in Appendix F.
Integrate Bicycles into all Routine Campus Planning Efforts
In order to achieve the vision and goals of this Plan, bicycling must be fully integrated into University planning efforts in the same way that pedestrian and motor vehicle planning has been in the past. This includes all aspects of planning: master planning, evaluation of project scopes and project review.
Designate a Bicycle Coordinator
The role of a bicycle coordinator is to coordinate efforts from throughout the institution to create a more bicycle-friendly environment on campus. This coordinating role is critical to the implementation of this Plan, because there is no central coordination of efforts on campus bicycling. The top bicycle-friendly universities in the country—Stanford, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Portland State—all have a full-time bicycle coordinator on staff. Many other universities designate a portion of a staff member’s time to bicycle planning, often someone who shares responsibility for pedestrian planning. This position is sometimes the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) coordinator or another staff member in a university’s transportation office. Bicycle programming and monitoring the implementation of bicycle infrastructure are written into that person’s job description and usually requires anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of their time.
It is recommended that UNC-CH designate one or multiple staff members who will be responsible for the implementation of this Plan and the coordination of staff across multiple departments. This position(s) may be part- or full-time and should be reevaluated over time to ensure that the staffing approach matches needs.
It is likely that the planning and project management functions will be the responsibility of a staff member in Facilities Planning. The long range planner and technical planner within the DPS should continue to perform project review with an understanding of the need to incorporate bicycle accommodations. Programs relating to encouragement, enforcement and education will likely be managed through of the CAP and other parts of DPS. Having a TDM assistant as CAP did in summer 2013 could be very helpful for this strategy.
Continue Work of the Campus Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Committee
Successful bicycle friendly universities have a bicycle advisory committee that meets to discuss bike issues on campus. It is recommended that the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Committee be the official advisory body that oversees implementation of this Bike Plan, taking the place of the bicycle steering committee that served during plan development. The PBSC should continue to serve an advisory role, track progress over time and address high-level issues that may arise.
Convene Staff Working Group on Bicycle Plan Implementation
The implementation of the Plan can be led by a bicycle coordinator, but support from staff throughout the University will also be essential. It is recommended that UNC-CH form a working group or committee consisting of university administrators, or their representatives, who are involved in decision-making for the type of physical, policy or programmatic changes recommended in this Plan. This group should meet regularly to receive updates on the progress of the Plan and to facilitate coordination between various staff and departments. While the PBSC (discussed above) would play an advisory role in plan implementation, this staff working group would be designed to problem solve and collaborate on any specific challenges that come up over time.
Include Bicycle Plan Implementation Progress in Biannual Campus Sustainability Report
This biannual report will detail progress in implementing the infrastructure, policies and programs recommended in this plan. It should be presented to applicable campus committees and stakeholders (Advisory Committee on Transportation, PBSC, staff working group and student bicycle organizations) and also posted on the UNC-CH bicycle website. The report can help keep up momentum for the University in moving toward a greater level of bicycle friendliness.
Conduct and Publicize Annual Bicycle Counts
Counts are already conducted biennially for the Town-required Development Plan Transportation Impact Analysis, but a yearly count and report can help more closely track bicycle traffic trends. Counts should be conducted according to the guidelines of the National Pedestrian and Bicycle Documentation Project. 1 This recommendation creates the opportunity to involve student volunteers from applicable academic departments such as City and Regional Planning, Geography, Sociology and Public Health.
Peer University Funding Examples
UNC-Greensboro uses a portion of their student transportation fee to fund bike programming, ride share and fare-free transit options. They also receive funding in the university budget allocation. There is no standard amount set aside annually, but Parking Operations & Campus Access Management Department maintains a “wish list” of capital projects. They receive $5,000 to $50,000 annually and report having had greater success with funding since being designated a Bicycle Friendly University in 2010. 2
UNC-Asheville (UNC-A) uses a portion of the student campus recreation fee to fund operations of its on-campus bike shop. The Assistant Director for Outdoor Programs oversees shop operations. 3 The shop has some income through bike rentals, but maintenance is provided to UNC-A affiliates for free.
University of Montana (UM) funds bicycle programs—parking installation, education, light giveaways and four Bicycle Ambassadors—through a student-initiated transportation fee of $33.50 per semester. 4 Students voted in this fee and created the Associated Students of UM Office of Transportation to help decrease daily visitor automobile trips. Bicycle programs cost $21,000 in FY 2012 and represented 2% of total spending by the Office of Transportation.
The University of Oregon has funded a bike share program through the Student Affairs budget and a grant from the Associated Students of the University of Oregon, the campus student government. 5
Students at the University of California Santa Barbara formed a bicycle coalition in 1998 that currently has an annual budget of roughly $100,000. 6 The coalition successfully campaigned for a student fee of $1.25 per quarter which is matched by the University. Of this funding, $5,000 is allocated annually for public awareness activities with the balance allocated exclusively to capital improvements.
Other campuses in the University of California (UC) system mostly fund bicycle programs and infrastructure through parking and transportation revenues. UC Berkeley’s Campus Bicycle Committee is allocated $10,000 annually in the Parking and Transportation budget to be spent on any program or infrastructure. Parking and Transportation departments in the UC system are self-funded departments.
UNC-CH Funding Options
There are a variety of possibilities for University funding of bicycle improvements. The planning staff in the DPS should work to identify potential funding sources and maintain a prioritized list of bicycle improvements and their associated cost estimates. This will position the staff to propose improvements as either “stand-alone” projects or ones that can be made as a part of a larger project, such as the development of a new campus building.
Additionally, there are a number of student fees that may be able to be utilized for infrastructure or programs: the Student Transit Fee, Safety & Security Fee, Campus Recreation Services Fee, or an expanded Renewable Energy Fee to cover a range of projects to improve environmental sustainability. Attendees of the October Bike Plan open house were asked to vote on these various fee options, and the most popular option was using a portion of the Student Transit Fee, garnering 75% of votes. 7
Unlike the UC system, UNC campuses do not have the option of allocating any parking or traffic fine revenues to bicycle infrastructure or programming. These monies are statutorily obligated to fund public schools in North Carolina through the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund as outlined in Article IX, Sec. 7 of the North Carolina Constitution. 8 Parking permit revenues are not similarly restricted.
Continued Partnership with Town and NCDOT
The Town of Chapel Hill and NCDOT are likely partners to fund bicycle infrastructure as most roads on campus are maintained by them. The Town applies for infrastructure funding to the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization and to NCDOT. Federal funding for bicycle infrastructure would be accessed through applications in partnership with the Town.
NCDOT, the Town and the University coordinate road maintenance projects on a regular basis. Coordination of these maintenance projects may offer opportunities to implement some projects included with the Plan.
2 Correspondence with Suzanne Williams, Associate Director for Campus Access Management, 1 July 2013.
7 Full results of the open house voting are available in Appendix A.