Locking up a bike at Ryerson could cost students more than their ride. Hilary Caton reports
Shauna Kewin bikes to campus every day. But the fourth-year social work student has never used the bike room and doesn’t plan on keeping her bike there this year either. The reason: it would cost her more than her bike is worth.
“Why lock it up there when I can park my bike out here for free?” said Kewin.
The bike room originally opened to the Ryerson community in November 2008. The entire project, which included clearing the building and laneway, as well as installing bike racks cost the university a total of $75,000. The room has security surveillance and is patrolled regularly by Ryerson Security. It could be home to 65 bikes, but right now it’s almost empty. For many students, it’s just too expensive.
For students to keep their bikes free from the elements, it will set them back $10 a month for a total of $80 for the academic year, or $120 for a full calendar year on top of tuition fees.
“I won’t ever use it because I have to pay for it. If you count all those months, my bike costs way less than that,” Kewin said.
But John Corallo, director of ancillary services at Ryerson doesn’t think that students are being overcharged.
“It’s a reasonable price to run the bike room and it’s the same price the city [of Toronto] offers,” said Corallo, the director of Ryerson’s ancillary services.
Reasonable or not, many students didn’t even know that the bike room existed.
After its launch, Ryerson hoped its bicycle room would be “a focal point on campus” and encourage more eco-friendly transportation. But its location is more hidden than focal.
Located at the back of 110 Bond Street, access to the bike room can be found either through an alley entrance via Dundas Street West, through the pathway around Lake Devo and the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, or through a makeshift metal pathway between the continuous constructions on Bond Street.
The fact that its access points are through hidden pathways immediately spooks cyclists.
“I wouldn’t feel safe going back there. Perhaps it’s meant to discourage petty theft, but I still wouldn’t feel safe especially as a female in athletic gear, “said thirdyear nursing student Charmaine Gust.
Still, Corallo, says that the area is safe for students.
“Security has their bike storage there too and is in there on a daily basis and security also monitors the room and so does ancillary staff “ he said.
According to Ryerson Security there have been 26 bike thefts since last September.
“We haven’t had any thefts from the bike room,” said Imre Juurlink of Ryerson Security. “Never say never, but we haven’t had any yet and it’s been open for well over a year.”
But despite the security of locking up their bikes, some students still won’t be using the bike room any time soon.
“The fact that it isn’t advertised, it maybe says a lot about Ryerson’s green incentives,” said Gust.
Photo: Jordan Campbell