Parking commission discussion: What should Bloomington do when people don’t want a pickle, just want to park their motorcycle … at bicycle racks?

“We have a problem. People who ride motorcycles now have decided that they don’t want to pay the meter,” Bloomington’s parking enforcement supervisor, RayeAnn Cox told the parking commission last Thursday.

Motorcycles getting parked at bicycle racks was one of several issues handled by the commission on Thursday. There’s nothing to prevent parking a motorcycle at a bicycle rack, Cox told the commission: “I have absolutely no ordinances to stop them.”

The photograph illustrating the problem was of the new covered bicycle parking space on North Morton Street.

Parking a motorcycle on a sidewalk is not allowed, Cox said, and she could ticket a motorcycle for parking there. But a bicycle rack is not a sidewalk, she said. Parking commissioner Steve Volan, who’s the city council’s representative to the parking commission, agreed that a bike rack is literally not a place where you can walk, so it’s not a sidewalk.

Beth Rosenbarger, who’s planning services manager for the city, told the commission that she’s working on an update to Title 15, which is the “Vehicles and Traffic” portion of the city code.

Rosenbarger wanted to know if commissioners would like her to add some language  that would prohibit motorcycle parking at bicycle racks. Yes, they told her, and they’d like to review the language before they vote to recommend it to the city council. No vote on a motorcycle parking recommendation was taken by the parking commission on Thursday.

Based on the discussion on Thursday, and the council’s packed schedule through the rest of this year, it could be summer 2020 before a new local law on motorcycle parking is considered.

Eoban Binder, who’s the city council’s new appointee to the commission, asked where a motorcyclist is supposed to park, if a new law is enacted prohibiting parking at bicycle racks. There’s just one dedicated space in downtown for motorcycle parking that he knows of, Binder said.

The motorcycle parking space that Binder described is on the southwest corner of the courthouse square. On Friday, when The Beacon photographed the space, a car was parked so far over the line, encroaching into the motorcycle spot, that it’s unlikely a motorcyclist could have parked there.

The white line marking the space was barely visible. On Sunday morning, the lines were re-striped, as part of the city’s routine program of updates. That’s what all the orange temporary on-parking signs were for.

Binder said he thought it would be useful to have the “carrot” for a motorcyclist to park somewhere else, in addition to a “stick” for parking at a bicycle rack.

Cox said motorcycles can park in car spaces as long as they pay the meter—even more than one. All she checks is whether the meter is paid, she said.

At Thursday’s meeting, the question of shared-use electric scooters parked at bicycle racks came up—that’s allowed under the set of scooter laws the council passed in late July.  Rosenbarger also told commissioners she is supposed to work with the city’s bicycle and pedestrian safety commission on a scooter parking report that’s due in March 2020. She wants feedback on the topic from parking commissioners and others.

Rosenbarger said “It’s useful for a scooter to be parked at a bike hoop,” adding that if so many scooters are parked at bike racks that bicyclists don’t have adequate parking, that could be a problem. It’s a problem that she suggested could be solved by lobbying for more bicycle parking.