Waiting in the parking line during my first semester of classes at GRCC, I watched as the traffic director showed a student on a motorcycle around the entrance gates and through the small entrance on the right, where he did not have to slide his card. I heard the officer shout, “You don’t have to pay.”
“Why is that?” I wondered.
Into my third semester, I still did not have an answer to that question, and after hearing students complain to each other concerning this issue, I decided it was time to get some answers.
According to Lieutenant Woolworth of the GRCC Police Department, the biggest reason motorcycles get into the parking ramp for free is because of a “safety concern.”
Under the concrete of the parking ramp entrance is a metal loop which tells if there is a car sitting on that spot. When the card slides through the reader, the gate lifts, and once the car is off the wire loop, the gate goes back down.
The problem with motor bikes is their lack of weight. The bikes are not heavy enough to be recognized as an entering vehicle.
Several years ago, there was an incident where a gate closed on a motorcyclist, Woolworth said.
Now, instead of telling students they cannot park motorcycles in the ramp, they are allowed to park in extra space where cars could not park anyway.
A point Woolworth made was that allowing people with motorcycles to park in extra spaces also keeps the ramp from filling as quickly.
Though this issue does not seem to be one in the mainstream, it is still something which students have an opinion of. Looking below at students’ opinions on the issue, seem to be torn.
Third year student, Weneta Luckey, said, “They should have to pay just as the students who have cars.” Other students seemed more favorable toward the policy, such as motorcycle owner, Paul Gryczan. When asked of his opinion of the rule, he said it’s fair. “They take up a substantially less amount of space than cars,” Paul said.
Understanding both sides of the issue, it still seems unfair that some people with motor vehicles are able to park for free. Yes, motorcycles take up less space than cars, but they are still vehicles, and they are still parking in the ramp.
Woolworth says machinery for charging people with motorcycles would be too expensive, but there are other ways which could be explored, such as motorcycle parking passes.
There are students who enjoy or are indifferent to the free parking for motorcycles, but once learning of this, I believe these are many who would be opposed. After all, I’ve heard plenty of complaints about it.