Charleston bike path heard about at Student Senate


Analicia Haynes

Student Body President Luke Young swears in five new senators during the Student Senate meeting Wednesday night. During the meeting, senators were asked to give their feedback on a comprehensive bike plan that involves creating a bike path through campus.

Analicia Haynes, Managing Editor

The Student Senate was asked to give feedback on a comprehensive bike plan for Charleston at its Wednesday meeting.

Steve Pamperin, the city planner for Charleston, presented the plan to the Student Senate, which consisted of creating a bike path that will pass through campus and connect to a route that leads to Sister City Park, the Lake Charleston Trails and eventually beyond Lake Charleston.

Currently, the city has been working on paving a bike path that travels between Mattoon and Charleston.

The path, which is a rock trail, replaced old train tracks that have not been in use for several years and runs along the Lincoln Prairie Grass Trail.

“The whole thought is, I know a lot of students are from Chicago or traveling Amtrak and the thought is get on your bike at home, get on the Amtrak, get off at Mattoon station and ride all the way to campus and ride back really not even needing a car…you can go back and forth without having any trouble,” Pamperin said.

However, he said although the city has a great path on the North side of Charleston that is a work in progress and the Charleston Trails on the South side of town, he said they have not done a good job trying to find a path that is “kind of in the middle.”

“How do we get through town and how do we get around Charleston to make it more bike friendly,” he said.

Pamperin said the purpose of the bike path is to encourage students and “folks in town” to use bikes more often and eventually be designated as a bike friendly community.

Pamperin said one of the big pieces that is needed to reach that goal is deciding what an appropriate bike network through campus would be.

“We’re trying to get some feedback, we’re trying to get some input from the students on where you guys think an appropriate bike network through campus would be and once we do that we can start connecting the dots and put all this together,” Pamperin said. “We’re just trying to get people who…might want to be part of the process.”

Student Body President Luke Young said he is familiar with the current bike trails around Lake Charleston and said the student government university enhancement committee will help provide recommendations for Pamperin.

“(Derek Pierce, the student body vice president) and I are both tour guides (for the campus) so we know the campus fairly well so we’ll work with the university enhancement (committee) on giving you our best recommendation for the route,” Young said.

Pamperin said some things to be careful of when recommending a route is to consider pedestrians who may also be sharing the route and avoid conflict in that area.

“The sooner we can get that ball rolling, the better,” Pamperin said in regards to finding feedback. “Before the semester is out, I’d like to really get some feedback and get an idea on what to do through campus.”

The Student Senate also appointed five new senators.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]