By Richard Zach
Editor, the Gauntlet,
With grave concern I have learned of the Notice to Vacate that the Campus Planning office has sent to the Bike Root community bicycle shop on June 21, 2010. As you know, the Bike Root is a successful community-run bicycle workshop and bike library. It is one of only two community bike shops in Calgary, the main bicycle resource on campus, and indeed more-or-less the main bicycle resource in Calgary’s NW quadrant north of 5th Ave. It is an exemplary grass-roots initiative to promote cycling in Calgary and around the U of C campus, run by volunteers and funded by donations. The University should be proud that its campus community has produced such a valuable resource, which provides services to students, faculty, and staff, contributes to traffic reduction, and to campus sustainability overall.
The University is currently stepping up its efforts to implement its own commitments to sustainability (as formulated, e.g., in its Sustainability Policy and in the Talloires Declaration), and the campus itself is expanding (new buildings, West Campus development). Forcing the Bike Root to close down now after only two successful years of operations would do a grave disservice to the campus community, especially to students, and would contravene the principles the University has committed itself to.
I realize that resources, especially space, are tight. But encouraging sustainable traffic and supporting community-run initiatives such as the Bike Root should, in my view, be a priority for campus planners. From media reports to date it seems that the University’s only reaction to criticism of the decision to evict the Bike Root from its current location has been to point out that the Bike Root should have been aware that its current quarters in MFH loading dock are only temporary. But that is outright cynical.
I hope that you will do what is necessary to enable the Bike Root to keep operating on campus and to keep providing the services campus cyclists have come to value and depend on.