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.

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!

next week is gonna be a busy one

19 02 2010

Since I’ve been recovering from a slight (read: annoying) cold, I haven’t had much time to spend on my data analysis–something I was hoping to do this week.  Next week, I’ve got lots of things going on and to be honest, I’m much more productive that way.  I’ve got three exciting meetings planned next week, one with LT and CJ to discuss the Campus Area Bike Ride we have planned for Green Week.  The major concern I have is liability.  ER has to give the go ahead and I’m concerned he’s not going to be fully supportive.  We’ll also be talking about the best ways to get students to sign up and how we’re going to promote the event.

On Wednesday, I have a meeting with AG-K to also talk about the event’s promotion, printing, design etc.  I’m also going to be talking with her about how I can get one of her interns a bit more involved in the project–if she/he’s interested.  I’d like to do some reaching out to the local bike shops and that’s one thing I could use an extra set of hands for.  Also, if they’re interested in designing posters etc.  I hope they’ll have the time to put towards helping me out.

The other meeting scheduled is on Thursday with CW, CJ, and AG-K (and possibly EL of Student Affairs).  We’ll be discussing policy recommendations and hopefully hashing out a clear plan to propose to Dr. A to implement in the summer.  We’ll also discuss developing literature that may be useful to hand out during the Transportation Tuesday of Green Week (the day of our ride–3/30).  I’d also like to talk with them about how they see this blog/website functioning within Pratt’s web system.  I’m not sure how possible it is to integrate them but, I’ve established something real here and I think it would be a waste to not figure out how we can begin combining efforts with the Pratt IT team.

Besides the planning the agendas for the meetings, I will also be working on survey analysis, answering interview questions for the awesome blog of former Pratt student, Vanessa Marie Robinson , and writing an article for the GCPE newsletter.  In addition to that, I’d also like to begin planning out and organizing how I’d like to formally present my capstone which will be given in a few short months (ahhh!).  I’ve also been asked by the landscape architecture firm working on Pratt’s master plan to provide some information to them regarding Pratt’s bike culture.

Like I said, next week is gonna be a busy one…

design jam notes are (finally) posted

2 02 2010

I have finally posted the notes from the Design Jam, held Nov. 12, 2009.  There are many reasons it took so long to get these notes transcribed and uploaded and I fear that the time it took to present the information, people may have lost interest.  I sincerely hope not.  I know that I lost a lot of motivation towards the end of the fall semester – I felt very lost with the project.  Not knowing what direction to take it in and the best way to move forward.  I think I’ve regained my footing and I hope to be working much more closely with the office of Student Affairs.

To reflect, the Design Jam was created to bring all stakeholder groups together to discuss the ways in which we (as a whole) could improve the campus community and address the issues surrounding cycling and alternative transit modes in and around campus.  The purpose was to gather feedback on the best was to affect change on campus and figure out what (as a group) can be done to facilitate change?  What do people see are the possibilities for improving the bike infrastructure, programming and policies on the Pratt campus?

It has been my observations, in the short while I have been at Pratt, that too often decisions are made and changes to campus policies are put into place without a clear indication as to how and why those policies were created.  There may in fact be clear, valid reasons for creating such policies however, when the directly impacts the community’s (students, staff, faculty, neighbors) relationship to the campus, I believe those reasons should at least be presented and accessible.  An example of this would be the skateboard policy, which is someone controversial (no skateboards or Rollerblades on campus).  Another example is gate closures (though this was addressed by a committee as many community members spoke up about the issues).  The design jam was designed to challenge this method of addressing campus issues behind closed doors and to present a new platform for addressing the concerns.  By opening the dialog, a more productive conversation can take place and people become thoughtfully engaged in bettering their community.

The goals of the Jam were threefold: to understand the opportunities and constraints are so we are able to explore the potential solutions for addressing bikes on the Pratt campus, to gather creative and collaborative input and integrate the needs of all stakeholder groups and, to establish clear lines of communication for better, more effective collaboration.

The outcome would be a set of ideas that will help inform the recommendations to Pratt’s senior administration.

For a quick link to the notes, click here.

Please leave comments as your feedback (particularly those who participated in the event) is needed to help create the most effective set of recommendations.

campus area bike ride

28 01 2010

For Pratt’s “Green Week”, I’d like to organize a bike ride with the help of NYPIRG, and Student Affairs.  It’ll be great to get new and skilled riders out there together, checking out some local spots around Pratt.  Word on the street is, Pratt’s president has always wanted to have a Pratt bike ride.  Seems like this is the perfect opportunity.  I will certainly need the assistance of SGA and the Student Affairs office to get this to happen smoothly.

Right now, it looks like the ride will be held April 1st, after my advisor, CJ, completes his bike workshop and TA gives helmets away to students. A great way to welcome the Spring weather…

We’ll need a couple of people to support the riders, and we should be sure there is at least one bike pump and a few spare tubes and I’m sure Pratt will need students to fill out some waiver.

So here’s what I need help with: Where should we ride? The ride can’t be too long, should be on a safe route, and must start and finish at Pratt Brooklyn. This is so students that are new to riding in New York can feel confident completing the ride and getting themselves home. I don’t want to leave anyone stranded. Anyone have any suggestions? I was going to try to add a wordpress “poll” on this topic but I can’t figure it out  so for now, let me know your thoughts but submitting a comment. I need suggestions asap…