Thanks to a collaboration between the American University of Armenia (AUA) Eco Club, the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, and the University administration, AUA is happy to announce the installation of the first ever on-campus bicycle racks.
The racks were installed in early May 2013 in response to demands by the university community and to encourage eco-friendly transportation. Deciding on a location and design was a joint effort between students and AUA ACE. Students surveyed the perimeter of the building and recommended the most convenient and safe location. As there are no ready-made bicycle racks or companies that regularly make such racks in Armenia, the students reviewed international design standards regarding the height and distance of the racks. Alen Amirkhanian, director of the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, comments that “the effort is small but it shows an effective model of student activism to improve life on campus and, hopefully, the community at large. The receptiveness of the administration played a critical role. They supported the effort fully and procured the racks per our design recommendations.”
Amirkhanian believes that the movement toward using bicycles as a mode of transport in Yerevan shows signs of promise. “Although accommodations for bicycle transportation in Yerevan are currently limited, we need to start taking the important initial steps, like installing bike racks. We also need to start thinking about dedicated bike lanes and racks on buses.” He believes that that the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment can play a constructive role in encouraging eco-friendly transportation through research, pilot projects, and community outreach.
The design and the installation of the bike racks was the first part of the “AUA Bicycle and Recycle” initiative, aiming to make AUA a more eco-friendly campus. The next focus in the initiative will be the implementation of a campus-wide recycling program.