Archive for Sunday, August 22, 2010

New regulations govern mo-peds on KU campus

There are 262 new mo-ped spots on campus, but those also mean many more restrictions on where mo-peds can drive and park.

August 22, 2010


A student rides a mo-ped last week on Jayhawk Boulevard. Kansas University instituted new rules and designated parking lots for mo-peds this semester.

A student rides a mo-ped last week on Jayhawk Boulevard. Kansas University instituted new rules and designated parking lots for mo-peds this semester.

Mo-peds on campus

What Kansas University mo-ped drivers should know:

• Mo-peds must be parked in designated mo-ped zones around campus. There are 262 mo-ped parking spaces in 28 locations. They are marked with signs. For a map, go online to mopedmap.pdf.

• Mo-peds can no longer park at bike racks or in motorcycle zones. They also can’t park in vehicle parking spaces.

• Except for staff, mo-peds are no longer allowed on Jayhawk Boulevard during restricted hours.

• Mo-peds cannot be driven on the sidewalk or lawn.

• KU Parking & Transit follows state license plates in determining what is a mo-ped.

• KU will hand out warning tickets until Friday. The fine for not having a parking permit is $20. The fine for parking in the wrong zone is $10. An annual parking permit for a mo-ped is $15.

• In downtown Lawrence, mo-peds can park in any stall but can’t park at a bike rack. There are designated mo-ped stalls in parking lots along New Hampshire and Vermont streets, the city parking garage and the Riverfront Plaza.

Kansas University mo-ped users can say goodbye to rock star parking.

At the start of classes last week, students and staff were greeted with 262 mo-ped parking spaces scattered in 28 parking lots throughout campus. Those opting to park their mo-peds in bike racks or in motorcycle zones were likely to find warning tickets on them.

Among those ticketed was fourth-year KU business student Andrew Sigler. Running late to his first day of class, Sigler parked his mo-ped in the bike rack behind Budig Hall.

When he came out, he had a $20 ticket.

“I bought this simply so I could drive to campus, park close to my class and walk in,” Sigler said. “But obviously now that is not going to be as easy. So I’ll have to find other ways to get to class on time.”

The new parking regulations follow a rising wave of mo-peds on KU’s campus. Two years ago, 178 mo-ped permits were purchased at KU. Data isn’t available for the 2009-2010 school year yet. But with classes barely under way, more than 60 permits have already been issued for mo-peds this semester.

Along with being easier to park, mo-peds are incredibly fuel efficient and come with a $15 annual parking permit — compared with vehicle permits that can range from $90 to $285.

“People are looking for different ways to get to campus, and the buses have helped out quite a bit. But a lot of people have turned to these alternative methods of transportation. And mo-peds are one of them,” said Donna Hultine, director of KU Parking & Transit.

Until now, mo-peds could travel along Jayhawk Boulevard, which has restricted access during the day. Another significant perk was parking at bike racks that sit next to many entrances.

“Parking close to the building is probably one of the biggest reasons I ride a mo-ped. That and the much cheaper parking pass rate,” said Courtney Foat, a mo-ped driver who for two years was able to park right behind Watson Library where she works.

On the first day of class, Foat rode her mo-ped down the street to the Kansas Union for coffee. She pulled up right beside the bike rack just a few steps away from the door.

“It’s a luxury,” she said.

Others see it as more of a nuisance. With the rising number of mo-peds comes increasing conflict with pedestrians and motorcyclists.

Last fall at the school’s annual open hearing on parking issues, a major theme was mo-ped parking, Hultine said.

Among the complaints was that mo-ped drivers were parking in motorcycle zones in a way that made it hard for motorcycles to park there. To navigate to the bike rack, many mo-ped users were driving on sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to jump out of the way. The mo-peds were also taking up a significant amount of room at the bike racks and spreading onto the lawn.

“It was this perfect storm of all these things,” Hultine said.

The challenge for the parking department was finding a way to create new parking for mo-peds without taking away spots for motorcycles.

That had the department scouring campus for slivers of land that wasn’t already in parking. They also converted 112 car-parking spaces into mo-ped-parking spaces. In all, 262 mo-ped spaces were made available.

Hultine knows the change won’t be popular with many. Those who drive cars aren’t happy that valuable parking spots are being taken up by mo-peds. And mo-ped users can’t park close to the building any more.

“We are trying to take all the feedback we are getting, and we are taking it really seriously,” Hultine said.

She noted the parking changes were made with paint and moveable signs, so nothing is set in stone.

“I would say we are going to be tweaking this on the fly as we learn more information,” Hultine said.


Ray March 7 years, 5 months ago

Donna Hultine, you need to reconsider. This is one of the things that makes KU unique and cool. Let the moped riders drive on Jayhawk Boulevard again and let them park in the bike spots like they always have. They have just as much right to those spots as bike riders. If we need to get more bike racks, so be it.

Tim Quest 7 years, 5 months ago

Obviously, you've never been to any other schools. $200 per year for a parking permit is cheap compared to many other universities. But then again, we're talking about a town where students drive 2 blocks downtown to go to the bars.

rgh 7 years, 5 months ago

But how much tuition do you pay? I know I pay a LOT more for my daughter who goes to Ottawa (free parking) than I do for my daughter who attends KU.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 5 months ago

Ha Ha. Liberty the student Libertarian thinks parking is free. Nope, it is priced that way by your institution. He doesn't understand the difference between pricing and costs. Please start at Micro #101 and repeat. Place a $5 bill in the Samuelson "I screwed up" jar.

John Hamm 7 years, 5 months ago

Sigler said. “But obviously now that is not going to be as easy. So I’ll have to find other ways to get to class on time.” I might suggest you leave a little earlier.

LogicMan 7 years, 5 months ago

$15? Now that sounds too low, and the other on-campus rates too high.

Since Mopeds and Motorcycles are not used widely in the winter, have some of their spaces convertible to that for cars for winter through spring breaks?

lawrencian 7 years, 5 months ago

I'm really glad that I won't have to dodge the folks riding their mopeds up onto sidewalks anymore.

By the way, LJW, wrong zone tickets are really $20, not $10. (I just got one the other day!)

kennedy3 7 years, 5 months ago

Should mopeds be allowed to drive on the sidewalks in order to park in bike racks, absolutely not. What isn't clear is that the new spots created for student moped drivers are not convenient in the least and the university was not clear on where these spots would be located when people purchased these passes for subpar parking.
I'm uncertain why there isn't a better way to find a compromise such as having 2 tiers of moped passes and charging the moped drivers more for a limited number of premium passes that can park in the designated areas closer to buildings and having a lower tier pass available for students who don't mind the extra hike after parking in a lower lot. The spots I see up on campus that are closer to the buildings where faculty and what seems to be scholarship house students are only about 1/3 full. Frustrating to create prime spots and then not allow access but to a select few.

britt408 7 years, 5 months ago someone who lived in a schol hall for 2 years...there weren't nearly enough spots for all of the students there and now that there are 2 more halls i'm sure it's worse. if you were gone after 8 or 9:00 at night you were screwed and had to park down by the bars or closer to GSP/Corbin. there's a reason it's called the rape lot. maybe there were spots in the afternoon, but certainly not at night.

Rich Rodgers 7 years, 5 months ago

Did people really think that the moped usage could grow exponentially without eventually getting curtailed? It's kind of odd the way mopeds have come back into vogue. I used one to get to class in the 1990s. I had one that you actually pedaled to start it. But it easily kept up with the "Sprees" that were popular with people who probably own Macs now. But then mopeds were fairly rare for a decade or two. Now they are back with a vengeance. Some of them are pretty cool and designed to ride over sidewalks and paths like the Honda Ruckus. It seem now people have all these fairly useless high dollar toys. KU will probably get around to making it convenient to own them right about the time that kids don't like them again.

britt408 7 years, 5 months ago

Wow another fine decision from the parking department. People get pissed at high parking costs and buy a moped instead. Whoops, now there's too many mopeds! Maybe they should take a hint. Husband and I had a moped while at KU...if I had to park in the same place as a car and not be able to drive on Jayhawk Blvd there would have been no incentive to drive a more fuel-efficient moped and I probably would've just bought the car permit. There's already not enough parking on campus and now you're going to have more spots taken by mopeds and more people ditching mopeds thus driving cars again. Driving the 'ped in crappy weather was ok considering I could park right next to the building and I was saving money. About the sidewalk thing...I've had to jump out of the way of bikes coming up on the sidewalk to park in the racks - not much different than a moped. Glad I'm gone!

budwhysir 7 years, 5 months ago

this is a good deal, one of our local education systems has found another way to make more money. This should take a little bit of the load off the sports program shouldnt it??

budwhysir 7 years, 5 months ago

when I ride my electric bycicle, I like to ride on the busy streets like 23rd and mass. that way I can hold up traffic. Parking in a parking lot? are you serious people still do that? I like to take my ride to class with me, this way I can ride right into class and dont have to worry bout someone taking my cool ride. Also, it cuts out on looking for a parking spot at all.

mycider 7 years, 5 months ago

It seems to me like this policy is about making nobody happy if they can't make everybody happy. I went to the hearing last year and tried to fight it, or at least get some of my concerns heard. Unfortunately, it was a hearing for multiple issues, and it felt kind of whiny to be there talking about moped parking after listening to the concerns about handicapped accessible parking. Whiny or not though, it was still important to me, so I signed up TWICE to be part of the "focus group" that was supposed to discuss this. I never received any word back from the parking department about it. I heard in passing that there was some sort of communication between some people opposing this policy and the parking department, but I am curious how many of our concerns were actually addressed.

Other things I'm curious about: 1) How accurate is the online map? I'm pleasantly surprised to see that they've updated it to include the moped parking spaces, but when I mapped all of the motorcycle parking lots on campus last fall, I discovered that the map had an awful lot of inaccuracies. Over half the lots were not shown on the map, and almost 25% were not on the list of motorcycle lots. 2) How secure are the new moped parking spaces? Mopeds are smaller and lighter than motorcycles, and are therefore more susceptible to theft. The best way to prevent the moped from getting stolen is to physically lock it to something, so it is essential that the moped parking spaces have some kind of locking post for the people who choose to lock their vehicles up. 3) How safe are the new moped parking spaces? When I looked at motorcycle parking, I was truly disturbed by the poor condition of some of the lots. Cracked pavement, sloped pavement, excessive gravel and debris, and poorly designed enclosures can all be dangerous to someone trying to maneuver either a 150lb scooter or a 600lb motorcycle. 4) Do any of the new moped spaces have covered parking? One of the good things about being able to park in the bike racks was that we could park under cover if we knew it was going to rain later in the day. 5) Do the rules change after 5? I always felt MUCH safer riding my moped back from the library late at night than I ever did walking. The closer I can park to where I'm going, the less I have to walk, and the safer I'm going to feel. Allowing mopeds to park in bike racks when Jayhawk Blvd is open to traffic would be a significant improvement to the policy. 6) What about West Campus? The concerns about running over pedestrians are pretty well unfounded over there, and that's one area where having a moped to get around is a huge time saver.

fiddleback 7 years, 5 months ago

mycider, thanks for the thoughtful list and your involvement. I have to say the parking department's handling of this is absolutely pathetic.
1. After mailing motorcycle/moped permits to moped riders, they belatedly email everyone to tell them to schlep said permits back to the parking building and exchange them for JUST moped permits, making their problem our problem. 2. As you pointed out, their campus map is hopelessly cluttered, inconsistent and incomplete in showing motorcycle and other spots. 3. Their website STILL SAYS "Beginning August 2010, mopeds may only park in motorcycle parking areas." And they expect students to respect all this? Are they trying to look like the stereotypical incompetent bureaucracy? It's hilarious that Hultine used the phrase "on the fly" because the whole affair seems lazily improvised.

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