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Brookfield defends its removal of bikes at HBC Centre

Posted by Derek Flack / August 15, 2014

Brookfield bike theftDespite taking a ton of heat yesterday for its confiscation (some characterize it as theft) of bikes locked at Yonge and Bloor streets, Brookfield Properties stands behind its actions, citing pedestrian safety concerns. In an email response to our earlier inquiries, company spokesperson Matthew Cherry offered the following:

"As adjacent property owner, we have the right to remove a bike or otherwise affixed object to property and the TTC pole on the sidewalk outside of our building if it poses a perceived risk to pedestrians... There have been numerous instances at this location where pedestrians have tripped over or have otherwise been injured by bicycles affixed to the pole. We apologize to anyone who believed their bike was stolen and in the future endeavour to provide either a verbal or written warning before removing a bike or other property from a prohibited area."

Given the backlash in response to cyclist Lisa Ferguson's initial complaint that Brookfield had stolen her bike, it's at least somewhat surprising to see the company take this stance, particularly given that the city's stance is that TTC post from which security guards are removing bikes is on public property. The only concession Cherry offers is that security will try to better inform cyclists before removal of their bikes. That's all fine and everything, but how in the world was this not happening in the first place?

What do you think? Is Brookfield justified in taking its hard stance on removal of bikes near the Hudson's Bay Centre?



redefinition / August 15, 2014 at 02:35 am
Taking someone's property without their knowledge and storing it indefinitely without telling them is, in the parlance of our times, stealing.
redefinition / August 15, 2014 at 02:36 am
Like, how many bikes are sitting in that storage space, and how long have they been there?
Brookfield not wrong here... / August 15, 2014 at 02:48 am
I agree with Brookfied. What's the headline tomorrow when some idiot pedestrian trips on a chained bike and sues the city, TTC, brookfield, you name it, for millions of dollars. Just like that stupid girl who got "hot tim horton's tea" spilled on her and making a fuss about the temperature of the tea.
Freddy F / August 15, 2014 at 03:31 am
"As adjacent property owner..."

Ok, so if I own a house or apartment in a building, I now have carte blanche to go around cutting locks and taking bikes chained up on the public street in front of it, as they may pose a "perceived risk to pedestrians".

All those sue-happy people with faces buried in their phones, unaware of that bike lurking the sidewalk chained to a post, just waiting to jump out into their way and trip them. Sharpen those bolt cutters.
Joey / August 15, 2014 at 05:08 am
Brookfield Properties's actions are gross. Brookfield Properties is not Toronto.
Louis / August 15, 2014 at 05:52 am
If someone runs into a non moving bike locked to a non moving pole and hurts themselves, then I don't understand life because how. How is this a safety concern in our world people?!
Adam / August 15, 2014 at 06:47 am
Who cares?
Sean / August 15, 2014 at 07:06 am
A missed opportunity. Instead of Brookfield Properties stealing bikes and hiding them in storage, they could turn the storage into a bike parking lot.
Kat replying to a comment from Brookfield not wrong here... / August 15, 2014 at 07:19 am
I work just down the street from HBC and in the two years I've worked in that area, I've never seen anyone trip over a chained up bike. The sidewalks are wide enough pedestrians can easily maneuver around them and anyone who isn't paying attention enough to actually walk straight into a bike? That's not the fault of the bike itself or the bikes owner for chaining it there.
steve / August 15, 2014 at 07:58 am
This one time I parked my car on a publicly owned street and it got towed

True story
iSkyscraper / August 15, 2014 at 07:59 am
Try being a property owner sometime. People sue over anything. I don't really have a problem with Brookfield here. People are missing the fact that property owners are held legally liable for adjacent public sidewalks, even though they are not on their property per se.

But come on. The real culprit here is Rob Ford and the anti-cyclist mentality that he has been poisoning the city with since day one. The city is now officially a joke in North America (the only city to have built negative km of bike lanes in recent years) and needs much more proper bike infrastructure downtown so that people do not have to resort to chaining up to poles and trees and such.
Mar / August 15, 2014 at 08:03 am
Okay time to vandalize that building on a regular basis
Really replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / August 15, 2014 at 08:13 am
Either someone has taken his name or iscraper has lost all credibility with that stupid statement. If Brookfield has the right to confiscate anyone who parks in front of their property then so does everyone and we can all just start treating our neighbourhoods like spiderwebs for random bikes.

I'd love to know what the police position is on this.
hmmm / August 15, 2014 at 08:13 am
Reminds me of the stupid lady who while talking on her phone fell into a mall fountain.

Is Darwinism a viable defence in court? Maybe Brookfield could use that to show that the idiots who trip over bikes parked on the edges of wide pedestrian boulevards are at fault and they as adjacent property owners are not liable.

I live adjacent to my neighbour, does that mean I can start cutting things on his lawn, removing potted plants, and generally infringing on his property rights.

What a clusterf....
Cara / August 15, 2014 at 08:13 am
Allow me to translate the Brookfield rep's comment:

"Our lawyer wrote this and told me to repeat it exactly, because otherwise we risk admitting liability for our theft, which will make defending the impending lawsuits from bike owners even more impossible than they already will be."
This ain't over replying to a comment from Cara / August 15, 2014 at 08:18 am
Exactly. At this point anything else is admitting to mass theft
Perry Como / August 15, 2014 at 08:28 am
I can park at honest eds anytime I want.
Donna Papacosta / August 15, 2014 at 08:29 am
That is a very wide sidewalk. It's hard to believe that any sober person could trip over a chained bike. Why doesn't the property owner supply a proper bike rack?
Steve replying to a comment from Really / August 15, 2014 at 08:34 am
Defiantly a stolen name, the grammar and language is all wrong, and the backing up what he says is glaringly missing
Peter / August 15, 2014 at 08:34 am
If someone was injured by a bike at the disputed location, would Brookfield accept responsibility and compensate the injured person accordingly, or would Brookfield swiftly claim that they're not liable for injuries that occur on "adjacent property"?

sad / August 15, 2014 at 08:35 am
It's been said earlier, but we need more bike parking. There simply isn't enough in this city, so cyclists constantly have to resort to "creative" locations.
Ryan / August 15, 2014 at 08:35 am
I think this is symptomatic of a wider problem: people not taking responsibility for their own actions. Everyone wants to blame someone/something else when something happens to them.

Or maybe I'm reading into this too much.
Dan / August 15, 2014 at 08:36 am
It is the cyclists fault for locking their bikes on private property. If i left a bike on your property you would act in the same way

Well done on the part of Brookfield protecting pedestrians in the area from safety hazards
Parkdaler / August 15, 2014 at 08:45 am
Thats why I drive

Keep bikes in the parks and on the bike trails or take them to the cottage
Jeff / August 15, 2014 at 08:46 am
The real truth is probably something like "We think bikes are ugly in front of our store" so they found some excuse to remove them.

If some asshat can't see a locked up bike and runs into it, theyn they are also the same asshat thats going to run into a pole, newspaper box, homeless guy, bench, name it. So why not remove those too?

This press release is clearly just them trying to backtrack with a transparently lame excuse to justify their actions. Get over yourself Brookfield. You building is an eyesore to start with, and locked up bikes aren't making it any worse.
Wow replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 08:47 am
It's not their fucking property dimwit. Do you even read?
Win Win / August 15, 2014 at 08:47 am
Really its the same thing as parking a car illegally and having it towed. You get no notice, no warning just find your car gone. Its up to the driver to then call around and find where there car is.

I think there response us fine as long as they put signage up stating no bicycles allowed here. Thats what all the comments yesterday were stating "no signage - what?"

Now we will get the signage we all thought should be there in the first place. This is a big win making a mega company change for the better!!
Babywilf / August 15, 2014 at 08:47 am
This is outrageous. 1) where is the signage saying you can't park your bike there? 2) why does a store own a random piece of sidewalk in the first place? 3) even by the rationale that they are liable for accidents, the bike wasn't on their property 4) many cyclists bike because they can't afford to travel otherwise. Who is going to reimburse her for that lock? They are about $90.
Private interests should not be overruling public life in this way.
W. K. Lis replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 08:49 am
The city owns the sidewalk in front of every property. That's city property that the TTC pole was on, not the property owner, making it public property.
Jake replying to a comment from Louis / August 15, 2014 at 08:50 am
There is a reason for this, which they didn't acknowledge.


Brookfield wants to avoid the embarrassment of being sued by some idiot who couldn't stop checking her selfies on the ipoon.
bixi / August 15, 2014 at 08:50 am
what does HBC have to say about this?

cyclists may want to threaten a boycott until their landlord starts acting more humane.
Jess / August 15, 2014 at 08:51 am
Now that Brookfield has responded abd is taking action. Its time to now put pressure on councillor Wong Tam to get the proper amount of city bike racks in the area. Has Wong Tam even responded to this yet?
gdot replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 08:52 am
Are you an idiot? IT IS CITY PROPERTY!!!!
Shaun / August 15, 2014 at 08:54 am
Brookfield is only removing the bikes because it doesn't look nice in their fancy neighborhood (this is probably a request coming from the stores that operate in the area). It has nothing to do with Public Safety, show me a police/medical report discussing public safety and a bike locked to a pole.

Don't shop in this location.
Doug / August 15, 2014 at 08:55 am
Forget the companies what does the areas coucillor kristyn wong Tam have to say about this and the lack of city installed bike racks in the area?

This is an election year, should we boycott voting for her?
mbbb / August 15, 2014 at 08:55 am
There is no signage, because you can park your bike there. Its completely legal.
Andy / August 15, 2014 at 08:59 am
YES IT IS CITY PROPERTY! Therefore the city representative kristyn wong Tam is responsible for resolving this. Fine we can't lock to a pole,where are the other bike racks? Why wasnt this addressed long ago? Lack of city services and looking after the needs in the area.
Alex replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / August 15, 2014 at 08:59 am
The problem with that argument, and many arguments on here, is: THEY DON'T OWN THE PROPERTY THEY'RE STEALING THE BIKES FROM!!. There's plenty of space around it and it says TTC on the pole. It's pretty cut and dry. Only the city can make that call, and if they do, there should be a sign saying bikes will be removed. The way Brookfield went about this is very strange and just plain wrong.
Bubba / August 15, 2014 at 08:59 am
i'm building a bike with a pole attached to it, lets see them take that! HA!

Anyone want in on this?

I'm thinking a ten foot pole welded to the bike streamlined for aerodynamics,
solid stainless steel.

Dan / August 15, 2014 at 09:02 am
Does not really matter if it is private or public property...

We dont need bikes obstructing sidewalks and creating safety/ tripping hazards
Ray / August 15, 2014 at 09:02 am
This is completely fine. Whats OUTRAGEOUS is the lack of city bike racks on one of the busiest spots in the country. I dont care what brookfield does with one pole where are the racks for us?
October27 / August 15, 2014 at 09:04 am
Did Olivia Chow ban bike racks or something?
Peter M / August 15, 2014 at 09:05 am
The bikes stolen and vandalized by Brookfield are on the widest sidewalk in Toronto! What a bunch of vain liars. They should be charged. If I damaged their property, the cops would probably arrest me within the hour.
Donna / August 15, 2014 at 09:07 am
The roblem with any arguement is that we don't even know if the city or the area's councillor is on our side in this or not. We can scream its city property all we want but where is the citys arguement in this?
LEE / August 15, 2014 at 09:08 am
Guys just relax and lets all go to the EX :)
Vicki replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 09:12 am
Except it's not private property, Dan. Try reading the article.
Sean / August 15, 2014 at 09:13 am
So Brookfield has defended itself. Is the city going to defend us and its property on this, or have we just lost this battle ftom lack of city support?
David / August 15, 2014 at 09:14 am
Property Adjacent???

What a new excuse for tampering with public and private property. If this property management has concern then they should contact TTC for removal of the bikes. If you use their logic, they have the right to remove a bum on the sidewalk as he is also a risk to pedestrians.
thurston replying to a comment from Brookfield not wrong here... / August 15, 2014 at 09:14 am
Firstly, that was the in the US and I'd like to think we're not at litigious as Americans. Secondly, thinking that Brookfield has a valid point is simply silly (and now that I think of it, very Fordian). The only way I'll think this is even feasible as a statement is if they release numbers of lawsuit filed against them for this. This thing is the exact same concept as saying that my kids are playing in the front yard and the cars parked on the road means they could unknowingly run traffic. According to Brookfield, I can tow the car.
Vicki replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 09:14 am
Dan, the sidewalk there is very wide. Take a look at the picture. If you think a parked bike is a trip hazard, then so is a mailbox or a stop sign or a garbage can. Perhaps we should remove all street furniture from our sidewalks.
Reg / August 15, 2014 at 09:14 am
Good idea lets all go enjoy the EX. Im sure the city and kristyn wong Tam will respond sometime next week or the week after that.
Thurston replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 09:19 am
Dear Dan,

This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard today.

Your opinion is idiotic. I hope someone tows your car or steals your garbage cans from the edge of the street.
iSkyscraper / August 15, 2014 at 09:23 am
This is more interesting the more I look into it.

It seems the key argument here is who has liability for the sidewalk. There is no doubt it is publicly owned. The question is who is liable in the case of it being covered in snow, cracked, obstructed, etc.

This varies by city. In New York and many other places, for example, the city rudely downloaded all sidewalk liabilities onto the adjacent property owner (or even retail tenant), making it entirely their fault if there is a problem. Tree roots messing up your sidewalk? You pay to fix it. Slip and fall? Your fault. Someone trips on a bike chained out front? Your problem. Under such an outlook, you could see how an adjacent property owner might seize a bicycle and store it in order to avoid getting held liable themselves in the case of a problem.

I thought it was this way in Toronto also given all the huff and puff every winter about snow-clearing bylaws. But it turns out to not be the case. It seems that in Toronto the municipality holds all liability. To quote this legal blog with reference to Toronto sidewalks:

"Only in exceptional circumstances will liability be found against the adjacent property owner."

In that case, Brookfield has no argument. The bikes might pose an issue but even if that were to be the case they would not be held liable. Therefore they have no right to touch them.

It would be great if a legal authority could clear this up, as everything hinges on this point. BlogTO writers, time to call up a lawyer and straighten this out!
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from Jeff / August 15, 2014 at 09:25 am
As to motive, you are no doubt correct. Most corporate property owners hate the chaos of bikes parked near their buildings and it was the visuals that certainly originated this.
Rafa / August 15, 2014 at 09:29 am
If this is allowed to happen with out any repercussions or the city stepping in, this literally sets a precedent where any shop owner on any street can legally steal bikes off of the sidewalk. Ridiculous!
tk / August 15, 2014 at 09:31 am
More bike parking
D replying to a comment from Brookfield not wrong here... / August 15, 2014 at 09:33 am
That girl who had tea spilled on her from Tim Hortons has second degree burns and is currently going daily to a burn unit for treatments, and once she's healed will not be able to expose her skin to the sun for at least a year - so it's a bit more serious than someone getting an ouchy and making a fuss about it.

And as several other commentors have stated, these bikes are parked on public property, where is it 100% legal for them to park it.
blame the lawyers / August 15, 2014 at 09:34 am
People too easily arrive at anti-corporation sentiment. Look -- whether it's private or public property, doesn't matter, or bike or anti-bike, or theft or no theft -- it's us as a society who have "enabled" idiots and their lawyers (who are all gonna go to hell) to sue just about anything and everything. THAT's the heart of the issue. Otherwise why would a multi-billion corporation care about something so petty? Aesthetics? Lol, don't be stupid and naive. Anti-bike? They're laughing that this even got brought up. Stealing bikes? Sure, Brookfield's CEO need a few for his family... don't be stupid. This is all about MONEY and AVOIDANCE of LIABILITY through and through, and they did the right thing here. No space to park a bike, well don't blame HBC or TTC or Brookfield, maybe don't elect Wong-Tam next time for this gross oversight.
Not much love for Brookfield here / August 15, 2014 at 09:35 am
My girlfriend agonized over whether or not to report a sexual assault by one of their employees a few years ago, only to have the WORST experience with the supervisor she brought the report to. Made her feel far more traumatized than the actual incident. Just a really fucked-up corporate culture there. I realize that many companies goof and are temporarily tone-deaf to PR issues from time-to-time, it happens. But these guys are completely out of step with the public, and in the most bizarre ways possible. Not cool, work on that, Brookfield.
chris / August 15, 2014 at 09:36 am
This is total bullshit. Maybe if we keep this thread going we can shut down BlogTO and make some news!!!
jen replying to a comment from Reg / August 15, 2014 at 09:37 am
Dear Reg, Donna, Dan, Doug, etc etc etc....the area councillor HAS responded to this issue, and in support of the cyclist. If you weren't a wretched troll you would know that.

Stop being a wretched troll.
James / August 15, 2014 at 09:39 am
If the bikes are parked / chained in public side walk, and there is no sign making it illegal to park there, then brookfield has no right touching them nor removing them. The bloor / bay / younge area is not bike friendly, is a very busy area that did not adapted to the increase of bike use. Basically private companies have no right to take property from public side walks.
Blair / August 15, 2014 at 09:40 am
Typical private security mentality. Give a relatively uneducated individual limited authority... and they abuse it. Very surprised to hear, however, that the direction came from Brookfield and, above all, that they are defending their actions. Perhaps they are trying to save face now, but this is clearly outside of their jurisdiction, being that it is a publicly owned sign within the public right-of-way. Cutting locks is destruction of property, and removal and storage of bicycles without consent or notice, and holding them indefinitely, is stealing. I would be extremely surprised if this doesn't result in a class action lawsuit, which they deserve. They should be embarrassed.
Mike / August 15, 2014 at 09:40 am
This is fucking bullshit. I hope those who have had their bikes stolen pursue legal advice. Hope you guys will sue them for illegal activity. They must have hundreds of bikes in storage (or were they sold?)
lol replying to a comment from blame the lawyers / August 15, 2014 at 09:43 am
Except no lawyer has ever sued anyone over this, ever. People like you that think there are predatory lawyers waiting around every corner are the same idiots that steal bikes to protect themselves from these boogeymen.
OKSO / August 15, 2014 at 09:47 am
iSkyscraper's last comment makes a good point. A few additional things that people keep saying, that are incorrect:

1. "This is private property"
No, it isn't. Wong-Tam even tweeted the boundary lines that show it is city property.

2. "They shouldn't be chaining their bike to a pole anyway"
Actually, it is legal. The by-law was amended in 2012. It is legal to attach your bike to a signpost or other similar piece of street furniture if no bike racks are available.

3. "They should at least post a sign"
No, they shouldn't, because they don't own the post and therefore have no legal right to take bikes from it, let alone post a sign on it.
Dennis / August 15, 2014 at 09:56 am
ok cool, so next time i run into a bike on a pole, I know I can then sue the building next to it. If Brookfield is worried enough to steal bikes, then it must be a pretty solid case.

Every day I see a story like this, I feel bad for the private security guard in the not-too-distant-future who will receive the torrents of rage I am building up against their kind.
Dennis replying to a comment from blame the lawyers / August 15, 2014 at 09:57 am
To the people blaming Rob Ford, lawyers and society, or generally sticking up for Brookfield... NO. You're actually the problem- ignorance and selfishness.
Call a Spade a Spade / August 15, 2014 at 09:59 am
Mr.A / August 15, 2014 at 10:02 am
It's theft, pure and simple.

From the Criminal Code;

"322. (1) Every one commits theft who fraudulently and without colour of right takes, or fraudulently and without colour of right converts to his use or to the use of another person, anything, whether animate or inanimate, with intent

(a) to deprive, temporarily or absolutely, the owner of it, or a person who has a special property or interest in it, of the thing or of his property or interest in it;"

They can throw up a smokescreen about 'public safety' but it's removing someone's private property from a public place where it is legally parked, period. Brookfield isn't in charge of public safety. Brookfield doesn't own the sidewalk, Brookfield has no legal right to deprive people of their property.
Skye replying to a comment from Blair / August 15, 2014 at 10:03 am
I'm unsurprised by Brookfield's reaction, sadly. Commercial landlords are also very good at abusing their powers, and I've no doubt they ordered any bikes within viewing range of the HBC doors be confiscated.

Add in private security guards, who are all too happy to play at being real cops, and you get a mess like this.

What Brookfield's statement really says is "we think the bikes are icky, and we want to keep on getting rid of them even though it's totally illegal to do so, so we really hope you buy our lame "public safety" excuse and move along".

Voiceof Reason / August 15, 2014 at 10:06 am
you people need to get a stronger bike lock that way your bike will stop getting stolen all the time
Call a Spade a Spade / August 15, 2014 at 10:07 am
A bike protest should be organized! Fill that whole corner with bikes locked up to everything. #BikeLockdownTO #fuckbrookfield
T / August 15, 2014 at 10:09 am
Maybe if you guys owned a business you would know the laws a little better before speaking nonsense. All of of you hippies need to open a book and just stop being so ignorant.

8-2-6 Adjacent Owners' Duty to Maintain Sidewalks.Go to the top
(a) No owner of property within the city shall fail to maintain the sidewalk on or adjacent to the owner's property in good repair and safe, unobstructed condition.

(b) If the city manager finds that any portion of a sidewalk does not meet the standards prescribed in section 8-2-17, "When Sidewalks are to be Constructed or Reconstructed," B.R.C. 1981, the manager may require that the owner of the sidewalk or property adjacent to the sidewalk repair or replace the non-complying portion to bring it into conformity with city standards.

(c) If the city manager determines to proceed under subsection (b) of this section, the manager shall notify the property owner of the duty to repair or replace, that such owner has thirty days from the date of the notice to commence such repair or replacement and has sixty days from the date of the notice to complete such repair or replacement, and that the city will share in the cost of the work as provided in subsection (e) of this section. The manager may include in the notice, as an alternative, an agreement whereby the city will make the repairs within twelve months, and the owner will pay to the city as its share of the costs as provided in subsection (e) of this section the amount specified in the agreement within thirty days of completion of the repairs, as determined by the manager. The manager may extend the time limit if weather would impede the work. Notice under this section is sufficient if it is mailed first class to the address of the last known owner of property on the records of the Boulder County Assessor, or hand delivered to an owner.

(d) If the property owner fails to commence or complete repair or replacement as required by the notice prescribed by subsection (c) of this section, or to sign and return to the city manager an agreement included in such notice as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the manager may perform the repair or replacement and charge the costs thereof, plus up to fifteen percent for administrative costs, to the property owner.

(e) With the prior agreement of the city manager, and subject to the availability of sufficient appropriated funds for the purpose, the city will share in the cost of the repair or replacement in an amount equal to fifty percent of the cost that the city would have incurred to perform the work.

(f) If any person fails or refuses to pay when due any charge imposed under this section, including any agreed charge, the city manager may, in addition to taking other collection remedies, certify due and unpaid charges to the Boulder County Treasurer for collection as provided by section 2-2-12, "City Manager May Certify Taxes, Charges, and Assessments to County Treasurer for Collection," B.R.C. 1981.

(Ordinance No. 5660 (1994))

8-2-7 Duty to Maintain Ditche
Mr.A replying to a comment from T / August 15, 2014 at 10:17 am
And what does this say about removing private property that legally occupies the public sidewalk?

It's not a maintenance issue about the sidewalk, so this is moot.
Blair replying to a comment from T / August 15, 2014 at 10:22 am
This text pertains inits entirety to physical maintenance and reconstruction of the concrete sidewalk adjacent to the private property frontage. Do you understand how to read and interpret legal text?
Blair replying to a comment from T / August 15, 2014 at 10:23 am
It also has to do with snow removal and salting.
craig / August 15, 2014 at 10:28 am
Thank you to the OKSO for pointing this out:

"3. "They should at least post a sign"
No, they shouldn't, because they don't own the post and therefore have no legal right to take bikes from it, let alone post a sign on it."

Mr.A / August 15, 2014 at 10:31 am
It also says to refer to the records of the Boulder County Assessor.

Could you maybe get a statute from this country?
Municiple Code / August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am
Actually, Brookfield is hiding behind section 743-41-A of the municipal code, but it's a poor interpretation given the city's other by-laws on bike parking.
Blair replying to a comment from T / August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am
"Maybe if you guys owned a business you would know the laws a little better before speaking nonsense. All of of you hippies need to open a book and just stop being so ignorant."

I find it interesting that someone so outright condescending towards nearly all other commenters, claiming wide-spread ignorance, and knowing better because he/she is a "business owner", could be so horribly and blatantly incorrect in his/her interpretation of the law. Is your name Rob? Why don't you just keep quiet if you don't know what you're talking about.
me / August 15, 2014 at 10:39 am
FIRST, the extent of Brookfield's property can be viewed here, indicating that that it doesn't extend to the road:

SECOND, the City of Toronto by-law *allowing* bikes to be locked to poles is here:
"Sub section 743-9P shall not prohibit the chaining, locking or attaching of a bicycle that, in the General Manager's opinion, is in good operating condition and is not chained, locked or attached so as to damage or interfere with the use of municipal property or an authorized encroachment."

THIRD, it would seem Brookfield is applying by-law 743-41, i.e., "...keep the sidewalks and walkways surrounding the premises free from obstruction by ... other encumbrances that may interfere with the safe and convenient passage of pedestrians":
"743-41. Clearing sidewalks and walkways.
A. Every occupant and, where there is no occupant, the owner of every house, shop, building, lot or parcel of land, and every person having charge or care of any church, school or other public building fronting or abutting on any street where public or private sidewalks and walkways are present, shall sweep and keep the sidewalks and walkways surrounding the premises free from obstruction by vegetation, dirt, dust, litter and other encumbrances that may interfere with the safe and convenient passage of pedestrians."

FOURTH, this legal case has some commonalities (i.e., someone tripped and was injured), and found that in areas of high traffic (say, Bloor East?), a higher standard of care is required (by the city).
"The sidewalk in question is in a high pedestrian traffic area ... . The intensity of pedestrian traffic is a factor, in my view, in assessing the adequacy of the [city's] response in dealing with defects and trip hazards."

So, it seems with a cursory review that Brookfield may be acting within the law, regardless of how ridiculous it may be. It also may be a question of whether Brookfield or the City of Toronto is legally responsible for obstructions by encumbrances that may interfere with the safe and convenient passage of pedestrians, at the same time that the City has passed a by-law that explicitly does not prohibit the locking bikes that do not damage or interfere with the use of municipal property (say, the sidewalk?). The other legal case suggests that high traffic areas require a greater level care by the City (not necessarily the property owner).
alex / August 15, 2014 at 10:52 am
Simple Solution:

More bike parking stations in high-traffic areas like the Bay, the Eaton Centre, etc.
Yonge Street especially would do well. No visible locking stations = cyclists use poles.

The problem with poles is that the bike will definitely get knocked, and lay flat on the ground posing a tripping threat.

the lemur / August 15, 2014 at 11:05 am
It's not their property, so they can't remove things from it. That's theft.

They have *some* responsibility for the upkeep of the sidewalk in front of the property, but they are exaggerating the safety issue as a cover for not wanting to see bikes out front. The bikes are a tripping hazard only if you're not looking where you're going.

On top of that, security guards (people who are generally too short and/or too stupid to become cops) are prone to do everything they're asked to do by management because they lack the critical thinking skills to assess a situation like this.

C-dub / August 15, 2014 at 11:07 am
Let's also email the city and request numerous city-approved bike rings be installed in front of 2 Bloor St. West. Then Brookfield won't be able to cut those locks.

As per the City of Toronto website to suggest locations for Bike Rings:

Please direct bicycle locking ring request to:
C-dub replying to a comment from C-dub / August 15, 2014 at 11:09 am
Sorry, that address should read "2 Bloor St. East" as that is the Brookfield Property address.
Reg / August 15, 2014 at 11:16 am
Wong-Tam admits the city needs to address a lack of bike parking spaces and general "bike unfriendliness" in the area.


Parker replying to a comment from Reg / August 15, 2014 at 11:20 am
KWT was on CBC's Metro Morning saying that the TTC pole is on public property and that Brookfield should not be removing bikes. She said they owe Lisa Ferguson a new lock and an apology for her trouble.

Further, she said that the BIA is a hindrance to bike parking.
Reg replying to a comment from Parker / August 15, 2014 at 11:31 am
YES I know she gave HER opinion on the CBC. BUT WHAT SHE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
steve wire replying to a comment from Brookfield not wrong here... / August 15, 2014 at 11:35 am
Bikes have been locked to posts for as long as I can remember (I'm 44) and I can't remember one incidence of a person suing the city after tripping over one. I call bullshit.
Ching Chong Chang replying to a comment from Reg / August 15, 2014 at 11:36 am
I am surprised that Olivia Chow has not tied herself to that TTC post with a bike lock as a photo-op! Where is she? Maybe she went to visit the Iron Sheik?
Kathy / August 15, 2014 at 11:43 am
Unfortunate that her bike was taken/broken. However, the TTC signs are NOT bicycle racks. You take a chance leaving your bike there. Perhaps the TTC should post signs to that effect and maybe companies effected by similar incidents could consider bicycle racks for persons visiting their location.
Kabeer El Kabob replying to a comment from Call a Spade a Spade / August 15, 2014 at 11:43 am
I just return from 6 month trip to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. I specialize in IED and other fun fireworks. You need special bicycle for that post, I make good one for you
chris richards / August 15, 2014 at 11:46 am
Right. So the bikes locked to poles are a "safety concern", but the poles themselves aren't...

Just stop stealing peoples' bikes.
Seriously? replying to a comment from Adam / August 15, 2014 at 11:47 am
If you had a bike stolen, you'd care.
Michael / August 15, 2014 at 11:51 am
Look at the pavers. They extend from the building past the property line to the street.

At some point this design was approved by the city. You can imagine that 30 years later the line between private and public would be blurred and forgotten.

The city should be vigilant in delineating the property line through consistent landscape design.

It's still not too late to tear it up and fix it.
TQ replying to a comment from Louis / August 15, 2014 at 11:53 am
If it's a safety issue and people are tripping over the bikes...would it then be within Brookfields rights to remove the pole when people bump into it???? What a ridiculous reason. If they are so concerned about safety they should put a nice bike rack in front because PEOPLE RIDE THEIR BIKES DOWNTOWN!!!!
Grant replying to a comment from Kathy / August 15, 2014 at 12:00 pm
Obviously poles are not racks, but you take no chance locking up to a pole on public property because this practice is legal and happens all over the city where there is no bike parking. In fact, the city acknowledged this and amended municipal bylaws permitting the practice.

Brookfield is wrong and their actions are theft. Much like the BIA, they don't want bikes out front because they aren't classy or whatever.

me replying to a comment from Kathy / August 15, 2014 at 12:09 pm

WHEREAS City Council, at its meeting of February 6 and 7, 2012, adopted, as amended Public Works and Infrastructure Committee Item 9.10, and thereby amended Chapter 743, Streets and Sidewalks, Use of, of The Toronto Municipal Code ...

WHEREAS City Council has subsequently directed that the prohibition on the locking of bicycles to municipal property
or authorized encroachments be clarified

Chapter 743, Streets and Sidewalks, Use of, of The City of Toronto Municipal Code is amended by adding the following subsection to § 743-9:

Sub section 743-9P SHALL NOT PROHIBIT the chaining, locking or attaching of a bicycle that, in the General Manager's opinion, is in good operating condition and is NOT CHAINED, LOCKED OR ATTACHED SO AS TO DAMAGE OR INTERFERE WITH THE USE OF MUNICIPAL PROPERTY or an authorized encroachment.
seanm / August 15, 2014 at 12:10 pm
Brookfield's reasoning makes no sense. Their are proper bike posts in the same periphery as the signs that people have locked their bikes to, so why don't they pose the same hazard? The city bylaws clearly state that locking bikes to public posts (such as the TTC one) is legal in the case of insufficient bike parking (which is a major issue here).

Additionally, these are some of the widest sidewalks in the entire city, and anyone who can't successfully navigate around a few parked bikes needs to take a long walk off a short pier. Accountability for your actions people.

No, this just reeks of a corporate NIMBY attitude and a gross misuse of power. This is not a safety hazard. Brookfield needs to cease this activity immediately and owes every single person affected new bike locks. Hopefully Brookfield gets their ass handed to them, but knowing this city it likely won't happen.

If it comes to war, I suggest locking bikes and just shit in general everywhere. Lock their door handles together, clutter the entire property. Show them what a safety hazard really looks like.
seanm / August 15, 2014 at 12:11 pm
That first sentence should ready "there are proper..." rookie mistake.
Reg replying to a comment from Ching Chong Chang / August 15, 2014 at 12:11 pm
What costume would she wear for the Photo Op? I'm thinking Olivia Dressed as friendly bike lock.
Bart replying to a comment from Rick / August 15, 2014 at 12:24 pm
Hi Troll!
Daniel / August 15, 2014 at 12:24 pm
Yeah so Wong-Tam has identified and acknowledged there is an issue in her Ward and has said Brookfield needs to sort this out.

Wong-Tam said the long-term solution is better biking infrastructure in the city and more clarity on where people are allowed to park bikes.

And you're all satisfied with the response? She's leaving it up to Brookfield and the long term cycling solution to rectify this. Sounds Great Right!?
Troll / August 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm
This falls right into Olivia Chow's plans. She's increasing bus service by 10% less bikes means more TTC ridership which validates the increase in bus service. BRILLIANT!
me / August 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm

"The program to remove abandoned and derelict bikes from the public Right-of-Way is run primarily by Right-of Way Management and Litter Operations. There are two different processes in place to deal with derelict bikes which have been reported as abandoned.

One is complaint driven:

If a bike is inoperable (flat tires, rusty drive train, stripped down or missing parts) and is attached, locked or chained to municipal infrastructure for more than 24 consecutive hours, it will be removed without notice.

If the bicycle is intact and rideable, Right-of-Way Management (ROW) By-law enforcement, will tag the bike giving the owner 14 days to remove the bike or respond that it is not abandoned. If there is no response ROW will forward a request to Solid Waste, Litter Operations, to remove it.

Bicycles are removed under TMC Chapter 743(H)"
? / August 15, 2014 at 12:39 pm
What this makes me wonder is, how long has this been going on? Not only at this HBC location, but all over downtown? How many bicycles that we assume were stolen were actually taken by landlords?
problemo / August 15, 2014 at 12:40 pm
First world problemo
Lauren / August 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm
Trip over a chained bike? How does someone run into a PARKED bike let alone trip over it? We're not talking about a small crack in the sidewalk people are tripping over, we're talking about a entire fricken BICYCLE. It's like "opps sorry I tripped on your car that I didn't see, even though it's a car which is kind of hard to miss..BECAUSE IT'S A CAR"

This is the dumbest thing I've heard of- they don't even own the property.
stan / August 15, 2014 at 12:58 pm
How much media and internet bandwidth has been spent on this $200 bike already. Enough is enough. Got it a bike was taken. Can wr get the media focused back on real issued that effect us all like the mayoral election, Ukranian, Syria, mental health, etc. This issue effected 1 person that went to Brookfield for a client$ meeting.
Grant #1 / August 15, 2014 at 01:11 pm
Has anyone else checked the Google streetview of the spot on Bloor?,-79.38592,3a,75y,337.78h,68.83t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sFL-qcTyQgBohufSqrK1k7Q!2e0

Funny enough, there are two bikes locked to the pole in the picture! Actually, as a cyclist myself, I wouldn't lock my bike to that pole. It actually really is right in the middle of the sidewalk. It's not like the positioning of the bike posts which are off to the side. Mostly, I'm surprised the pole is even placed there. it's in a bad location for pedestrian flow, and I could understand how bikes locked there could be considered a nuisance. We cyclists shouldn't leave our bikes anywhere we like just because it's convenient for us.
Yoshi replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 01:25 pm
OK Dan...Maybe they'll replace every third car parking space with a bike rack. Would that be better? How come a bike on a pole is a safety hazard, but two backs on a city bike thingy (which is really just a short pole, often beside the other poles) is okay?
me replying to a comment from Grant #1 / August 15, 2014 at 01:30 pm
"We cyclists shouldn't leave our bikes anywhere we like just because it's convenient for us."

We can leave bikes there because it's legally permitted by the City of Toronto for us to do so, in addition to being convenient. It's similar to cars legally parked on streets, which arguably impede the flow of traffic. Suggesting that all bikes should be locked at bike racks is like suggesting that all cars should be parked in parking lots.
SkyBlue / August 15, 2014 at 01:31 pm
How exactly are the bikes a "safety concern" when the sidewalk is at least 40 feet wide there. Yes, it is a huge sidewalk. If the bikes are a safety concern, surely the pole is too because someone will be dumb enough to walk into it.

I would like to meet these people that tripped over the bikes locked to that pole.
RS replying to a comment from steve / August 15, 2014 at 01:36 pm
And did you get a notice of where you could pick up your impounded car, or did you assume it was stolen and gone forever?
EastEndErin / August 15, 2014 at 02:15 pm
By this logic, the TTC pole should go too. What if I walk into it while not paying attention?
Chomsky / August 15, 2014 at 02:39 pm
So Brookfield thinks HBC shoppers, RBC clients et al are too stupid to not walk into parked bikes on a sidewalk 3X wider than elsewhere in the city.

More like class warfare.

Tim replying to a comment from RS / August 15, 2014 at 02:59 pm
No I've personally never received notice about my car being impounded. How are they going to notify you leave your a note on the curb? There is no notification. Even sometimes the city uses tow trucks to move your car to another street while they snow plow. SO FRUSTRATING!
David replying to a comment from Win Win / August 15, 2014 at 03:34 pm
It isn't really. It's more like me deciding to break into a car parked legally on the road in front of my house and moving it into my own garage because I think it's in the way of my property.
salgood replying to a comment from Brookfield not wrong here... / August 15, 2014 at 07:50 pm
Yeah that was not a frivolous lawsuit, and we don't really have a problem with those in canada.
salgood replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 07:51 pm
Hey Dan, it's NOT private property! TTC owns it, so it's public, and they have said locking a bike to it is fine, and they get NO complaints.
BigBob replying to a comment from Jack Thats who! / August 15, 2014 at 08:02 pm
Jack only hit that newspaper box because he was ogling some guy walking on the other side of the street instead of looking where he was walking!
dglenn replying to a comment from Brookfield not wrong here... / August 16, 2014 at 07:12 am
ummm, not the same as the Tim's hot tea at all!
the bikes chained to a poll on PUBLIC property is none of brookfield's business!
It's amazing to me that corporations have come to have more rights (or so they assume) than actual people.
dglenn replying to a comment from Sean / August 16, 2014 at 07:18 am
Sean, great idea!
"A missed opportunity. Instead of Brookfield Properties stealing bikes and hiding them in storage, they could turn the storage into a bike parking lot."

Conky replying to a comment from Reg / August 16, 2014 at 08:22 am
Going to the EX is a prize of an idea...but let's wait for the Top 10 Things to See at the Ex list first, then lets head to a new brewpub in the Junction/Parkdale anywhere west of Yonge where we can act all indie and smug while we mock people who drink anything other than Hipster IPA.
Toronto Love Bikes! replying to a comment from dglenn / August 16, 2014 at 08:35 am
Call it a corporation but I call them a property owner. I've seen multiple cases in Toronto where private homeowners downtown have put up a no locking bikes sign themselves in front of their house because they have a fence or a street sign on the side walk.
Edward Gonsalves / August 16, 2014 at 03:08 pm
This was nothing but theft and their trying to defend the indefensible.

Just give the stolen bikes back to their rightful owners.

It stinks.
pissed / August 18, 2014 at 11:26 am
People need to stand up to these corporate fucks. How dare they steal other peoples properties. FUCK BROOKFIELD PROPERTIES. BOYCOTT THE FUCKERS
Over stepped / August 18, 2014 at 01:08 pm
Seriously, Brookfield has over stepped and legal action needs to be taken against them. The recent actions by them is inexcusable. Could say a lot more but what I would say and more is already posted above.
Perry Como / August 19, 2014 at 08:50 am
Honest ed had my car towed away
Spike replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / August 21, 2014 at 10:07 am
Okay, buddy, according to WHOM is Toronto a 'joke'? Please supply evidence in the form of any opinion pieces other than your own (like articles)or stop repeating and talking bullshit that may not be true and most likely is just envy/schadenfrude from people tired of hearing about Toronto.
Spike replying to a comment from Reg / August 21, 2014 at 12:46 pm
Reg, settle the fuck down and just let the woman do her job; you and the other bikers here aren't her only constituents, and she does have to do the other things that are a part of running this city. Just boycott that building (and Brookfield) and also, in the meantime don't park there until something can be done to make Brookfield stop doing dick things like these.
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