Appendix B: Cycling Systems Description
4.4 System Boundaries
4.5 Cycling System Hierarchy
4.6 The Physical Components of the Cycling System
4.7 Purpose of the Cycling System
4.8 System Behaviour
The cycling system boundaries are the roadways and pathways utilized by the cyclists. The current physical environment includes the areas on and off campus. There are also limits to the boundaries due to physical and mental barriers (e.g. stairs, perceived safety on roadways). The cycling system impacts the surrounding environment in several ways. For example, cyclists on-campus influence the pedestrian system through accidents and traffic congestion on pathways. Another example of how the cycling systems effects the physical environment is the damage caused by improperly parked bicycles. These bicycles can block pedestrian walkways and create a safety hazard on stairways. However, the cycling system has a positive effect on the ecological environment by reducing the amount of automobiles driven to U W, thereby reducing the CO2 emmisions. The study will gather information on the cycling systems effect on the environment.
The hierarchy of the cycling system can be viewed from various levels. The varying levels sometimes cause conflicts between policies of different actors in the system. For example, UW may want to increase ridership among cyclists on campus by developing extensive bike paths, but, the Region of Waterloo may not follow suit making it difficult for commuters to reach the university safely. The actors in the cycling system must co-ordinate their efforts with all levels in the heirarchy to ensure an efficient and effective system.
The main components of the cycling system are the cyclists and the cycling routes they use to and from the campus (see Figure 4: The Component System ) Also important is the cycling infrastructure, it includes: bike racks, lighting, and showers. In addition, cycling related policies can be considered a component of the cycling system. The study will address the effectiveness of the current components and make recommendations for future improvement.
The current cycling system does not appear to have a common purpose or goal. Each actor in the system views the system differently and some of their views are contradictory. The policy on cycling has been subject to numerous rumours from the various actors (see Figure 2. The Cycling System). The main input in the cycling system comes from U W Administration in the form of policy. The outputs are generated by the other actors in the system in the form of data, reports, suggestions and comments. For the Plant Operations physical system (see Figure 3. The Physical System), internal policies regarding cycling are not consistent with todays cycling systems demands, as shown in the WATgreen project Bikeways. The bike racks are out-dated and inconvenient for current models of bikes. Even though winter cycling is growing, Plant Operations internal policy is to remove all possible bike racks during the winter. In addition, the bike racks that are left around the campus are ignored by the snow removal crews who bury them. The system study will identify inconsistences with regards to policy and provide suggestions on how the cycling system can be improved.
The cycling system is not currently managed as efficiently as required for our 'vision of sustainability' . The physical and mental barriers are a result of conflicting policies that need to be examined and changed. Some of these barriers may be impossible to eliminate while others may be drastically reduced. The main problem we expect to find will involve the political interactions between various actors that manipulate the system or influence decisions on policy to benefit only one actor's position. We believe the current system fails the cyclist by not providing the optimum riding environment. The study will attempt to address the shortcomings of the current system through a survey designed to examine the attitudes and perceived limitations of the cycling community. There are other barriers such as weather and people's fear of cycling. Unlike political issues however, the regions climate is a physical barrier which is beyond our control. In addition, some individuals may perceive cycling as unsafe. Although we can't force people to change their perceptions we can encourage infrastructural changes and educational programs which may help alleviate some of the barriers associated with safety.
Last Update April 18, 1997 jw