University to impose motorcycle parking fee

By Kaye Coholan

Motorcyclists will no longer enjoy free parking on campus starting this summer, when the University of Calgary implements new fees for motorcycle parking.

Starting July 1, motorcycles parked on campus will require a permit, said U of C director of parking and transportation services Susan Austen.

The change attempts to regulate where motorcycles park on campus. “We’ve been having a lot of issues with people parking anywhere,” she said.

“There have been vehicles blocked in, motorcycles parked on sidewalks. So it’s an issue for the campus as a whole. It’s not to deter motorcycle use, but to control how they’re used.”

The permits will cost $75 annually and be sold both online and in person on a first-come, first-served basis. They will be required for “anything motorized that isn’t a car,” which includes scooters.

The number of permits sold will be capped and oversold in the same way other parking passes are. Because data on motorcycle parking have not been collected, it will take some adjustment to work out how many passes and spots are required.

“It’s really just an educated guess as to how many stalls are needed,” said Austen. “We’re going to be keeping a very close eye on it for the first while to see what the demand is.”

The permit, which will come in the form of a sticker, will allow a motorcyclist to park in any of the approximately five designated areas, rather than being assigned to a given zone.

Third-year environmental science student Skender Spaho said he was “enraged” when he learned of the planned fee.

“I can see why [the university would charge for parking] but we take the risk, so as a reward we should get to park for free,” he said.

Spaho, who rode to campus last Thursday when the weather was warmer, said the money he has saved on parking has paid for his motorcycle. He added that he read an article about the stress-relieving benefits of riding a motorcycle, which he sees as one of the benefits in addition to convenient and free parking.

Shane Halasz, a sessional instructor in the faculty of communication and culture, said he read about the new parking charges in an article in the National Post applauding the U of C for implementing a number of new fees without much grumbling from students. Halasz’s first thought was, “this sucks.”

“That was always one of the perks of riding a bike ­– the close and free parking,” he said. “I think that seems reasonable, given the small amount of space bikes take up. But what can you do?”

Halasz, who likes to ride every day when the weather is agreeable, said motorbiking clears his head of stressors because his focus is on the road.

“You have your head in the moment. There’s something peaceful about riding a motorcycle,” he said. “But parking near the building is good, too.”

Updates to the parking policy are keeping with the times, as the U of C is one of few campuses in western Canada that does not yet charge for motorcycle parking, Austen said.

Mount Royal University charges $25 a month for a motorcycle permit, the University of Alberta offers bike parking for an annual fee of $142 and at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, bikers fork out $30 per month to park on campus in the spring and summer.

Updates to other parking fees at the U of C will happen in April and May this year, with permits increasing by up to five per cent.

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