Lisa Solomon is the senior business analyst for Parking and Transportation Services (PTS). In her three years with the University she was been involved with a variety of initiatives focused on sustainable transportation such as alternative-fuel vehicles, buses, vanpools, and bikes. She has been working on a bike share program since Mary Sue Coleman brought the idea to the department in 2011.
U-M works with the local community to provide faculty, staff, and students transportation options – such as free rides on AAATA routes through the M-Ride Program. “Parking and Transportation likes to encourage and support options,” stated Solomon. Her U-M master’s degree in urban planning an a background as a planner in the private sector help guide her in working with the community and U-M faculty, staff, and students.
As one of those options, Parking and Transportation Services worked with the City of Ann Arbor, The Ride and Downtown Development Authority to bring a $600,000 federal CMAQ grant to the Ann Arbor area to help establish a bike share program. Bike share programs have been successful in many cities around the country including locations such as Madison, Wisconsin and Denver, Colorado. ArborBike rolls out in September with 10 of 14 planned bike stations throughout downtown Ann Arbor and campus (including North Campus!). The final four stations will be installed in the spring. The program will be managed by local non-profit Clean Energy Coalition. As title sponsor and collaborator, University of Michigan will contribute $200,000 annually towards operating costs. Bike share programs are great for individuals looking for an alternative to the crowded bus ride from north to central campus, for staff members going from building to building for meetings, or for anyone looking to grab a quick lunch downtown from campus. They are designed for quick trips from location to location, with 30 minute check-out times on the bikes.
“Sustainability suggests consciousness regarding impacts on the environment and society. For me this means being mindful of resources and personal impacts in both the present and future on the environment and society. While it is about actions like reducing waste or using less energy, an important piece is developing processes or ideas that lead to longer-term positive impacts or gains,” says Solomon. Like many of Parking and Transportation’s sustainable travel options, ArborBike has a great opportunity to lead to long-term positive impact. As more options are provided, more U-M faculty, staff, and students will have the opportunity to choose a sustainable commute that works for them.
Depending on her needs that day Lisa commutes to work by bike, bus, or car. These options help her be flexible for childcare needs and still make a sustainable commute whenever possible.