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Thursday, February 09, 2006

 

Pathing optimization

Well, that title sounds a lot more interesting than the actual subject, doesn't it?

Over the past two semesters, I've been looking for the optimal path between Le Fauberg, where many of my classes are, and the Hall building, where the rest of them are. I seem to have found the best path to minimize time spent outside on cold days such as today.

The route I take adds a bit of walking time on. Classes in Le Fauberg are either in the sub-basement, the sub-sub-basement (three floors underground), or the third floor. First I make my way to the ground floor. I then take the back corridor to the other end of the mall (Yes, I have classes in a shopping mall. Concordia spent $150 million on a new building for our department, but only let graduate students use the 17 floor building, leaving us to have classes in the sub-sub-basement of a shopping mall). From there, I take the door into the Fauberg Tower, a building adjoining Le Fauberg. Accross the lobby is a street exit that is on the corner of the intersection of, I think, Sherbrooke and Guy. Crossing the intersection diagonally takes me to the entrance of the EV building, which is the width of a city block. I continue through that building until I hit the next street, MacKay, I think. Almost directly accross the street from there is the rear entrance of the LB (Library) building. On the other side of that building is a tunnel that leads under the street to the basement of the Hall building. Voila!

I used to take the escalators up from there. This semester, when I'm going from Le Fauberg to the Hall building, I'm heading up to a class on the 9th floor, 10 floors up from the basement. One day, I was quite tired, and decided not to take the escalators. It isn't exactly rare for half of the escalators to be stalled, and it is a long way up. Now, the alternative is the elevators. The Hall building's elevators are terrible. There are two of them, each about a third the size of the NITI building's elevator, and perhaps 1/2 to 2/3 the speed. They hold five or six people crammed in tight, and since there are mobs of people on each floor, they take forever to get anywhere. That day, I just didn't care.

I headed down the steps and into the Hall basement proper. There was a main hall that stretched the length of the building. I followed it down in hopes of locating the elevator shaft. Instead, as I moved down the hallway, I saw two different elevators on the wrong side of the corridor. One was obviously a service elevator, since it was large and required a key, but the other seemed to be a normal one.

This new elvator is now my preferred method of traveling up and down in the Hall building. For some reason, while there are dozens of people on the ground floor waiting for the normal elevators, there is virtually never ANYBODY using this elevator. It is about the same speed as the regular elevators, but since nobody ever uses it, you can go from the basement to the 9th floor without stopping.

I am not certain why nobody uses this elevator. Perhaps it is because nobody knows about it (it is off on the side of the building rather than the center). Perhaps it is because it makes odd noises as it ascends, and shakes if you move. Perhaps it is because it looks like it was installed in the building decades ago and hasn't been refinished since (It features an all-metal interior adorned with decades of scuff and scratch marks). Either way, for some reason this elevator remains unused, and by far the fastest way to travel.

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