Tulane, city consider bike lanes

Mina Kaji, Staff Reporter

Tulane freshman Carrie DiGregorio brought a bike to campus because she was told it was one of the most convenient forms of transportation at Tulane. 

She does not use it frequently, however, out of fear of hitting pedestrians on her way to class.

“It’s more of a pain to use my bike than to walk to class,” DiGregorio said. “I only use it when I need to get off campus.” 

Currently, all cyclists must sign an agreement that they will obey the Tulane University Police Department’s “Bicycle Rules and Regulations.” This document highlights the importance of cyclists following the speed limit, traveling with the directional flow of traffic and yielding to pedestrians.

Some cyclists, however, do not follow these rules.

“I was hit by a bike in the Academic Quad,” freshman Ally Bagley said. “He was behind me and ended up tipping over on his bike.”

The lack of coordination between pedestrians and cyclists has lead to calls for bike lanes on campus.

Undergraduate Student Government’s Student Safety Committee first brought up the issue of campus bike lanes last spring. USG President Morgan Wittenberg’s chief of staff, Michael Schwartz, is currently talking with other universities to try and gauge the feasibility of bike lanes on campus. 

“He’s doing very preliminary research right now,” Wittenberg said. “Depending on the student interest we could potentially start working on it within the Student Safety Committee when he is finished.”

There is currently no timetable in place for when a decision will be made. If Schwartz’s research is positive and there is a strong student backing, only then would it be written as legislation and brought to the Tulane Senate.

Many students already have a strong opinion on the matter.

“Bike lanes would be helpful because it is hard to tell which way a biker is going and vice versa,” Bagley said. “Getting run into is not fun for either party.”

New Orleans officials are also currently debating the topic of bike lanes. Officials are considering whether they should replace an auto lane with a bicycle lane on Baronne Street in the Central Business District.

Proponents for the bike lane explained that this bike lane could connect the Central Business District with other bike lanes planned for Uptown. This could allow for safer bike travel from Uptown to downtown.

City officials held a community meeting Sept. 17 to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of adding a bike lane from Canal Street to Julia Street on Baronne Street. All businesses and residents were welcome to attend.

In the Department of Public Works memo, GCR Inc., a consulting firm in New Orleans, predicted the impacts of the proposed bike lane. 

They predicted the increased travel time would be less than 2 minutes during peak hours of traffic and that the bike lane would reduce traffic crashes by 29 percent. 

The DPW allowed comments to be emailed through Sept. 19. It will announce its technical recommendation within the next 30 days.