Showing their support for sustainable transportation, Concordia impounded 78 bikes during a bike sweep performed on Sept. 23 at the Sir George Williams (SGW) campus and installed new bike racks throughout this past month.
Facilities Management, the Security Department, and Allégo, a working group of Sustainable Concordia focused on transportation, developed an official procedure where unused bikes around campus are removed to make room for active cyclists. While Concordia performed a bike sweep three years ago, this is the first one with an official procedure in place.
“We wanted to come up with a procedure because just removing bikes willy-nilly is not very polite,” said Chantal Forgues, Concordia’s Sustainability co-ordinator, adding that the procedure has been in the works for about two years.
The organizers involved met on Sept. 25 to discuss how it went and what can be improved for future bike sweeps.
“Things seemed to roll out really well with the different team members,” said Forgues, who stressed that Allégo played a big role in the process. The legal department at Concordia and Risk Management were also involved to guarantee bikes would be removed in the fairest way.
Forgues said Distribution Services as well as plumbing and carpentry from Trade Services attended the meeting.
Abandoned property is defined in the procedure as bikes, bike parts, or locks that appear inoperable or seem to be unused for an extended period of time and bring up issues of safety, accessibility and aesthetics.
The removal procedure involves attaching reusable tags on abandoned bikes, which the owner can then remove. If the tag is kept on longer than seven days, Concordia will remove the bike and put it in storage where it will be kept for 90 days. The university has a registry with photos and descriptions of the impounded bikes, but those unclaimed after this period will be donated to certain organizations in Montreal that specifically take in donated bikes and have a system in place for picking them up. Forgues said other options included sending them to local bike shops (such as Right to Move and the Little Red Bike Shop) and to charities in Haiti.
In addition to the bike sweep, 33 new bike racks were installed at the SGW Campus, creating 231 additional spaces for bike parking. Four inefficiently located racks were also moved to the Loyola campus. Forgues explained Concordia was able to determine the amount of new spaces that were needed based on transit surveys conducted two years ago which estimated the amount of cyclists in the area.
“A lot of these racks are used not only by Concordia students, staff, and faculty but also by community members,” said Forgues.
While the recent bike sweep took place downtown, Loyola campus will have its own in the future.
“Having access to more bike racks is really essential for the entire neighbourhood,” stressed Forgues.
Forgues said the next bike sweep will take place this spring, following the Easter holiday. After that, there will be another bike sweep in August next year, then again in October.
Next spring, 16 more bike racks will be installed downtown, adding an additional 115 spaces.
In total, there are now 675 spaces downtown and an additional 220 spaces at Loyola.