Occidental College marked Earth Day 2010 by announcing the launch of two new transportation alternatives for the campus community - a student-run Bike Share program and, beginning this fall, participation in the rapidly growing Zipcar car-sharing program.
Beginning April 23, students, faculty and staff can walk up to the checkout desk at Clapp Library and check out a bike and safety equipment for up to 24 hours, - almost like checking out a book. On June 1, all Occidental community members 18 years and older will be able to join Zipcar at www.zipcar.com/oxy and this fall use one of two Zipcars to be based on the Occidental campus.
"The recent campus visit of Oxy alumna Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City's remarkable transportation commissioner, demonstrated how we can be creative in promoting alternative transportation and walkable, bikeable streets," said Mark Vallianatos, policy director of Occidental's Urban & Environmental Policy Institute and a member of the college's Sustainability Committee.
"Bike Share and Zip Car are two creative, convenient, economical and environmentally friendly alternatives to owning a car," Vallianatos said.
The result of student initiative at Occidental, the Bike Share program was launched with 10 bicycles that were either abandoned on campus or donated by alumni. A locker inside the library contains helmets, lights for night riding, and other safety equipment for use by riders. The share bikes, which are maintained by students, are kept in a locked rack in front of the library.
As the world's largest car sharing and car club service, Cambridge, Mass.-based Zipcar is an alternative to traditional car rental and car ownership. Zipcars are available 70 U.S. cities, many of them on college and university campuses, as well as in Toronto, Vancouver and London.
The bicycle and car-sharing programs are the latest in a series of new green initiatives at Occidental, including the creation of a student garden, a student Sustainability House, and the creation of a Green Fund to raise money among alumni for green initiatives.