Marquette Student Government has agreed to allocate $25,000 from the Reserve Fund to establish a Bublr Bikes station on Marquette’s campus. This is an exciting prospect that can potentially bridge the Marquette community to many opportunities offered across the city of Milwaukee.
This venture poses a new method of sustainable transportation that is otherwise inaccessible to students without bikes. While a Bublr Bike station on campus fosters partnership and collaboration, it is premature in its practicality. Beyond installing a station, Marquette and Bublr Bikes will need to collaborate on growing Bublr’s existing station network in a way that will benefit students if they expect students to use the bikes.
It is anticipated that students will use Bublr bikes to run errands conveniently. This is ideal for students who want to grab a few groceries or pick up a prescription across town, but the station closest to a Pick ‘n Save is located at Humboldt Street and Commerce Avenue, which is five miles round trip. The station is 16 minutes away by bike, meaning you would need at least an hour with the bike if you expect to have enough time to bike there, get groceries and bike back. Paying $3 for 30 minutes seems less enticing now.
Bublr offers a 30-day Bublr Pass that costs $15 a month. This pass allows for unlimited 60-minute rides, which would be more practical for students who are looking to save money, but if time is of greater cost, which it is for many students, taking the bus or carpooling with a friend to run errands may be a more sensible option.
Furthermore, the Humboldt Street and Commerce Avenue stop is a great way for students to get some exercise, but once Milwaukee’s harsh winter hits, students will not be inclined to bike more than 30 minutes to get groceries.
It would be in Marquette’s best interest to work with Bublr to expand its network of bike stations to locations that prove beneficial to the student body and Milwaukee residents alike. Given that campus sits in the middle of a food desert, a location in Milwaukee that is closer to a grocery store and nearer to Marquette is of great interest for students and the community.
Milwaukee is underdeveloped when it comes to being a bike-friendly city. Sure, there are bike lanes, but they are sparse considering the drivers who are not mindful of the lanes or the bike riders inhabiting them. While there are certain individuals comfortable riding under existing conditions, new users may not be, especially if they have little experience riding in the city, let alone next to cars. Experienced or not, students who plan to travel the city on Bublr bikes must be wary that just because there is a bike lane, does not mean they own the road.
The collaboration of Marquette and Bublr Bikes best exemplifies how any sort of endeavor has to start somewhere. Although the initial plan is not perfect, it does illustrate where and how Marquette and Bublr Bikes need to progress after installing the station. This will not be a one-day transformation. Once the station has been installed, Bublr Bikes and Marquette will need to continue working together to expand Bublr Bikes in surrounding parts of the city that benefit Marquette students and the surrounding Milwaukee community alike. It will most likely take months for students to use Bublr bikes comfortably, especially given that winter is rapidly approaching.