Limestone Students Now Working With City Of Gaffney To Roll-Out Bike-Share Pilot Program

Charles Wyatt

Several Limestone University students are now collaborating with officials from the City of Gaffney to roll-out and manage a new bike-share pilot program that will soon become a reality.

As part of a community service component for a physical education class taught by Dr. Felicia Cavallini, Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, six students are working to identify the locations on campus for the bike-share program and then rolling out instructions for Limestone’s students, faculty, and staff.

The students include Rashae Brown, Caitlyn Gilmore, William Finnearty, Cason McClendon, Abigail Tredway, and Haley White.

Bike-Share Program 2022
front row (left to right) Abigail Tredway and Caitlyn Gilmore, middle row (left to right) William Finnearty and Rashae Brown, and back row (left to right) City Administrator James Taylor and Haley White. Not pictured: Cason McClendon.

“The bike-share program is an innovative and valuable way to engage our Limestone community in active transportation, higher physical activity levels, and a healthier lifestyle that positively influences mental and physical health,” Cavallini said. “We are enormously fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in this program on our campus and beyond.”

The City of Gaffney agreed earlier this year to fund the project that was initially proposed by Limestone students.

Mason Gilbert, Abigail Smith, and Alison Walsh made a presentation to the City Council in April of 2021 to pitch the concept of a collaborative bike-share program that they felt would benefit students and the community.

According to Gaffney City Administrator James Taylor, funds were identified in January from the American Rescue Plan Act, and City Council voted unanimously to allocate $25,000 from those funds for the first phase of the proposed bike-share program. Taylor said at the time that the City of Gaffney was ready to work with Limestone to implement the pilot program. The plan is to use the initial phase as a pilot project in hopes to later make the bikes available across the city.

“The City of Gaffney is grateful that Limestone University’s students, faculty, and staff for identifying projects that can be used for the betterment of our community,” Taylor noted. “The bike-share program will benefit students who do not have other means of transportation to-and-from local retail stores and restaurants.”

The Limestone students in April initially presented to City Council as part of a required research and community service project in their Capstone class taught by Cavallini. They shared their proposed plan to incorporate a bike-share program, highlighting the need, solution, cost, and funding of implementing such a plan.

The students’ bike-share initiative is part of an ongoing project that was jump-started in 2017 by students Sophie Bosserhoff, Marina Carbonara, and Carleigh Davis. When the idea was initially presented, those three students were in their final semester at Limestone, completing an internship with Cavallini.

“About five years ago when this idea first started, I thought our Gaffney and Limestone communities could benefit greatly from a bike-share program,” Cavallini said. “For any progress to occur in any environment, research is necessary, usually in multiple phases. The knowledge and benefit of human physical movement are at the core of the purpose of Exercise Science. That initial research study laid the critical foundation to take this research project to the next level with resounding success. This is so exciting for our Gaffney and Limestone. These are the kinds of programs that increase the quality of living and health for all residents in the Gaffney community that can last a lifetime.”

During their presentation to City Council last year, the students explained that such a bike-share program, starting with a pilot project at Limestone, would not only help the community, but also many of the University’s students. Limestone has a large international student population, with most of those students not owning cars. A bike-share program would improve the commute to classes and around town to shop and to make it easier to become a part of the fabric of the local community.

Accompanying photo: front row (left to right) Abigail Tredway and Caitlyn Gilmore, middle row (left to right) William Finnearty and Rashae Brown, and back row (left to right) City Administrator James Taylor and Haley White. Not pictured: Cason McClendon.