Student Senate: Biking incentives prompt lengthy discussion

ZAP bill shot down by 1 vote

Story by Glen Olson, Staff Writer

After a long, and at certain points heated debate, Senate voted down a bill proposing the addition of a ZAP bicycling program in Monday’s meeting in a 14 to 13 vote.  


The program, which was a recommendation of the Comprehensive Bicycling and Pedestrian Plan, would have registered bikers and count the number of times they went on the bike routes on campus and register them for prizes.


Bikers would have been given tags when they registered their bike with the parking and transportation office which would have been detected within 30 feet of sensors placed at strategic areas on campus.


Bailey Kramer, student office of sustainability director, introduced the bill at the prior meeting.


Kramer said that the program would have provided incentive for students to bike to campus, and to use the approved bike routes instead of going through the campus mall, which bikes are supposed to avoid.


“I believe that the ZAP program would have brought more biking to campus and less car commutes,” Kramer said. “It would have helped a great deal in implementing the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and given UW-Eau Claire students a better biking experience as a whole.”


In a Spring 2014 survey by the SOS, 83 percent of respondents said they supported or strongly supported the implementation of the ZAP program.


In the survey, 73 percent said yes or maybe to whether they would use the program.


The program cost $26,000 to implement and was asked to be allotted from the student office of sustainability’s 2014-15 environmental responsibility account.


An amendment, also highly debated and ultimately voted down in an 18 to 9 vote, would have changed the money spent to $13,000.


Christian Paese, the first to voice an objection to the bill, argued against student money being spent for the program and thought that the purchase of two instead of four ZAP monitors would have been a good trial run.


“I think this is introducing another headache for students,” Paese said.


The plan to register bikes was going to be centered around the ZAP program, but now the parking and transportation office will have to come up with a new plan, Kramer said.


Matthew Riedel, who voted for the bill, said he thought it would have been a benefit to the campus.


“More broadly, I think the concerns from some of the people who voted against it were more along philosophical ideals about how money should be spent on sustainability and the promotion of sustainability,” Riedel said.


This is the second time the bill was brought before the Senate and rejected. The first time, there were different SOS directors, student body presidents and many different senators.




Just like in prior election years, the Student Senate is concentrating on pushing students to be involved in local politics.


The Get Out The Vote efforts include tabling in campus buildings, posters, literature and information through social media.


The Intergovernmental Affairs Commission, which said in a  press release that this year has been especially challenging with the changes concerning elections, are being coordinated the efforts.


Non-resident students and anyone else without a Wisconsin photo ID would have been unable to vote unless they found an alternative, like the IDs the university began offering shortly after that ruling.


It then flipflopped again when the Supreme Court blocked the earlier ruling.


Intergovernmental Affairs Director Rebecca Jewell said they have had to be flexible with their planning around the election.


“With information constantly changing, it’s important we aren’t overwhelming students or providing conflicting information,” Jewell said. “But we’ve been working hard to find new and exciting ways to engage our student body.”