Recently, an ECU motorcycle rider wrote an e-mail to Bill Koch, Associate Vice Chancellor of Environmental Health, Safety, and Parking & Transportation, after the rider learned of a motorcycle pad removal on the ECU campus. The rider was concerned with several issues regarding the removal of the motorcycle parking pad located in the green space at the Science and Technology building.
The following is Bill Koch's response to the rider - posted in an attempt to address several concerns above and beyond the initial information release about the pad removal, and to answer questions that other riders may have about the pad removal.
Dear motorcycle parking customers:
First, let me say that I am a motorcycle owner and I understand your frustration over the removal of the motorcycle pad in the green space at the Science & Technology Building. Also, I am very supportive of the environment and interested in encouraging transportation that lowers petroleum usage. We never set out to remove this critical parking. In fact, this whole issue started when Jack Tawney, interim Director of Parking, and I tried to expand the motorcycle parking in this area. Some students came to the P&T Committee meeting last year and asked for more parking in the area so we began looking into it.
When we met with Grounds to discuss the expansion, we found that they have had concerns for a number of years with this area and described a number of conflicts. First, there are pedestrians walking through the bike parking area and it is always difficult to redirect pedestrian traffic without impacting other traffic flow. Second, some motorcycles are entering the bike parking area over heavily traveled sidewalks and even coming in the "exit only" lane at Christenbury. Finally, this entire woodland area is one of ECU's protected green spaces. Campus green spaces were defined by the University Environment Committee and approved by the Faculty Senate and the Chancellor this semester. There is simply no way to eliminate or significantly minimize the impact to tree roots in this area. Believe me, we looked at using brick for access paths and the pad itself, but we could not guarantee the continued health of these trees.
As an added issue, we have been reviewing the area in front of Christenbury due to the varied conflicts between state vehicles, kiss-n-ride vehicles, parking and transit buses. The motorcycles add little to the overall congestion in this area, but I worry about their visibility and vulnerability with all of the other traffic there. As the university's chief safety officer, I met with Grounds, Police and Transit and determined that there was simply too much congestion here. While we will be looking at the entire area and all traffic as part of the upcoming master plan study, I felt one additional step we needed to take immediately to improve safety in the area was to move the motorcycle parking out of this congestion. We made some safety improvements related to parking and bus traffic here as well.
We already have motorcycle spaces that are vacant all day long on the south side of 10th Street in the lots east and west of College Hill Drive. The 18 spaces in these areas alone would offset the number of spaces lost at the current motorcycle area. Recognizing that these other spaces are further away and across 10th Street, Parking and Transportation is installing another 16 spaces east of Rivers, east of Fletcher and south of Fletcher. We continually look for opportunities to add motorcycle spaces on the core campus, but these opportunities are generally where we have "lost space" in a lot - where a space is not wide enough for a car. Otherwise, we would be reducing A permit spaces to make room for motorcycles. I am not opposed to this concept, especially if there is more demand for motorcycle/scooter spaces, but I know many parking customers would argue against doing this.
Again, I apologize for removing these key parking spaces, but I felt I would be negligent in my safety role if I didn't. Believe me, we didn't want to remove this pad. I also recognize that we could have done a better job communicating with you up front. Although e-mail messages were sent out directly to all motorcycle permit holders, I know we could have communicated in more ways and should have given you more warning. We will learn from this and hope to win back your trust as our valued customers.
Associate Vice Chancellor
Environmental Health, Safety, Parking & Transportation