U to celebrate sustainable transportation

Bicycles are a focus for this year’s Beautiful U Day.

Jennifer Bissell

The University of Minnesota is celebrating its 13th Beautiful U Day today, focusing on sustainable transportation.
This yearâÄôs events will feature bicycle sales and tuneups, a transportation expo and a bicycle stunt show.
âÄúWith the imminent start of the Central Corridor [light-rail] construction, we figured this was a pretty timely topic,âÄù University Services spokesman Tim Busse  said.
Washington Avenue Southeast will officially be closed to traffic May 16, âÄúnever to be open again,âÄù Busse said.
Once the light-rail line is complete in 2014, the street will be open only to the light rail, buses, pedestrians and bikes.
Today, 200 lightly used bicycles will be for sale with the majority listed at less than $80.
âÄúWe wanted to make sustainable transportation available for everyone,âÄù Busse said. âÄúWe encourage everyone to buy an inexpensive used bike as things get tight when construction starts.âÄù
Commuters who walk, ride bicycles, take the bus or carpool will be given sustainable commuter breakfast goodies in the morning.
As another part of the festivities, volunteers will give out roughly 200 dozen cookies to offices and departments whose employees clean up their spaces.
Event volunteers will also spend the morning cleaning University bus shelters.
In the past, Beautiful U Day has focused on painting the Washington Avenue Bridge, planting trees on campus and recycling. Two years ago, it launched the âÄúIt All Adds UpâÄù campaign, which has since saved $4 million in energy costs, Busse said.