Featured Students: Kory Northrup & Briana Orr
ENVS master’s student Kory Northrop and Environmental Studies undergraduate Briana Orr are making a difference in bicycle advocacy, education and planning. This year, their efforts have helped bring bicycle transportation issues into focus at a local and national scale.
Largely due to Briana Orr’s efforts, the University of Oregon received a Silver-level Bike Friendly University award from the League of American Bicyclists. UO was one of 20 universities across the country to be recognized, with Stanford University taking the only platinum-level award. The Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bicycle-friendly campus for students, staff and visitors. Briana, along with UO Bike Program coordinator Ted Sweeney, researched and wrote the application.
Briana also wrote and received a 17k grant from the Associated Students of University of Oregon for bicycle infrastructure improvements identified in the 1991 Campus Bike Plan. Briana’s proposal will create a premier bicycling network on campus. The grant will help install bicycle path signage and safety pavement markings for cyclists, and the UO Bike Program will perform outreach and education around the new bicycle infrastructure features.
“When I think about making a street comfortable and enjoyable for people, I instantaneously begin to imagine all of the conversations and interactions that will take place,” says Briana. “Designing the framework for interactions is what gets me excited about transportation.”
Kory Northrop agrees. “To me, and many advocates in the field, a true bicycle-friendly city is one in which a family with small children could safely and comfortably traverse the streets to accomplish all of the tasks required to live their lives whether it’s getting groceries, going to school, seeing a film, or just taking a joyride,” says Kory.
Kory is passionate about data visualization and about bicycle transportation. This year, he created a map graphic that has appeared in local and national bicycle media, including the League of American Bicyclists and We Bike Eugene websites. Bicycle Commuting Trends in the United States creates a tool for bicycle advocates that is both clean and informative. It pulls together data in a visual format, painting a different picture than would be gained by looking at individual data sets.
Kory hopes that tools like this one will help inform the people who are making decisions about bicycle transportation. “I think that we need to be reaching out to the public and the decision makers at the same time,” he says. “It’s important for both of these groups to know about the benefits of bicycling. It’s important for us, as a country, to start getting serious about bicycling as a legitimate mode of transportation. If we want to move away from automobiles and our oil dependency, making big investments in bicycle infrastructure is lucrative and efficient.”
Read about other Environmental Studies Program students and faculty members here.