Covered Bike Racks

Summary: In the spring of 2012, the Green EDGE Fund allocated $5,000 for the construction and installation of a covered bike rack prototype as designed by Steve Varelmann, College Architect. In the spring of 2013, the Green EDGE Fund allocated $25,000 for the purchase and installation of 5 additional covered bike racks of a slightly modified design to be placed in high-usage locations. As of spring 2015, these covered bike racks have been installed directly south of French House, south of Langston (North) Hall, south of Zechiel Hall, and south of Dascomb Hall.

Background premise: When one looks around the Oberlin College campus, it is clear that many people here use bikes as a mode of transportation. Prior to this project, the only covered bike racks on campus were next to Mudd Library. Covered bike racks protect bikes and reduce the need for repairs and replacement parts from bikes falling apart from weathering. The Green EDGE Fund pursued the provision of new covered bike racks because it is part of a comprehensive effort to improve bicycle-related infrastructure on campus and therefore promote the use of bicycle transportation.

Oberlin College Architect Steve Varelmann designed the first prototype, which was temporarily installed in front of the Science Center on W. Lorain St to test the design and receive feedback in 2012. The design features modular frames of metal supports and cover panels that can be scaled to the capacity needs of various locations. The Green EDGE Fund approved the design of the prototype and approved the scaling up of the project to award funds for 5 additional covered bike rack units to be installed in high-usage locations. The prototype in front of the center was removed and will be installed in a location of higher usage by bicyclists.

Cost-benefit estimation: The Green EDGE Fund allocated a sustainability grant of $5,000 for the prototype bike rack in 2012 and then $25,000 for 5 additional covered bike racks in 2013. Senior class and alumni gifts to the EDGE Fund cover half of the total project costs of $30,000. This project provides a clear and tangible addition to the sustainable benefit for the college, but the benefit of improved bike infrastructure cannot be measured in monetary terms.

Additional benefits: The covered bike racks are designed to be aesthetically pleasing and the Green EDGE Fund hopes they will enhance the overall appearance of campus.
Covered bike rack located at the south entrance to Dascomb Residence and Dining Hall on south campus.
Covered bike rack located at the south entrance to Zechiel Residence Hall on north campus.