Office building installs bike racks, tickets cyclists who use them

The Vancouver Sun & Province Building aka Granville Square in Vancouver, BC, installed bike racks outside of their building. You’d think the bike racks are for parking bikes, right?

Molly Millar, the fashion editor for Momentum Magazine, rode her bike to her day job as a researcher at this Class A office building. At the end of the day, she was surprised to see a parking ticket on her bike!

bicycle parking ticket

The nonplussed Millar wrote the building management company, Cadillac Fairview about the ticket. Their response:

Hi Molly, We do like to encourage cycling to work and our tenants to think about being ‘green’ … but we also need to maintain the professional image of the building. We don’t want to encourage all day parking of bikes throughout our plaza, which would deter from this [professional image].

Granville Square Vancouver BC

It turns out the bike racks are for couriers only, with a 15 minute time limit for parking.

Cadillac Fairview highlights their green initiatives, including their “Green At Work” program for their Vancouver waterfront properties, on their website.

At Cadillac Fairview, we take pride in being industry leaders and adopting progressive environmental standards and practices that demonstrate our commitment to corporate social responsibility. The sucessful execution of company-wide green initiatives is being achieved through a detailed, measurable, and long-term program called GREEN AT WORK™. This program is national in scope; implemented at all properties, it has set operational benchmarks to reduce energy consumption and waste, improve environmental protection, and encourage sustainable procurement and ongoing communication with key stakeholders. GREEN AT WORK™ supports Cadillac Fairview’s ongoing commitment to corporate social responsibility with the belief that by working with our tenants, employees, suppliers, and customers we are “building sustainability together™”.

Update: After publication of this post, other people who work in that building pointed out to me that long term bike parking is available out of the way in the parking garage, with bike lockers for everyday bike commuters. The lockers are apparently assigned to individuals for a nominal annual fee. These outside racks frequently fill up, which makes it difficult for the couriers who depend on these racks for their jobs. It’s unclear to me what’s available on an ad hoc basis for occasional commuters and visitors who need to stay longer than 15 minutes.

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  1. @KillMoto

    I work in this building and have to sneak my bike up into the office. They are very strict about their no-bikes-upstairs rule.

    They do have pay parking for bikes in the parking garage for $20/yr.

  2. The building does offer secure bike storage for employees. These are temp spots for couriers or short visits. Not that big a deal that they might not want people parked in a spot all day intended for short term, but it probably could have been handled better.

  3. As a former bike courier, little surprised by this since many downtown buildings have signs saying that the racks are for bike couriers or visitors only, but rarely ever enforced. Obviously two racks outside a large tower isn’t going to be enough for all cycling tenants and they must have some underground parking.

    The “professional image” line, that’s wonderfully rich though, when they intend the racks to be used by dirty courier bikes.

  4. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the long-term bike parking thing (and, by the way, they’re wrong) they don’t know the difference between “deter” and “detract”. Which makes them very foolish people in my view.

  5. What about visitors who are staying longer than 15 minutes? Bike racks or lockers hidden away in a garage does absolutely nothing for them. And having bike racks in a visible location discourages thieves and encourages new riders. Out of sight = out of mind.

    The silliest part to me is that Molly has a very lovely bike that surely enhances the look of the plaza. Green company? Pah!

  6. I’m stuck on “We don’t want to encourage all day parking of bikes throughout our plaza, which would deter [sic] from this [professional image].” God forbid they come across as visible promoters of a healthy lifestyle choice.

  7. How do they know what bike belongs to whom, in order to issue a ticket… Do they boot the bike with a ticket, also? That would be extra lame!

  8. “It turns out the bike racks are for couriers only, with a 15 minute time limit for parking.”

    Seems like the kind of thing someone might want to put on a sign somewhere.

  9. I’ve seen those “tickets” in person – they’re not legally binding in any way, more a “please don’t leave your bike here all day” note. The ticket has a box for the number of “warnings” issued and I’ve seen the number go at least up to 2. I can’t remember if the ticket said it outright, but I got the sense that they might try to cut off a bike if too many warnings went unheeded.

    The building offers secured bicycle parking for $27 a year, which cannot be prorated.

    There is also a second small bike rack in the covered parking lot, near a service entrance, that does have a 15 minute courier warning posted – perhaps someone at Cadillac Fairview got confused which rack we’re talking about.

    I don’t want to make it seem like I’m too much of an apologist for CF/Granville Square (I do begrudge them for not prorating the bicycle parking fee), but the front of the building is currently under construction (as visible in picture), so the bike rack set-up in front of the building might not be intended as the long-term arrangement. The rack does fill up regularly, so someone arriving in the building at midday for an appointment or meeting and not being able to lock up is a valid concern.

    The wording on the note and in the email is pretty tone-deaf though.

  10. Seems like the bike rack is only their to get them LEED certification. I hope they they a bike lane in front of their property, that should really tick them off.

  11. Please tell us more about your progressive enviromental standards and corporate responsibility.I am most interested in examples of the detailed benchmarks you have achieved. Can you supply more detail on the sustainable procurement and communication with your key stakeholders in the GREEN AT WORKtm program? I’ve always been interested in social corporate responsibility and how companies build sustainibility with their associates. Great work!

  12. wow, really? still holding up that “professional image” banner like it’s the 50’s or something? excuse me while i go barf “professionally” in private…

  13. About the “take your bike into the office” comments. I’ve tried that, and got into some rather ridiculous arguments with our building’s security over it. Apparently Bentall also has a policy of no bikes in the buildings.

    I don’t want to slag them too much, as they do have a really nice bike room in the parkade, which I hope they’ll expand sometime in the near future (it’s pretty much always totally packed), but I’m also confused by the outdated idea of cycling to work being unprofessional. Personally, I think bringing bikes up to your office should be encouraged. It would take the burden of adding secure bike parking off of them, and move it to the tenants of the building.

    Presumably most “professionals” can be trusted to knock the mud off their tires, and not crowd people in the elevators. 😉

  14. It sounds like they need more outside parking so that everyone can use it. Pretty simple solution.

  15. What a load of B.S. – Do these Corporate morons have Copywriters that do nothing more than create Media Spiel to make them look “Responsible?” If they truly wanted to be responsible & maintain their ‘Professional Image’ encourage the use of cycling to eliminate the traffic & parking problems of single occupant vehicles. Take a clue from Denmark, Holland & Germany C.F.

  16. After reading the update I’m much less bothered by the way this is set up. It makes much more sense for employees to park their bikes in a closed off safe area while couriers just use the outside the building.

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