CTR Home Internal  Relations and Communications Home About CTR Publication Schedule CTR Archives

October 24, 2002 Stopped Hall escalators frustrate some users



by Peter Boer

A Concordia University lecturer has sent a petition to the university requesting that the escalators in the Hall Building be kept on.

Gabriel Baugniet, a lecturer with the Department of Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics, and approximately 300 students, teachers and university staff signed the petition, which was sent to the office of the Vice-Rector, Services, on Nov. 22.

After she had collected the signatures, Baugniet discovered that the escalators were being turned off by security staff at peak hours for safety reasons when users pile up between the escalators, particularly on the mezzanine. They are sometimes left off for hours before being turned back on. Despite the good intentions, Baugniet feels that such a practice creates a major inconvenience.

“I can think of many people who are inconvenienced [by these stoppages],” Baugniet said. “They’re not breakdowns — it’s deliberate. One explanation is that they control traffic, but that’s nonsense.”

Leo Bissonnette, Coordinator for Concordia’s Office for Students with Disabilities, was one of the 300 people who signed Baugniet’s petition. He said that the policy of shutting off the escalator at peak periods poses a problem for everybody, regardless of mobility challenges.

“I have the same inconvenience trying to go to my office on the fifth floor,” Bissonnette said. “Maybe a little more so for me, because I have a guide dog.”

This practice does pose more problems for those who are physically challenged, explained Bissonnette. “From a disability point of view, if more people can use the escalator, then that frees up the elevator for people who really need it, like people in wheelchairs.”

Rick Young, the director of facilities operation, is familiar with the current situation. While he hadn’t seen Baugniet’s petition, he explained that with the help of professional consultants, he is already looking into ways to solve the problem of student traffic in the Hall Building.

“We are evaluating the possibility of adding a third passenger elevator in the Hall Building, adjacent to the existing ones,” Young explained.

“The third shaft is already in place, and a study is underway to determine what modifications will be necessary to undertake the installation.

“Other options under consideration include the construction of an open staircase from the lobby to the mezzanine, as well as modifying the existing excalators by installing variable speed motors.

“The final decision will also have to take into consideration the relocation of the occupants of the top four floors of the Hall Building in the spring to the new Science Compex at Loyola, and how the vacant space will be redesigned.”

In the interim, Young added, students and staff could help alleviate some of the problems by using the enclosed staircases at the sides of the building during peak hours. Keep in mind, climbing stairs is a great way to keep fit!