The (Milton) Gates of Hell

11 Sep, 2013

The Berlin Wall. The U.S.-Mexico border. The thick layer of insect repellent that lines the door to my apartment. What do all of these infamous barriers have in common?

They aren’t very good at keeping things out.

And now we have our very own wall to protect us from ourselves!

Ladies and gentlemen, in case you hadn’t noticed, the Milton Gates are now literally gates—gates which were apparently stolen from Canadian Tire. This change is inconvenient for everyone, especially for those of us who live close to campus (our supposed ability to wake up fifteen minutes before class and still grab a sweet spot in the classroom is now jeopardized). In addition to being inconvenient, the gates simply don’t work. People on bikes are mostly just casually biking through them, and when they don’t just bike through the gates they stop for a second to walk their bikes through and get right back on. Bikes don’t just create more traffic at the gate—some don’t even fit (when two people are walking in either direction), which kind of defeats the purpose. Though the other day I saw a young man thwarted by his plans to bike through the pearly gates, breaking his reflector in the process and pretending like it didn’t happen. He won’t be safe at night anymore. Awesome!

As of anytime-o-clock Eastern Standard Time, walking through campus is roughly as difficult as a summer camp obstacle course, except with a little less mud thanks to lower field’s sod-square facelift. Getting to class is more difficult (as if getting out of bed wasn’t difficult enough already), and traffic at Milton and University has gotten much worse. This traffic is thanks to not only the newly installed “bike gates,” but also the recently formed “Redpath-McLennan Cave”, located at the corner of “if you haven’t seen it yet you haven’t been on campus”.

I’m fully aware that I’m not the first person to criticize these gates in campus media, and I won’t be the last. The Daily (“Bikes on Parade”) offers solutions such as a bike lane that would allow students to safely cycle alongside pedestrians. That being said, maybe the cost of paint is more expensive than I had previously assumed. Maybe metal is cheaper.

There have been annoying construction projects going on for as long as I’ve been a student here. I know times are tough, dearest administration, but spending money on expensive construction projects is not an adequate response to coming second place in the ratings game. I highly doubt that the church pew benches installed last year outside of McLennan really helped anybody, not just because of how awkwardly placed they are.  Aren’t there other ways our tuition money could be spent?

For instance, we could use some staplers, which are no longer present in McLennan. 24-hour library access will also be sorely missed, especially for those of us who study after midnight and feel more comfortable in a library than a coffee shop.

Here’s a thought: Why don’t we build things that actually serve a purpose? Keeping campus “safe” is an important priority, but I don’t think these ridiculous bike gates are the best way to address it. I certainly don’t feel any safer due to the installation of these magical gates (that are supposed to force all the big bad cyclists to dismount). I would much rather see the administration address the safety issue by doing something productive instead of prohibitive, like designating more areas where student cards are required for access. Not by inconveniencing every single student—bikers and pedestrians alike—who uses the Milton Gates to get to class.

On the other hand, if our biggest problem is the people getting their exercise by biking through campus, I suppose we have it pretty good.

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