Cyclists feel the parking pinch
Trees, poles, signs, and even bushes have become makeshift racks for cyclists. In response to this trend SAIT has sent out a memo to the community requesting that students and employees biking to campus lock their bikes to the racks provided. The memo states that until early October, improperly-locked bikes will receive warnings, but after that any cyclists parking improperly run the risk of having their locks cut and their bikes held at security for pick up.
According to the memo, SAIT is willing to install more bike racks pending requests being made to the SAIT helpline (403-210-4357.) The SAIT helpline functions as campus’ 311 system and deals with everything ranging from complaints regarding unclean restrooms to security concerns, and will even offer directions around campus .
“SAIT has planted hundreds of new trees and suddenly, they became instant bike racks,” said Melanie Simmons, from SAIT public relations, “We want to nip this behaviour in the bud.”
Although damage to signs and posts is a possibility with this behaviour, what worries SAIT administration most is the damage that can be caused to the new landscaping around campus.
Students have expressed a need for more racks outside the Stan Grad (formerly Heart) building, the Senator Burns, and the East Hall residence. However, this is dependent upon requests being made through the helpline.
Rig technician student apprentice Richard Beaudoin lives five blocks away and bikes to campus every day and uses the racks at the Stan Grad Building. He said that when he arrives before 8 a.m. the racks are already starting to fill up. Though he has not seen the memo regarding improper locking he said that security taking his bike “would be frustrating.”
If he was late to class and was forced to lock his bike to a pole due to congestion, he said it would be SAIT’s fault that there was not enough space provided.
Marcello Castronovo, a first-year broadcast radio student who bikes from seven kilometres away echoed Beaudoin’s sentiment and disagreed with the prospect of having to spend his own money to buy a new lock.
While Marcello conceded that there are already many racks on campus, “there could always be more.”
Not everyone feels congestion is a problem. Doug Waite, a SAIT English language foundations instructor prefers to bike to campus and intends to do so until the weather drops below -15º. Similar to Beaudoin, he has not received the memo.
“I don’t see the racks too crowded, but I only use one rack, and I get here early. I always find a spot.”
He feels security should be cutting locks, “Only if the location where they were locked is causing or could cause significant problems (access to stairs, handrails, doors, etc.)”