A common problem at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is the availability of transportation. Students must commute to their classes, which can be located on five campuses consisting of College Avenue, Busch, Livingston, Cook, and Douglass. As a student without access to a car, I heavily rely on my bicycle. However, due to New Brunswick’s limited biking lanes, I have difficulties commuting to both my work at Rutgers Gardens and between campuses. Safety, limited paths, unclear and inefficient routes deter me, and many other students, from biking in New Brunswick. Biking provides an environmentally friendly mode of transportation along with physical and fun activity for the whole community and should be a common initiative in many towns and cities. If Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, implemented more biking lanes and wider paths, the community, the health of residents, and the congested buses would all improve.
Many students complain about the congested buses and New Brunswick traffic. Traffic and crowded buses is a common stress for students and professors. This stress can be alleviated with an enhanced New Brunswick biking plan because it would expand transportation options. Personally, I would choose biking over squishing and squeezing onto the bus for my 5:15pm class on College Avenue from Douglass, but I also worry about my safety on the congested and narrow shared-use paths. And although the university has initiatives, such as BikeRU, New Brunswick simply does not provide sufficient bike lanes. BikeRU provides bike programs such as, bike rental called RUDOTS, and the bike exchange. These programs are beneficial and help students gain access to bikes, however the larger problem is implementation and the access to bike routes.
Below the Rutgers Bike Map depicts the current routes for biking on Cook and Douglass Campus. The routes between campuses and transportation are limited and inefficient. The shared use paths are popular on the Cook/Douglass Campus, but the roads, especially in temperamental weather, are too congested for safe biking. Many of the streets highlighted on this map have consistent traffic and are not wide enough for biking to be appealing to the students. Instead, students flock towards the overcrowded buses, ensuing the common fight and struggle to get on a bus at certain stops, notably College Hall on Douglass Campus.
Compared to Rutgers’ bike map, at the nearby university, Princeton University, the campus incorporates a wider array of bike paths and walkways for the students. As seen below, Princeton University campus map provides clear routes, paths, and bike racks. Additionally, personally, I have biked on the paths at Princeton and can attest to the convenience of a truly bike-friendly campus.
Although there have been recent improvements of New Brunswick bike paths, there are still areas that need improvement, specifically bike routes from Cook/Douglas to College Avenue. A September article in the “The Daily Targum” states that New Brunswick is considering constructing a bike lane from College Avenue campus to Douglass campus via Neilson Street. This would be a large step towards a more bike-friendly community. Moreover, stated in the New Brunswick Master Plan, it “supports the creation of improved bicycle circulation between the College Avenue and Cook/Douglass Campuses. The provision of improved bicycle circulation in a corridor linking the New Brunswick campuses of Rutgers University should be pursued.” Fortunately, the community and municipalities are aware of the biking options and areas that need improvement, but now students, residents, and bikers must unite and encourage safer, more accessible bike transportation in New Brunswick. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and New Brunswick can help provide for a more sustainable, healthier city through planning for more efficient, safer bike routes.