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University gives $400 bike vouchers to those who pledge not to drive to school

New University of Kentucky program asks people not to drive to school for two years

The University of Kentucky is trying to help the environment and ease its campus parking crunch by offering a $400 bike voucher to those who pledge not to drive to school for two years.

The program, launched this summer, allows students, faculty and staff who live off campus to register for a $400 bicycle voucher in lieu of the right to park their cars on campus.

Vouchers are available for up to 100 applicants, and those participating revoke their campus parking privileges for two years.

While the deadline to apply is the end of August, initial interest is strong, a campus official said.

“We have already seen an overwhelmingly positive response from the campus community,” UK Parking Services’ Chrissie Tune told The College Fix in an email. “Since priority is given to individuals who have had a parking permit for the past year, the program will by its very nature reduce the volume of cars on campus by at least 100 motor vehicles.”

Tune said the program is funded by UK Parking and Transportation Services, rather than a grant from the federal government.

Vouchers can be used to buy bicycles or related gear at three local bike shops.

The motivation for the program is both spatially and environmentally driven, according to Tune. Findings in UK’s recent Transportation Master Plan detailed that the demand for vehicle parking was too great.

“The largest motivation for the bike voucher program was to reduce the number of motor vehicles on campus,” Tune noted. “As our enrollment and employment numbers continue to grow, it is simply not feasible for everyone to arrive in single occupancy vehicles.”

Tune also said the bike voucher program will have longterm environmental benefits for UK by helping to reduce emissions.

A similar program exists for students who live on campus, called Big Blue Cycles. One hundred and sixty free bikes are available for the entire school year to students who sign a commitment that they will not drive their cars into Lexington, the city in which the campus is located.

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Kate Hardiman -- University of Notre Dame

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