Utah State University’s Aggie Blue Bikes — ABB — received notice July 29 that it is the recipient of an $89,660 federal grant to do a full bike shop remodel. The remodel will open more internal shop space for additional work benches, student tool boards and bicycle storage. The grant is funded through federal monies from the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds, also known as CMAQ, which is awarded through the Federal Highway Administration for air quality nonattainment communities, according to ABB program coordinator Stephanie Tomlin.
The organization overseeing the distribution of the funds is the Cache Metropolitan Planning Organization (CMPO).
The ABB CMAQ proposal was submitted mid-April, along with four other grant proposals, and has been voted on and approved by various committees since that time. In mid-June the application received a favorable vote from the CMPO and on Friday, July 19, the Utah Transportation Commission echoed that favorable vote, Tomlin said.
The $89,660 grant will enable ABB to re-design the floor plan of the shop, opening up more space for additional mechanic benches and student benches, allowing a greater shop capacity for USU community members. The grant also facilitates the installation of a roof on the west side of the existing storage shed to allow additional on-site storage. Finally, the grant will enable ABB to install a credit card reader and update program software that will streamline the check-out process, Tomlin said.
The staff at ABB is pleased with the funding.
"With the new, refreshed look, ABB will appeal to everyone, from the novice cyclist learning to patch a tube to those looking for a reliable form of transportation," said ABB Katie Harker.
With increased shop and storage space, ABB will be able to serve a greater amount of the USU community, ultimately leading to more bicycle use on campus and a reduction of vehicle related air pollutants, Tomlin said.
“The demand for our three-month rentals far exceeds our supply right now," she said. “One of ABB’s biggest obstacles up to this point has been dealing with our small amount of useable space. We could help so many more people if we had the space to do it. This shop remodel will give us the ability to increase our shop operations, helping more people at the student tool boards and getting more Blue Bikes out to students.
ABB continues to advocate cycling as a viable form of transportation at USU and throughout Cache Valley. By removing the barriers to cycling, ABB strives to get more people on more bikes and more often, Tomlin said. That helps reduce vehicle miles traveled by USU community members.
In 2012 ABB checked out more than 600 three-month rental bikes, 900 24-hour rentals and helped 3,000 USU community members with their personal bikes.
Contact: Stephanie Tomlin, Aggie Blue Bikes Program coordinator (office), (435) 797-8139, firstname.lastname@example.org