MCLA kick starts bike share program
Helmets ready, bike chains greased, as students at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts gear up for new way to get around town. Our Brandon Walker took one of the college's new bikes out for a spin and has more on the campus' Bike Share Program.
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Certainly, there's nothing new about rushing to class, getting there on a bicycle. But, in a way, for students at MCLA, access to those bikes just got a lot easier.
"It was awesome. I felt like a kid again," said Jennifer Jean Baptiste, a sophomore, as she took a spin around campus. Her ride, courtesy of MCLA's new Bike Share Program.
"I live three hours away. I'm from Revere, Massachusetts, so definitely have bikes on campus is really awesome."
"I'd say this is several years in the making. This year in particular, we did a lot of work in the fall and the spring was the launching of the program, so the bulk of the program happened over the course of this year," said Jason Brown, junior, bike share organizer.
But the idea had been around for over four years.
Two groups wanted a bike share, on one end to provide transportation to students on service learning projects. The other, environmental groups looking for better ways to get around campus and the city.
"It's so much more efficient, it's healthy for you and it's a nice enjoyable thing to do," said Daniel W. Celentano, senior, bike share organizer. "I found it difficult to find a place to lock my bike. I didn't think the campus was a bicycle friendly as it could have been."
So, students did their homework, checking out programs at other campuses. From there, they needed money, which is where administration came in.
"We went to campus departments like my own and asked if the department would contribute money from our college budget to get to get this process started," said James Stakenas, Vice President of Administration and Finance.
Seven departments participated, purchasing seven bikes for the pilot program. Each is on loan through the library and at high demand.
"It's actually getting pretty difficult to get a bike. You have to get there early," said Jason Brown.
The official rolling out of the program will be this weekend with a community bike ride through the streets of downtown North Adams.
For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/#!/mclabikeshareprogram.