The Shortest Mile is by Bike
Marina Heights employees run work errands using pedal power
Marie Chapple, Public Information Officer
City of Tempe
TEMPE, AZ - With 4.2% of Tempe’s population now biking to the job according to a recently-released American Community Survey by the Census Bureau, Tempe ranks number seven for bicycle commuting out of all medium size cities in the nation. So while pedaling to work appears to be growing, so does an interest in incorporating it into the work day.
At the Marina Heights construction site along Tempe Town Lake, Ryan Companies employees ride company-purchased bikes on work errands, to lunch spots, and for exercise breaks.
What started out as a casual conversation between two of the company’s regional vice presidents and two company project engineers who rode their personal bikes rather than drive a company car for local trips quickly turned into an employee bike-share program.
To drive the one mile from the construction site to the City of Tempe’s Community Development Office to have their constructions plans reviewed and approved, didn’t seem worth it to Kenny Dahill, senior project engineer, if he could bike it in five minutes. “And you get to ride up to the front door,” says Dahill of his no-parking solution. He estimates that Ryan Companies’ employees ride to city hall three to four times a week and go to other business locations within Tempe.
Within weeks of the conversation, Ryan Companies’ John Strittmatter, Chairman of Southwest Region, and Chuck Carefoot, Vice President for Southwest Region – Operations, purchased 10 new bikes from Tempe Bicycle for employee use: six beach cruisers and four mountain bikes, as well as bike helmets and other security equipment. Since February, about half of the company’s 60 on-site employees have used the bikes not only for those business runs but as a way to foster social interaction at the office. The bikes have been used for group rides to lunch in downtown Tempe and to food trucks at ASU to help support local businesses. Some employees like to use their break-time to ride along Tempe’s bikeways and in parks.
The City of Tempe promotes safe and convenient bicycle access to various destinations within the city with its 175-miles of bikeways. It has been recognized by the League of American Bicyclists with a silver-level Bicycle-Friendly Community award. Tempe is in the process of updating its bicycle network as part of the overall Transportation Master Plan and has a second round of public meetings scheduled in early August.
Ryan Companies is the co-developer with Sunbelt Holdings of Marina Heights - a 2 million square feet development that will house State Farm which covers an area of approximately 20 acres between Tempe Town Lake and Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe.