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UB Students Debut Buffalo Bike Share Proposal

The plan envisioned for bringing a bike share program to
Buffalo was presented by students from the University at Buffalo, School of
Architecture and Planning on Wednesday. Comprised of twenty undergraduates in
the Environmental Design program, the class has created a comprehensive
proposal for the unique program.

The class was under the direction of Dr. Alex Bitterman,
where environmental design students worked with a real world client. Dr.
Bitterman was approached by Creighton Randall of Buffalo CarShare with a
proposal to bring a bike share program to Buffalo.

While the presentation was only a basic summary of the over
200 page document, the overall idea of how the program would work was presented
thoroughly. The key point to remember is that this is only a proposal and it is
not set in stone. The final product may be exactly what was proposed or may
only utilize some of it.

The students worked in three research groups, the design and
branding group, the infrastructure group, and the social outreach group. Every
student was also a part of one of four additional administrative groups
including, editing, graphic design/layout, logistics, and the final
presentation group. They studied the best practices of other cities, documented
the existing conditions, and explored how to promote the program.

bike 2.png

The Bike

Social Bikes
(SoBi) of Brooklyn
has created a unique design for the future of bike share
programs. In traditional bike share programs, bicycles are rented and stored at
“smart kiosks,” where all the technology is located on the kiosk. The Sobi bike
turns the traditional model on its head with all the technology on the bike including,
a GPS tracking unit, integrated U-bolt lock, and a touch keypad. The innovative
design allows for the bikes to be locked anywhere within the designated
boundaries, rather than returning them to a kiosk.

Design and Branding

One of the
most challenging aspects of the proposal was formulating a meaningful name and
design. Ultimately, the class decided on Radial Bike Share for the name and orange
for the color. The name references one of Buffalo’s most distinguishable
features, Joseph Ellicott’s radial plan for the city. It was important not to
use the over-done and cliché themes like rust-belt, queen city, nickel city,


The design
group determined orange would be the best color for the bikes and branding
based on a color survey. Orange is one of the least used colors for branding in
Buffalo so it would stand out, while also drawing attention to the bikes.


The Infrastructure Report

A key
component of the proposal was studying what bicycle infrastructure already
existed and where there were opportunities to extend or implement new
infrastructure. Two to four students biked every bike lane, path, and trail in
the City of Buffalo. Along the way a survey was filled out to document the
existing conditions like the overall condition, the signage, and lighting.


With a
comprehensive look at bike infrastructure, the group was able to envision where
connections could be made to link the system and where to expand it. Below is a
map illustrating where the infrastructure group envisioned these new
connections and bike lanes.

bike 1.png

Social Outreach

Part of the
success of the proposal relies on the connections and partnerships created for
funding and promotions. The Social Outreach group made those connections and
researched what organizations will likely want to invest in the program. They
also looked into different ways to incentivize the program, like partnering
with businesses so that members can get special offers or discounts.


While this
is only a brief summary of how the class envisions the program, the full
document is available for purchase by going here. There is also an option to
preview a short section of the document.


The students in Dr. Bitterman’s class include:


Daniel Bapst


Jimmy Cai

Kate Flynn

Frank Futia

Benjamin Gembler



Eric Kenyon

Nate Kirsch


Raul Lugo

Samantha Neal


Mike Puma



Nina Rosser

Isaac Stevens

Matthew Wattles

Final Image courtesy of David Torke, fixbuffalo


Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

View All Articles by WCPerspective
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