New barriers go up to make campus safer

A pilot project at the Milton Gate has been launched in an effort to get cyclists to walk their bikes instead of riding through campus. New gates on the two sidewalks flanking the parking kiosk, along with longer gates across the roadway, are designed to enforce the “walk your bike” rule that is routinely flouted.
New gates on the sidewalks at the Milton Gates, along with longer gates across the roadway, are designed to enforce the “walk your bike” rule on campus. / Photo: Neale McDevitt
New gates on the sidewalks at the Milton Gates, along with longer gates across the roadway, are designed to enforce the “walk your bike” rule on campus. / Photo: Neale McDevitt

By McGill Reporter Staff

A pilot project at the Milton Gate has been launched in an effort to get cyclists to walk their bikes instead of riding through campus.

New gates on the two sidewalks flanking the parking kiosk, along with longer gates across the roadway, are designed to enforce the “walk your bike” rule that is routinely flouted, said Robert Couvrette, Associate Vice-Principal (University Services).

“We want to make the campus safer,” Couvrette said. “That’s the only purpose of this project.

“I know for sure we will make some people happy and some people angry. After the fall period, we’ll re-evaluate the project.”

The barriers, which do not have counters or other means of collecting data, are simply an effort to get people off their bikes, Couvrette said. “This is the only purpose of this project,” he said.

Signage indicating the purpose of the project that should have been installed at the same time as the barriers will be posted soon, Couvrette said.

Comments on Twitter have already brought sharp criticism from those who disagree with McGill’s longstanding effort to persuade cyclists to walk instead of ride through the campus. The issue regularly prompts heated debate between cyclists and pedestrians who have experienced bicycles being ridden through crowded roadways at high speed.

McGill has recorded at least four incidents of collisions between cyclists and pedestrians in recent years and anecdotes about close calls are numerous.

 

14 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jay
Jay
7 years ago

There is no safe or legal route for bicycles from the upper campus (MNI, Victoria) down to the bike path on Milton/University. It’s a long walk, so people don’t walk–instead, they ride on the sidewalk or the wrong way down University, or through campus. Previously, a rather complex detour was possible through the Ghetto, but because of the construction on des Pins, this is no longer possible. There needs to be some way for people who work/study at the top of University to get down to the bike path without breaking laws. McGill is not thinking of those who commute… Read more »

David Krawitz
David Krawitz
7 years ago

This morning I stuttered on my way through the pedestrian barrier gates, banging a pedal against the back of my heel, causing one of those lovely bike-pedal scrapes. (I have just peeled off the curled-up skin and am daubing at the bloody mess.) What will happen with people in wheelchairs, children in strollers?
The new devices make the University look dim and non-progressive, which has always been my primary objection to the anti-bike policy. If motor vehicles continue to be allowed passage through McGill, bicycles deserve a bike lane. We should be encouraging cycling, not driving.

Annmarie Adams
Annmarie Adams
7 years ago

I’m heartened to hear it’s just a pilot project as the results are already clear. It’s a failure. Completely apart from inspiring cyclists to dismount their bicycles, these gates serve as real disincentives to enter our campus and are particularly difficult for anyone with mobility issues: people with disabilities, in wheelchairs, using canes, accompanied by guide dogs, and pushing strollers. I even had trouble getting through them this morning carrying two bags of books. Additionally, anybody shorter than average, including children, could be struck in the neck or head by the swinging metal gate. What a shame to erect such… Read more »

Andrew Doyle
Andrew Doyle
7 years ago

On the plus side, these gates are remarkably easy to bike straight through (tested). The downside is that you’re more likely to hit a pedestrian. Doesn’t McGill have a $500+ million infrastructure deficit and better things to spend money on?

Isaac Gielen
Isaac Gielen
7 years ago

I vow to build a ramp over these dumb fences and bunny hop over all the poor guards you hire to enforce your silly “no biking” rules that they themselves feel ridiculous for enforcing.

Aaron Vansintjan
Aaron Vansintjan
7 years ago

Rather than allowing cars to drive through campus, regularly allowing security guards to bike to campus (and stopping other cyclists) McGill could do the same as the rest of the city and either disallow both vehicles and bikes for walking areas (and then provide adequate alternatives, as Jay says) or install bikeable areas, such as well-indicated bike lanes, throughout campus. The fact that accidents happen between pedestrians and bikers is not the fault of the presence of bikes per se but the fault of poor integration, signage, and alternatives for bikers. Furthermore, four accidents on a whole campus is not… Read more »

A Pedestrian
A Pedestrian
7 years ago

Well this is exactly the way McGill should not handle this. I do not ride a bike. I am a pedestrian and these gates were justified to “protect me”. In reality, they do not protect me and I am against them. These gates do nothing good for anyone. Here’s what they’re intended for: – Preventing cyclists from riding bikes – Protecting pedestrians Here’s what they don’t do: – Prevent cyclists from riding bikes (cyclists can just ride right through them) – Protect pedestrians (as a pedestrian who takes this route twice a day most days I have never had an… Read more »

Anon
Anon
7 years ago

Very strange opening volley from Robert Couvrette to the McGill community.

Will Vanderbilt
Will Vanderbilt
7 years ago

Meanwhile, these longer roadway gates will ensure that 80% of the passage is explicitly reserved for the 5% (?) of folks who enter campus in a four wheeled vehicle.
Reactionary stubbornness at its best.

Frustrated
Frustrated
7 years ago

So McGill has a school of urban planning…. and this is the best they could come up with? How about designated paths or areas for cyclists? Hire some of the urban planning students to figure it out. I’m pretty sure paint and less security guards dedicated to harassing cyclists is less expensive than what is currently in place.
We live in Montreal, a city whose plan is to become the number one best city for cycling in North America. Why can’t McGill get it together? Why the antagonism?

Jimmy Gutman
Jimmy Gutman
7 years ago

In 2004, McGill adopted the Office of Disabilities standards on accessibility titled “standards to barrier-free campus.”It seems they have short institutional memory. I don’t know why they pay their managers so god damn much if they can’t even follow their own bureaucracy. I think someone in the upper administration should get publicly fired over this. It is absolute stupidity.
this is the document: http://www.mcgill.ca/facilities/sites/mcgill.ca.facilities/files/ACCESS_2004.pdf

Pieter Sijpkes
Pieter Sijpkes
7 years ago

A pilot project to turn the Milton gates into what looks like the entrance to a Metro store? To make the campus ‘safer’? Let me suggest a pilot project: – Take down the silly ‘control bars’, and install friendly signs welcoming pedestrians and bicycles to the campus. – Ask the bicyclists to go at ‘pedestrian speed’, and stick to the special route in place, about 15 feet wide, surfaced with, maroon, smooth asphalt and embedded with a cyclist graphic symbol every 50 feet or so. – Presto! Behold: no more ‘incidents’ between cyclists and pedestrians ! To blame the cyclists… Read more »

Barbara Lewis
Barbara Lewis
7 years ago

I’d be interested in knowing if anyone feels this is a positive intitiative…

Laurens Verkade
Laurens Verkade
7 years ago

So, instead of putting back the wonderful wrought-iron gates which were such a welcome feature of the Milton entrance (can’t say the Milton Gates anymore) and were so in keeping with the character of the University as a whole and the architectural context, we have these monstrous sheet-metal booby-traps that fail in their intended purpose and please no one. And please don’t try to fool anybody by saying that the situation will be re-evaluated after the Fall – those obscene metal barriers are there to stay. I was told that the wrought-iron gates would be restored once the surrounding area… Read more »