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Save the TRW Bike Racks

This petition made change with 137 supporters!

This petition is directed at members of the Foothills Campus and hospital community, and as such we request that only those who work, study, train, volunteer, or visit Foothills regularly take part. This is a continuation of a paper petition that recently circulated at the Foothills Campus. If you already signed the paper petition you can still sign this petition, but please write 'second signature' in the 'I'm signing because..' comment box when completing the online form.

This petition calls on the University of Calgary to reverse the recent decision to remove the free bike racks from in front of the Teaching, Research and Wellness (TRW) building on the Foothills campus. The bike racks in question are the largest single collection of free bike parking spaces in the area, accounting for roughly 1/3 of the available free spots around the Health Science complex, and one of the only free racks that offer some protection from the elements due to the awning overhead. According to Parking and Transportation Services the decision to remove the racks was primarily based on concerns regarding pedestrian safety, but also a desire to improve the appearance of the building, as some people think the bikes are an eyesore.

Why should the decision to remove the TRW bike racks be reversed?

1) No actual evidence that these bike racks are to blame for near-misses and collisions between pedestrians and cyclists at the TRW entrance. Hundreds of cyclists pass through this corridor each day en route to other bike rack locations on campus (e.g., the bike cage in the new HRIC courtyard) and many of them choose to ride on the sidewalk to avoid road traffic because they do not feel safe riding on the road in this area - particularly during peak traffic.

2) Pedestrian and cyclist safety could both be improved more effectively using other means, such as the addition of separate bike and pedestrian paths in front of the building, the addition of a dedicated bike lane and/or speed bumps to ensure motorists obey the 20 km/hr posted speed limit, and/or the use of signage or obstacles to minimize interaction between cyclists and pedestrians in the area.

3) No reasonable explanation as to why these bike racks are being removed rather than merely relocated nearby. Yes, there are already free bike racks located elsewhere at Foothills, but few of them provide any protection from the elements and they already tend to fill up at peak times of day. Further limiting the free bike parking spaces on campus will effectively force people to either pay for a pass to the new bike cage (not worth the money for occasional cyclists especially) or simply not ride at all.

4) The notion that bikes are an 'eyesore' that should be hidden from the public eye is directly contrary to the university's publicly stated goals regarding the promotion of sustainable and healthy lifestyle choices. As a leader in the community, U of C should be doing everything possible to show the public that they support cycling as an alternative to automotive transportation, and that view should not be set aside simply to appease the aesthetic opinions of some people – who likely do not represent the majority in the Foothills community.

5) $30/year spots in the new bike cage are fine for security, but they are not a replacement for free, covered bike racks. The combination of fewer free bike spots and usage fees will only act as an unnecessary barrier to cycling that will particularly discourage occasional cyclists (who may only cycle a couple of times a month in summer) from choosing healthier/greener modes of transport. This is the opposite of what U of C's own publicly stated sustainability/health initiatives aim to do.

6) The removal of bike racks from this open, visible and relatively high-traffic area represents an increased safety risk for cyclists who need to stay late at work. The HRIC courtyard (the suggested alternative location for cyclists who currently use the TRW racks) is out of sight of any major roadways and at night this area is not well lit and has little/no pedestrian traffic. As such this area is simply less safe than the front of the TRW after dark, which leaves cyclists in the position of having to ask campus security to escort them to their bike after work.

7) These bike racks will eventually need to be replaced in the future, so their removal is an unnecessary expense. As Foothills continues to develop, we will undoubtedly require more bike racks at some point to accommodate the growing workforce and community presence, as well as the growing proportion of cyclists (aided by U of C’s own public health/sustainability initiatives). Thus this decision makes no sense from a long-term financial perspective.

8) Lack of public discourse. To our knowledge, no meaningful consultation with the cycling community at Foothills was undertaken prior to this decision. We believe that these types of disagreements between end-users and decision-makers could be relatively easily avoided by simply asking for input from the community earlier in the decision-making process.

We respectfully request that the University of Calgary reconsider the decision to remove these bike racks in the interest of cyclist safety, convenience, public health, sustainability, and community.

We also suggest that open and public consultations with the community (and particularly actual cycle commuters) should be held before any final decisions are made regarding the moving or removing of free bike racks on the Foothills and Main campuses in the future.

If you agree, please sign this petition to support our efforts.


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