WATS
Western Active Transportation Society

About

WATS is a multidisciplinary group of faculty, staff, and students at Western University who are passionate about researching and promoting safe cycling and walking as a means of transportation. Much of our current infrastructure both on campus and off is focussed on cars, and while we understand that cycling and walking is not for everybody (and not for every day), we believe that important and significant benefits will be found by better supporting active transportation. Cycling and walking is fun, and research clearly shows that it is good for body, brain, society, and environment.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed on this website, on our twitter account, and in email communications are purely our own, and do not reflect the official view of Western University.

Bike to work day (27th of May)

Monday, May 27th, is Bike-to-work-day. So, ditch the car for the day, dust off that bike, and join us for some two-wheeled fun!

In the morning, join other bike-to-workers in your neighbourhood for a friendly, communal ride to campus:

All rides will converge on campus and meet on Kent drive in front of University Hall. We will have coffee ready there from 9am - 9:45am.

At 4:45pm, we will meet again in front of University Hall to do a short crtical-mass ride around campus and head over to Gibbons park. We will end the day with a family picnic at the Pavillon in Gibbons park from 5pm-7p. It’s a potluck picnic, so bring some food to share, and bring your own blanket (BYOB). And invite family and friends!

Twitter contest: From May 21st to May 27th we are asking active commuters to tweet (tagging the WATS account @WATS_UWO and #activewestern) with funny/interesting pics of their commute. The winner will get a $100 gift certificate from the London Bicycle Café. Ben and I will announce the winner at the picnic. So get your phones ready and send pics.

Not working on campus? Heading to work earlier? Also check out the Bike-to-work activities from London Cycle Link .

Specific Goals and Projects

University Bridge

University Bridge

The current closure of the University Bridge has dramatically reduced traffic in many areas of the campus. The closure has encouraged many people to walk or cycle to campus, made commuting safer and more pleasant, and has changed the whole experience of entering campus from the east. We anticipate that many people have noticed the positive change; and aim to measure the impact through further research. We believe that it makes sense both from an economic and transportation planning standpoint to keep the bridge permanently closed to cars - provided the closure is embedded in a larger plan that prevents negative impact on bus traffic and congestions in other areas.

Sheltered and Secure Bike Parking

Bike Parking

Covered and secure bike parking (here seen at Maastricht University) in immediate proximity to every University building. Current bike racks are not broadly accepted, as they leave the bike exposed to theft, as well as rain and snow. This forces people to either store their bikes within university buildings (against regulations, and not a practical option for students), or not to bike at all. We are currently talking with the University about a proposal to build enclosed and sheltered bike parking structures on campus that are only accessible with Western ID cards, which should dramatically decrease the risk of bike thefts.

Pay-per-Use Parking Permits

Campus Parking

Current parking permits are designed for people who drive to campus every day - the discount of a parking permit over daily rates exceeds 80%. Thus, an individual, who for practical reasons has to drive one day a week, but chooses other forms of transportation for the other four, currently pays as much as somebody who commutes by car every day. This is an active disincentive for those wanting to explore alternative forms of transportation. We therefore advocate the introduction of a pay-per-use permit, which should be the cheaper option when parking fewer than half the working days on campus. Introducing a pay-per-use system will encourage people to choose alternative transportation options more often, and will ultimately free up precious campus area.

Improved Bicycle Network and Winter Maintenance

Winter

We welcome the new Open Space Strategy of our University. The focus on pedestrians and introduction of bike lanes on the remaining campus roads are steps in the right direction. Because the devil is in the details, however, we would like to serve as a consulting partner for Facilities Management to help get things right, and to advocate for clear standards and guidelines for access throughout the year. If you have concerns regarding Pedestrian or Bicycle infrastructure, or experience lack of winter maintenance for active transportation (see photo!), please cc us on your email to Facilities Management, so we can help address shortcomings.

Beyond Campus

Winter

Western, Sarnia, and Richmond road are in desperate need of improved cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, if we want to make commuting to campus both safe and pleasant. Specifically, the bike corridor between Brecia College and Alumni Hall needs to be made safer for bikes and pedestrians alike. More broadly, we believe Western University should be a catalyst helping to make LondON a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly city.

Contact

Questions, concerns, comments? We'd love to hear from you! Please email us at wats@uwo.ca.

If you want to support active transportation at Western, please become a member of WATS! We need you! Simply email us at owner-watsall@uwo.ca with your full name and email, so you can receive our weekly newsletter. Then come to one of our regular meetings, every other Thursday 4pm-5pm at the Grad Club and meet your fellow WATSers!

As a member, you can also send bike-related message to all other 120+ members at watsup@uwo.ca. If you want to receive the newsletter without any other messages, simply email owner-watsup@uwo.ca with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Follow us on Twitter:

Core members

Jörn Diedrichsen
Brain and Mind Institute
Coordinating and cleaning up the mess afterwards

Dan Lizotte
Epidemiology & Computer Science
Good decisions <- Evidence + Values

Marco A.M. Prado
Molecular Medicine
Lord of Tweets

Susanne Schmid
Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
Providing Swabian sensibility

Eric Arts
Microbiology and Immunology
Making things go viral

Jason Gilliland
Geography
Doing the actual science

Lars Konermann
Chemistry

Jacqueline K. Kueper
Epidemiology
Graduate student liaison

Joy Cameron
King's College
Western affiliates

Chris de Groot
Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Bike corridor from Brescia to Alumni Hall

Jason Gerhard
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Bike Parking

Brian Shilton
Biochemistry

Trevor Wade
Robarts Research Institute

Partners