final report (read: i’m done!)

11 05 2010

There is still so much to write about but I’ve done enough writing for now.  The final report has been submitted to the Vice President of Student Affairs at Pratt and soon I’ll be sending it out to others.   Feel free to take a look at my findings and final recommendations.  If you’re bored, like my brother was, you’re even welcome to read the whole thing.  Comments are always appreciated.

–>  Campus Area Biking Final Report <–


new map

24 03 2010

Find the nearest rack on campus

I’ve put together a map of all the bike rack locations on Pratt’s Brooklyn campus.  For new students arriving to Pratt, this could be an incredibly useful tool.  The hope is that it would also encourage the use of racks, rather than illegally parking the racks to sign posts and fences.  Hopefully over the years, there will be more highlighted circles added to the map noting new racks!

For now, I’m impressed with the work the Pratt has done with adding more racks to needed locations.  There were 70 new racks added by the Design Studios with the redesign of the Grand Walk and 48 racks were added by the Engineering building this past summer.  I’d like to take credit for such improvements but I can’t.  Pratt stepped it up.

Next, it would be my hope that they improve the rack infrastructure by the dorms (more racks—maybe some that are covered) and maybe more importantly, by Higgins Hall.  An increase in capacity as well as a more efficient design is critical!  Hope the map is useful!

coming soon…

23 03 2010
  1. policy documents
  2. maps
  3. posts of blogs i’ve recently been interviewed for
  4. new blog features
  5. and an outline of my final thesis presentation and paper.

I’m beginning to feel the fire under my feet.  It is time for me to start pulling this whole project together and start whipping up my final formal recommendations–as well as documentation of all that has been accomplished to date as well as the things that we could not get done.  Final presentation will be May 7th.  What time?  I’m not totally sure of but it’ll be posted on the “events” page.

I’m starting to feel my creative energy coming through with this project and hopefully I’ll have something really beautiful put together.

Wow–I have a lot to do

policy documents

16 03 2010

We got word back from both Pratt’s security office as well as CK who manages student policy violations/disciplinary actions and were able to clarify the current bike policies on campus.  It is still surprising to me that there is no clear document that states what the policies are and how they are executed and we are finally able to put something like this together.  It’s all about the baby steps.

I’m currently working on the design so we can get it out to print in time for Green Week and then I will post all of the information on the site.  I will then try and have the Office of Student Affairs as well as the Security Office update their websites with the completed document with all of the necessary action.  Oh yeah–and I have to make a map of all the bike racks on campus.  That shouldn’t take too long but I do need to carve out the time to get that done.  Hopefully there will be some nice weather in the coming weeks so I can go do some field surveys and documentation.

I’m also hoping to draft up an email to the Prez to try and arrange for a meeting.  I’d still like to swing the campus area bike ride for later in the year (maybe even set it up for next fall if we can’t do it in time for my graduation) and that way I know this project won’t just stop once I leave Pratt.

In addition to the letter to the Prez, I’ve now got to start bringing all of the work I’ve done over the past year together and start design my final document.  I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want it structured and still have no set ideas however I’m using the work I did with the Office of Long Term Planning as well as their PlaNYC document as inspiration for what it could be.

I’ve got a lot of work to get done in the next month or so and I have no time to slack.

check it…

10 03 2010

Google Maps for bikes!

the good

5 03 2010

Right now, there is a lot of confusion regarding Pratt’s bike policies–Example:  In a printed student handbook, it says that you can not ride a bike on campus however as EL explained, that statement is incorrect.  This policy doesn’t actually exist.

On the Pratt website, if you’re looking for policies on bikes, good luck finding them easily.  It took a couple of searches and deep down on Security’s page, there is a blurb about biking and a couple of good/useful links   (check it out here).  If you go through other campus websites such as Columbia, or US Davis, you can easily find clear and concise policy information.  There is no grey area when it comes to their policies.

That is why I have been working with some key people (AG-K from NYPIRG, CW from SGA, my advisor CJ and EL with Student Affairs) to clarifying the current campus bike policies.  Once we have a clear understanding of the current policy, we can modify, add policies that are more effective and beneficial to everyone.  We’ve put together a draft and we’re planning to send it off to the Security Office so they can fill in the blanks (literally) to the policy.


Abandoned Bike Policy

If a bike is continuously parked in the same place for two weeks without being moved, Security considers it abandoned. If a bike is deemed abandoned, a tag with a timestamped warning will be attached to the bike. If the bike is not relocated to an appropriate bike rack within__________minutes/hours/days of being tagged, if will be removed and confiscated. In the process of removing and confiscating a bike, Security will, if necessary, cut and discard the lock, chain or security device. Pratt Institute is not responsible or liable in any manner for lost, stolen, or damaged bicycles, or for the replacement cost of locks, chains, or other security devices.

The black is what currently exists on the website, the red is the information that needs clarification.  These are simple modifications but they would greatly improve the current policy.

The goal is to have this information printed and available on Green Week’s “Transportation Tuesday” (see the events page for details). And I will also have the policy information posted on this site.  Eventually, we hope the Security Office will replace their existing text with what we’ve put together.  If that happens, it would be huge.  It would mean that we (those who attended the design jam and those who have provided significant input into this process) worked with the administration to provide students with accurate, useful, and transparent policy information.  That is what I would call “collaborative planning” and at Pratt–that would be a Campus Area Biking success!

the bad

5 03 2010

I’ve decided not to do the ride.  I actually feel  at peace with my decision and this is why:

First, I know the chances are slim, but I would like to avoid being sued.  TA gave me a a sample liability form however, should (by the unlikely chance) something horrible happen, I might be removed from liability but would need be required to pay any legal costs.  At this point in my life, I’m not willing to take that risk.  What’s problematic with this is that the university, an Institute with insurance and the means to fight a lawsuit would rather I fight that battle rather than support their student.  If I wasn’t made fully aware of the risks by the people supporting me with this project, I would have blindly taken that chance–and Pratt would have happily stood back.  I never want to be in a situation where I feel unsupported in the work I am doing for that person or that organization.

The second reason I’ve accepted my decision is this– I can go for a ride with my friends anytime.  The point of this ride was to do something for the Pratt Community with the full support of Pratt’s administration.  I could have tried to get a third party to host the ride and take on the liability, but that means Pratt benefits from it all and, if something happens, they can wash their hands of it entirely.  For a ski trip, that makes sense but for a community bike ride–to me, it makes no sense at all.  Unfortunately, I didn’t receive the support I needed from those who have the power to approve the work I’m doing because they weren’t convinced that it was a risk worth taking.  I need to work a harder to prove to Pratt’s administration that this is important not only to me and the students, but it is important for the Institute itself.  It is clear I haven’t been successful in this yet and I have two more months to work a little harder at that.

My next step is to try and meet with Dr. Schutte (I’m much better working with people in person).  I don’t know how likely it will be to arrange for a meeting and honestly, it might not be a good idea to go above ER but–I have nothing to lose with this one–no one can sue me in this situation.  I have heard (though I haven’t confirmed) that Dr. Schutte (Pratt’s president) has wanted to organize and lead a bike ride with the students but for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened.  If I meet with him, I hope to speak with him about the walls that I’ve come up against and ask how he thinks we can work around the “liability concerns”.  More importantly, I can talk with him about how important this project, Campus Area Biking, is to fulfilling the commitments he has made (on behalf of the Institute) to Mayor Bloomberg’s sustainability initiatives.  I hold firm that without this project, Pratt will only make small steps to achieving its stated sustainability goals.  Maybe then we can have an end of the year ride or something–you never know.