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Boca FAU Students: Get a Bicycle and Quit Whining

According to a Facebook group of whiny students, there is a parking problem at the FAU Boca Raton campus. Specifically, a car parking problem.

Fewer Than Five Miles From Campus? Get a Bike

Skip the car and bike to college. You'll be better for having done it.More than five, fewer than 15 miles? Get a nice bike.

This is Florida, not Minnesota. We don’t have four feet of snow on the ground for three months out of the year. Yeah, it’s hot, but the Florida Atlantic University campus has showers. Unlike Boulder, Colorado, there aren’t any uphill climbs on the way to the college. I doubt FAU’s Boca Raton campus is more than 20 feet above sea level. I know for a fact that the campus itself is flat because it was an Air Force base in World War II and many of the parking lots are old runways.

These are college students. They should be in relatively good shape able to bike five to ten miles. If they aren’t, well, a semester on the bicycle will help them get into better shape.

Parking at FAU Has Always Been Tough

When I was (briefly) a student at FAU in 1994-ish, students hated the parking situation. There was plenty of parking. In fact, most lots were more than half empty. The problem was the parking lots were former airplane landing strips and it wasn’t uncommon to have to walk a really long way to get from car to class.

I lived 22 miles north and was stuck driving a car. I envied the students who zipped right up to the front of the building where their class was held. No parking problem. No walking three-quarters of a mile. Just ride, hop and lock. Sweet.

Parking Garage Versus Bike Racks

A parking garage, the suggested solution, will cost a few million dollars at a time when the state university system is a billion or so dollars short. Bike racks, really nice covered bike racks or even bike lockers, would cost a tiny percentage of the cost of a parking garage.

Bike Parking in Aarhus Denmark, circa 1999.

As we can see in the above picture, 20 bicycles will fit in the space of one Cadillac Escalade.

You’re Skipping School? That’s Your Parking Protest?

You want to protest the lack of parking by simply not showing up to class? What does that accomplish? How is that type of protest sustainable? Are you just going to skip class until the parking problem is solved through expulsions? Good plan. Not.

If you really want to accomplish something, ride your bike to class. Instead of paying between $63 and $625 to park on campus, ride your bike. It’s free. No decal needed. (Motorcycles, too, require no parking decal.) If you live too far from campus to complete a bike-only commute, add in Tri-Rail and Palm-Tran.

Ryan Commutes By Bicycle in Palm Beach County

My buddy, Ryan, is in his late-20s and doesn’t own a car. I’m pretty sure he isn’t even licensed to drive. He managed to graduate from New College in Sarasota (Florida) while owning a bicycle. He managed to keep a job in Portland (Oregon) for two years on a bicycle. Now that he is back in Palm Beach County, he commutes to work on his Electra Townie.

If you need help planning your bike commute or want to whine about how you can’t commute by bicycle, please comment below.

—Matt

5 comments to Boca FAU Students: Get a Bicycle and Quit Whining

  • Velocentric

    Ah this article takes me back…
    I’m an FAU alum from 1982. Currently a bike commuter in Atlanta. I ride 20 miles a day rain or shine temps ranging from 102F to 17F. And the hills would kill a Fla cyclist! Also used to cycle commute in West Palm along Forest Hill and Australian blvd.
    “Get a bike you will not regret it if you live.” Twain

  • I’m currently looking for a good route for me to commute. The direct route is already 18 miles, but it takes me along a stretch of US98 that even the most intrepid commuter would stay away from. At one point, it is 5 lanes with one lane being traffic merging onto 98 from SR 540 and two lanes being exit lanes from 98 onto toll road 570. And there is no bike lane or path or anything there.

    I saw a guy riding it one day, but he made the mistake of taking the far right lane – the lane merging in from 540. He then had to cross two lanes of people leaving 98 for the toll road – doing 55-60mph. Not for me, especially since we are getting close to the foggy season in this area.

  • 10 miles one-way is a pretty hefty bike commute. However, I bet there’s plenty of parking within a few miles of the campus. A clever option would be a bike that fit inside one’s car; there are plenty of affordable folding bikes that fit in the trunk of a sedan.

  • Horace, we know of a county maintenance worker who bike commutes 50 miles a day.

    In six months, he put 6,000 miles on his bicycle.

    If you haven’t read his story, you should. I’ve only put 2,500 miles in the log book since January. That guy has the right attitude and, obviously, the right legs.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  • Palmtran has buses with bike racks with stops on campus and links to Tri-rail, which also carries bikes.

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