By Mark Rosa
On Tuesday, Aggie Blue Bikes and the Student Sustainability Office hosted the Open Streets Festival on Aggie Boulevard to promote a sustainable healthy lifestyle by opening up the street to active transportation. At the event it was announced that Utah State University had won the 2015 National Bike Challenge for the college league.
“USU won against universities such as University of Wisconsin, University of Nebraska, BYU and Colorado State, which is an impressive feat,” said Alexi Lamm, the USU sustainability coordinator.
According to Lamm, the USU team won the challenge by biking more miles over more days than any other university in the country. About 220 USU cyclists rode more than 76,000 miles between May and September, burning more than 4,000,000 calories and saving 28,000 lbs of carbon dioxide.
“Our competitive advantage as a university is the number of Aggies on bicycles,” Lamm said. “That is an indicator we’re moving in the right direction. People are getting on bicycles, even if it’s just to ride one mile.”
The Open Streets Festival coincided with the Logan City Council public hearing to vote on Logan City Resolution 15-52, also known as the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan update. Immediately following the festival program organizers and volunteers biked together to city hall to participate in the vote.
Aggie Blue Bikes program coordinator Stephanie Tomlin said the resolution, which passed unanimously, will prioritize walking and cycling infrastructure and USU will undoubtedly see an increase in cyclist and pedestrian travel.
“This has huge implications for biking and walking in Logan,” Tomlin said. “It will continue to legitimize cycling and walking as a form of transportation and cycling as a sport.”
Aggie Blue Bikes and the Sustainability Office strive to facilitate a campus environment in which active transportation such as walking or cycling would be the chosen form of travel. These groups also encourage using environmentally friendly forms of motorized transportation when active transportation is not possible.
“We’re trying to show people all the options for using a street. Sometimes that’s going to be carpooling or taking a bus, bicycling, skateboarding or walking,” Lamm said. “We’re kind of trying to celebrate what a street can be for everybody.”