New cyclist awareness signs on downtown campus

Posted on Friday, November 30, 2012

By McGill Reporter Staff

McGill’s downtown campus features some 200 separate racks with spots for locking up to 1800 bikes. But convenient spots can sometimes be hard to come by, so some cyclists will unfortunately lock their bikes to anything that doesn’t move, including construction fences, access ramps for the physically disabled, stair railings, fire escapes, benches, trees and even other bikes.

The University has recently received complaints that bikes locked to handrails have seriously impeded access for the physically disabled and blocked egress from fire escapes – the problem is especially prevalent at the Milton entrance (Wilson Hall, Visitor’s Square).

As a response, McGill has introduced some signage to make cyclists aware that they may be obstructing others from enjoying campus.

The University has also developed signs discouraging cyclists from locking their bikes to trees. Regular locking on trees removes the bark, the tree’s primary defence against disease and physical damage. As bikes are typically locked to young-trees, this can result in mid-term death for the trees on campus.

The University will evaluate the effectiveness of the signs and determine what, if any, additional interventions may be required.

For more information about cycling at McGill, click here.

To view a Google Map of downtown campus bike rack locations, go here.

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Category: Blog

12 Responses to New cyclist awareness signs on downtown campus

  1. Terrenord says:

    Although there are lots of great places to lock up your bike around the James Admin building and in front of Engineering, the University still needs to install more bike bars (or whatever you call them). And people, don’t lock your bike to someone elses bike! Very, very annoying.

  2. Duncan says:

    Signs may not be enough. I notice bikes locked inappropriately up especially where the university racks are FULL. Please provide MORE BIKE RACKS. I am sure the McGill community has more that 1800 bikes… Thank you in advance for your careful consideration of my request.

  3. Emilie says:

    People would not lock their bikes on trees if there were enough bike racks. By experience, trying to find a place where to lock a bicycle can be very challenging.

  4. Caroline says:

    As a cyclist, I would say that we are very aware of the appropriate places to park on campus. Signage will do little to nothing to help. McGill should be proud of its students using sutainable transport and do more to support us by adding more places to lock up!

  5. Julia says:

    We need more bike racks!!

  6. Victor says:

    While I think this is a completely inappropriate way to deal with this issue, the problem is very obvious. There aren’t enough bike racks. That’s one thing. The other thing is that most of the great lockup places are in the most useless places. I mean seriously. The places where you find amazing bike lock ups are in the most bike inaccessible places, like behind Islamic Law, I mean who locks/wants to lock up their bikes there?? Move them to Milton Gates already.

    Secondly, I know security has done this in the past, but it’s about time to put warning notices up again, and remove all the garbage people let to rot because they are too lazy to retrieve it over the winter.

    These signs just further alienate the thousands of bike commuters that come to McGill, as if all that stupid “get off your bikes while on campus” business was not enough. This is a university for god’s sake.

  7. Isabelle says:

    It seems pretty obvious that there’s not enough bike racks. I regularly lock my own bike on a fence, because there’s no place else to lock it, not because I like it.

  8. Susan says:

    Signs won’t help unless more bike racks are provided at the spots where people come onto campus. Even better would be installation of a dedicated bike path that allows cyclists to get from the Milton Gate to other parts of the campus. That would keep pedestrians safe from cyclists (and cyclists safe from pedestrians) while allowing cyclists to make use of bike racks in other locations.

  9. Tyler says:

    To add another voice to the chorus: The problem is not inconsiderate bikers, it’s an inconsiderate university administration who have not put enough bike racks on campus. If you had asked literally ANYONE who bikes to campus, they could have told you this before you wasted your time and students’ money. MORE BIKE RACKS! not more signage. Bike racks should be accessible in front of every building entrance on campus, with more in areas with high traffic. The time/energy/$ spent putting up these signs was wasted.

  10. Tatiana says:

    Interesting math: 1800 bike spots for 37,835 enrolled students early. Can it EVER be enough? It is a fact that there are not enough racks and they are not well spaced around the campus. Bike racks is not something we have to ask for, they have to be installed to make the students’ life more convenient. Just as the overall shift towards sustainable commuting must become an integral part of education initiated by the university.

  11. Lara says:

    Does anyone with any sort of decision-making capability actually read this? I doubt it.. I have been wondering who I could speak to about this problem for months, because I, too, do not like to see all the bikes sprawled haphazardly around on fences, benches, and especially trees.

    Obviously, there are not enough bike racks. I will re-iterate this point, solely to express that yet another person agrees: There are NOT ENOUGH BIKE RACKS! And this deficiency is the cause of the haphazard and in some cases dangerous or inconsiderate locking protocols of some bikers.

    a) I, too, have had to lock my bike to most of the above-mentioned targets (especially construction fences, stair railings, benches, and – once in a blue moon a poor tree, because there is NO better alternative within 50m!*) Luckily I’ve never had to lock my bike to someone else’s (unless it’s my friend and I’m trying to preserve some of the limited spots for someone else), or access ramps/fire-escapes (at least not in any disruptive manner)

    *Yes, I feel it is reasonable to expect bike racks within 50 m of any building on campus. I bike for many reasons – environmental sustainability, convenience of parking/access, freedom from traffic jams, and healthy exercise being the topmost reasons. So, yes, I *do* feel entitled – because I make sacrifices for sustainability.

    b) 1800 bike racks is certainly not enough, even when you consider that a portion of the quoted 37,835 students enrolled doesn’t go near main campus. Consider that there are post-docs, profs, and staff too!

    c) the placement of bike racks needs to be improved. I’ve seen racks installed in such a way that the only way you can get your bike to the rack is by LIFTING your bike ABOVE your head! I would think this wouldn’t even need to be said, but obviously it does. This is ridiculous!

    d) 120 bike spots in front of Strathcona does not make up for the lack of racks in the core main campus. I believe the two problem areas are at the Milton (174 spots) and McTavish (62 spots) gates. If the administration wants to ban bicycle traffic on campus, they must at least provide enough parking for the bikes at the entrance to their bike-free zones – otherwise bikers are much more likely to bike on campus..

    So – who can we speak to?? It’s a shame McGill has reacted in such a ridiculous manner to the problem, but it’s also a shame we bikers did not speak up sooner about the lack of racks. In my defense, I have noticed a slow, steady increase of racks over the last year, and that has kept me from being more vocal, but – I place an emphasis on SLOW.

    Finally, I would support McGill in putting additional deterrents in place (I assume we’re talking about cutting locks) against bikes which block fire escapes, access ramps, and trees. But the solution has two sides: I would also expect either a) more bike racks at the Milton Gates, or b) retirement of the “bike-free campus” restrictions which would avoid the congestion at Milton Gates in the first place.

  12. Paul Guenther says:

    Hi everyone,
    I work in the Campus and Space Planning office, and am heavily involved in the bike infrastructure on campus.
    I was just directed to these comments by a colleague and am thankful to hear your opinions.

    First off, I completely agree that we don’t have enough bike racks on campus. This was obvious two years ago when we doubled the number of spaces, and continued to see them at full capacity. We are working on addressing this shortage; our main challenge is finding appropriate locations.

    I have been working with student groups to develop some short and long term bike management solutions (related to parking and other issues). I encourage you to contact me if you have any othe comments or ideas: Paul.guenther@mcgill.ca

    As far as the signs are concerned, I recognize that it can be challenging to find parking, but it certainly doesn’t justify blocking fire exits, access ramps for the physically disabled or damaging trees.

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