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Campus Planning: Circulation

With thousands of students and staff circulating through, and around campus on a daily basis, the following documents and policies are intended to facilitate this movement for pedestrians, cyclists, private and service vehicles.

Circulation Protocol

A protocol about transportation, traffic and parking on McGill’s downtown campus - October 2010

Preamble

In April 2008, McGill University approved a physical Master Plan that calls for commitments to sustainability and environmental stewardship. The most recent expressions of this commitment include McGill’s adoption of a formal Sustainability Policy; the decision, in conjunction with the City of Montreal, to close McTavish Street to through traffic; and the elimination of most parking and vehicular traffic on the lower part of the downtown campus. These commitments will obviously result in changes in the way members of the community move about the downtown campus.

Putting people first means creating pedestrian-friendly zones, turning even greater sections of the lower campus into areas where the use of vehicles is strictly limited. It means allowing people to move comfortably about the campus. It means extending the areas of the campus available for quiet contemplation to areas that previously catered primarily to cars and trucks. And it means there is a need for people to make adjustments in their use of campus spaces, whether they drive, ride a bicycle, skateboard, take a taxi or walk.

 

Cars and parking

As of May 28, 2010, motorized vehicles (with the exception of emergency vehicles) no longer have access to the campus through the Roddick Gates. All other vehicular access  is via the Milton Gates. With some exceptions (see Appendix A for details), parking has been eliminated on campus and circulation of delivery vehicles has been greatly restricted.

This development has its origins in the 2007 publication of the draft Master Plan principles that indicated surface parking should be eliminated from the lower campus. As well, we were overcapacity in terms of parking permits. It was clear that the number of permits had to be reduced. The decision was made to freeze the issuance of additional new permits and to reduce the number already issued by attrition.  Because of this, very few were still entitled to park on the lower campus at the time leading up to May 28, 2010. These were accommodated in other parking facilities without anyone having to relinquish their parking pass. 

During this time of transition, some adjustments will be required. That there have been and will be inconveniences for some as a result of this change is understood. The University will do its best to mitigate these where possible. Many will have farther to walk from their cars to their offices than they once did. Visitors to McGill arriving by car may need to be reminded to allow more time for parking than in the past. The supply of nearby parking garages is plentiful and the use of alternative transportation is strongly encouraged.

For parking information, please visit the following link.

 

Cycling

McGill encourages and applauds the use of bicycles for commuting to and from the campus. In support of this, it is doubling the number of bicycle rack spaces to more than 2,000, making it easier for cyclists to use this environmentally friendly mode of transport.

The lower campus is now a “walk bike” zone. This is both a necessary and reasonable step, given the often-high concentrations of pedestrian traffic on the campus and the fact there is now a protected bicycle path on University St. at Milton connecting with the cycling path on de Maisonneuve Blvd., to be used by those who had once seen the campus as a two-wheeled thoroughfare to get downtown.

In addition, the City of Montreal’s designation of McTavish Street as a pedestrian zone means the City’s rules regarding pedestrian zones apply to this space. Those rules require that cyclists dismount and walk their bikes while in the pedestrian zone. In the interest of clarity and consistency, it is sensible to have a harmonized protocol across campus.

The reason for making the lower campus a walk-bike zone should be readily apparent: thousands of pedestrians cross McGill’s downtown campus every day, sometimes – especially when classes change – in substantial numbers. The University has experienced a number of incidents involving collisions between cyclists and pedestrians in recent years. No such event has been recorded involving a car and a pedestrian on campus. The University agrees with the City of Montreal’s position: mounted bicycles are incompatible with pedestrian safety.

The University asks that cyclists take a few extra minutes to dismount and walk through the campus so as to avoid incidents that could lead to injuries.

For the location of bike racks, please visit the following link.

 

Pedestrians

Pedestrians are encouraged to take full advantage of the pleasant new opportunities afforded them on the lower campus, but they are reminded that they should remain alert. While most vehicle use has been eliminated, there will still be construction or delivery vehicles circulating on the campus’s roadways from time to time, as well as some University vehicles. And while every effort will be made to ensure that cyclists dismount and walk their bicycles across the campus, campus security personnel are still entitled to circulate campus on bicycles for security purposes. Attention should still be paid whenever crossing paved areas on campus.

 

Going forward

May 28, 2010 marked the beginning of a newer, greener downtown campus. It is an important milestone in what will be an ongoing process. There will be bumps in the road, there will be inconveniences, and there will be a need to make adjustments. If you have constructive comments or suggestions to make, please feel free to contribute to this process through green [dot] campus [at] mcgill [dot] ca. Your ideas are welcome. Together, we can smooth the path and make a difference.

Thank you for your co-operation and the inconveniences, if any, you may be called upon to make.

Fore more informationplease refer to this Appendix

Pedestrians

As of May 2010, the entire downtown Lower Campus, including McTavish Street, is a pedestrian zone. We encourage pedestrians to circulate freely on both the campus sidewalks and roads, but suggest that you remain alert, particularly before 11:00 a.m. when limited vehicular traffic continues to be allowed for deliveries.

For more information on McGill’s Pedestrian zone please view the following brochure.

Cyclists

Cyclists not destined for McGill are invited to use the University Street bike path when connecting between Milton street and Sherbrooke or de Maisonneuve. Those coming to McGill or wishing to enjoy the campus are asked to dismount* and either park their bikes at one of the racks provided, or walk their bikes on campus.

*Important note: on McTavish St., the requirement to dismount bicycles is enforceable by the City of Montréal and fines may be imposed by the City.

 

Bike Parking

Please refer to the following map outlining the location of bike racks on McGill’s downtown campus

*Please avoid locking your bikes to railings/gates as it impedes the accessibility of the site by those with mobility impairments.  Cyclists should also avoid locking their bikes to trees as it can cause damage to the tree.

Cycling FAQ

 

I still  see motorized vehicles on campus – why are they still allowed while cyclists are not?

Deliveries of materials and supplies, not to mention access for the disabled and emergency vehicles are all necessary to the functioning of any large organization such as a university. We must therefore continue to allow deliveries, but these are now greatly restricted in nature, and limited to the hours of 7 a.m. – 11 a.m., only (some exceptions apply - see the following document for details).

Why can't pedestrians and mounted cyclists safely co-exist on campus?

McGill has had a number of pedestrian injuries reported in recent years due to collisions with cyclists. Once pedestrians become accustomed to the reduced amount of vehicular traffic on campus, we believe the risk of such injuries would increase, should cyclists be permitted to circulate as in the past. McGill’s primary concern is safety for all.

Why are there no bike paths on campus?

 

In the interest of pedestrian safety, a bicycle path along the side of the campus was considered preferable to one running through the heart of a busy campus where so many pedestrians crisscross back and forth across campus roads. As a result, McGill worked with the City on developing the University Street bike path, meeting the needs of the thousands of cyclists who cycle not only to the university, but also past McGill on their way downtown.

Why can exceptions not be made for particular times of day/year or for certain locations on campus?

It is important to note that McTavish Street is City property and is therefore mandated by and subject to City bylaws. As is the case in all City of Montreal pedestrian zones, bicycles may not be ridden in this zone at any time. McGill’s responsibility and concern for pedestrian safety is no less than the City’s. The same safety issues that informed the City of Montreal’s bylaws pertain to the campus pedestrian zone and the same standards apply.

Why, in the interest of a “Greener” McGill, are you discouraging cycling to campus?

 

McGill has had a number of pedestrian injuries reported in recent years due to collisions with cyclists. Once pedestrians become accustomed to the reduced amount of vehicular traffic on campus, we believe the risk of such injuries would increase, should cyclists be permitted to circulate as in the past. McGill’s primary concern is safety for all.

Why is campus security personnel entitled to ride bicycles on campus?

 

Security Services personnel are authorized to cycle on campus in order to ensure a quick response time in case of emergency. Our personnel have been trained by the SPVM Police in order to increase the safety of all persons on campus while maintaining the level of service expected by the McGill community.

 

Cycling Forum

On September 23rd, 2010, University Services and SSMU co-hosted an open forum on cyclist and pedestrian safety. The objective of this event was to provide an opportunity for members of the McGill community to share views in light of recent changes on the downtown lower campus that have impacted on pedestrians, cyclists and drivers of vehicles. A special emphasis was placed on how an appropriate balance can be struck between the needs of cyclists and pedestrians.

Following the introductions, there was a brief presentation delivered by Jim Nicell on the University Master Plan, the Green McGill project, and other considerations which informed the pedestrian-friendly campus initiative.

At the conclucion of Jim Nicell's presentation, the floor was opended for general discussion and commentary, moderated by David Harpp. For an overview of the open-floor discussion, please see the following document.

 

Motor Vehicle Circulation

Drivers of motor vehicles granted access to the campus must reduce their speed to below 15 km/h and give priority to pedestrians.

Lower Campus

  • Vehicle circulation on the Lower Campus is limited to emergency, delivery, service and certain construction vehicles, as well as those used by persons with disabilities or limited mobility. Emergency vehicles are permitted at all times.
  • The Milton entrance located at the corner of Milton Street and University Street is the main entrance for all authorized vehicles to enter campus. The Roddick entrance on Sherbrooke Street is now closed to all motorized vehicles, except emergency vehicles (i.e. ambulance, fire trucks, police).
  • Taxis do not have access to the interior of the Lower Campus, except when they are transporting persons with disabilities. (McGill Ancillary Services has notified Montreal Taxi companies.)

McTavish Street

  • Only authorized vehicles are permitted on McTavish, between Sherbrooke and Dr. Penfield Avenue.
  • To drop-off persons with disabilities and limited mobility near McTavish Street departments, services and the Faculty Club, taxis and other vehicles may use the public lanes between McTavish & Peel Streets. Access is also provided via the Brown Building, through to the University Centre from 8:00 a.m. until 5:15 p.m., Monday to Friday. Drop-off for this route is on the south side of Penfield, east of Peel.
  • Vehicle access for urgent, exceptional situations that cannot adhere to the normal access policies must be arranged through McGill Parking Services.

Parking and Circulation

The following document outlines the location and type of parking spaces available on the downtown campus.

Vehicles must enter campus at the Milton entrance, unless they are making a delivery.  

For more information on parking, please visit the following link.

Service Vehicles and Delivery

As part of the pedestrianization of McGill’s downtown campus, vehicular access to the campus has been restricted from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.  Deliveries occurring after 11 a.m. will be required to use off-campus unloading zones.

The Building Deliveries Map defines the buildings affected by these restrictions in addition to highlighting the on and off-campus loading zones.

Please follow this link to get specific information regarding vehicular access to campus as it pertains to construction vehicles, moving vehicles, couriers, taxis, visitor vehicles, emergency vehicles and disabled vehicles.

Parking Services

For more information regarding parking policies and procedures on McGill’s downtown and Macdonald campuses, please visit the Parking Services website

Persons with Disabilities

  • For information on McGill's Adapted Mobility Bus, please visit the following link.
  • All vehicles used by persons with disabilities, including the STM Para transit bus and taxi service, continue to have access to drive and park on the Lower Campus. The only change is that these vehicles must use the Milton entrance.
  • Measures have been taken for persons with disabilities to be able to reach McTavish Street destinations. To drop persons with disabilities and limited mobility near McTavish Street departments, services and the Faculty Club: Taxis and other vehicles may use the public lanes between McTavish & Peel Streets
  • Access is also provided via the Brown Building, through to the University Centre from 8:00am until 5.15pm, Monday to Friday. Drop off for this route is on the south side of Penfield, east of Peel. The McTavish Gate provides non-vehicle access to McTavish from the lower campus.
  • Designated parking spaces for persons with disabilities who hold official disability parking plates continue to be available and clearly marked.
  • For any questions or concerns, students should contact the Office for Students with Disabilities; faculty and staff should contact the Benefits Office of McGill's Department of Human Resources.
  • McTavish Street

    In early 2010, the Ville-Marie borough approved by-law CA-24-138 that transferred the management of the urban space on McTavish Street to McGill. On May 28th, 2010 the section of McTavish Street between Sherbrooke Street and Dr. Penfield Avenue was transformed into a pedestrian zone.  More specifically, street parking was eliminated, vehicle through-traffic was eliminated and deliveries were restricted to between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

    The City of Montreal’s designation of McTavish Street as a pedestrian zone means the City’s rules regarding pedestrian zones apply to this space. Those rules require that cyclists dismount and walk their bikes while in the pedestrian zone. 

    The creation of a pedestrian zone on McTavish Street is complementary to McGill’s Campus Greening initiative, designed to enhance the University’s natural environment, increase green space, decrease paved areas, improve landscaping, minimize motorized vehicles on the lower campus – and ultimately create a pleasant, green oasis within the downtown urban core.

    This project constitutes concrete action by the borough, and is one of a series of sustainable, sound measures that help make Montreal an urban, environmental leader.

    For more information please visit the Greening the Lower Campus page.