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
I can think of many people who are inconvenienced [by these stoppages],
Baugniet said. Theyre not breakdowns its deliberate.
One explanation is that they control traffic, but thats nonsense.
Leo Bissonnette, Coordinator for Concordias Office for Students
with Disabilities, was one of the 300 people who signed Baugniets
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 hadnt seen Baugniets 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
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.
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