For the brave winter moped driver, the New Year brings not just resolutions but slimmer options for parking.
Beginning Monday Jan. 1, Madison’s new ordinance banning mopeds from being parked on public sidewalks and terraces takes effect. No respite will be found for moped drivers hoping to continue this practice as a provision in the law allowing property owners to set up designated parking areas on terraces has drawn little interest.
When the City Council adopted the restrictions in August, supporters argued mopeds parked on pedestrian rights-of-way reduced accessibility, created safety issues and were aesthetically unpleasing.
Since then, a campaign has been underway to prepare the hundreds of moped drivers in the city for the change. About 2,000 mopeds are registered in the city, but the total number in Madison is expected to be higher as some students bring the vehicles from their hometowns, David Dryer, the city’s traffic engineer, has said.
“We have been trying to educate as much as possible,” said city Parking Enforcement Supervisor Stefanie Niesen.
That included putting pamphlets on mopeds to explain the ordinance and direct drivers to parking alternatives, such as city-owned garages and on-street motorcycle/moped spots.
A violation can result in a $60 ticket.
The ordinance lets property owners establish a moped parking area on a city terrace if the location is in an appropriate zoning district and is unobtrusive to pedestrians, sight lines and on-street parking access. While there have been a few inquiries, no property owners have applied to establish a moped parking area, said John Rider, the city’s bicycle registration coordinator.
Niesen said she’s heard property owners aren’t interested in investing in moped parking areas since anyone would be able to use them instead of it being reserved for residents.
A non-refundable $750 fee must be paid to apply for a moped parking area. If approved, a property owner then would pay at least $500 annually for the permit to occupy the terrace, plus any maintenance costs.
Ald. Zach Wood, whose 8th District includes the UW-Madison campus, said he’s heard from people upset about the new restrictions and those who are happy that bicycle racks and terrace space will be less cluttered.
Even when the weather starts warming, though, Wood predicts “a number of folks are just not going to bring (their mopeds) back.”
He advises drivers to evaluate the pros and cons of the situation and whether it’s worthwhile for them to pay for parking or find alternative transportation.
The university, which enacted similar restrictions in 2012, has done its own outreach on the topic.
Three separate notifications on the Madison ordinance have been sent to students who have campus moped parking permits, with reminders included in social media posts and newsletters, said Carolyn Wolff, spokeswoman for the university’s Transportation Services.
As the educational effort has been a months-long process, Niesen said parking enforcement officers may begin issuing citations once the restrictions are enforceable.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean everyone’s going to get a ticket right away,” she added.
Niesen encourages drivers to look for off-street or permitted parking through property managers, the city or the university.
“It’s going to be a lot cheaper to park it and pay a monthly fee versus getting a ticket every time,” she said.