Just because you build it …

… doesn’t mean they’ll come.

I spent a couple of days at a large office complex in Mississauga this week and saw a memo to building tenants:

Bike Lock up Facility
[Building owners] are pleased to announce that a designated bicycle parking area has been created to service the tenants who wish to bike to work.

The memo went on to explain that the lock up area would be secure (“caged”) and there would be no cost to use it.

“Wow!” I said to myself. How cool is this? You can ride your chariot of tire to work knowing that it will be protected from inclement weather and theft until you return for it.

I had to go check it out. This is what I found:

Lock up facility

The lock up facility is lonely

It was disappointing to see that no one was using it.

I spoke with a member of building security and she said that she had never seen a bike in there. That memo had been issued in June, 2012.

Bikes parked on sidewalk outside building

Visitors lock bikes up haphazardly outside the building

I asked an office worker if he had any ideas why it wasn’t being used. He suggested that Mississauga is, “caught between being a city and a suburb.”

In other words, people are seeking the lifestyle of being able to cycle and meet their needs in local shops but the low-density design means that you have to take a car to cover the large distances between destinations.

Furthermore, he said that since the office is on a main thoroughfare, it’s doubtful that people would feel comfortable biking in the immediate area.

Interestingly, given the building’s progressive stance on bike facilities for tenants, there was a lack of adequate bike parking for visitors. As you can see in this image, people had locked their bikes to railings, which actually made the bikes a bit of a tripping hazard.

My heart sank a little today!

Does your employer/building support cyclists? How?

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