Lisa McDonald on Space for your Scoot
Imagine a world in which there is ample parking space designated for motorcycles at your place of work, favorite restaurant or any of the hundreds of local destinations you reach each summer.
Parking is this month’s topic largely due to an interesting exchange I had with the property manager of the building that houses my law firm. I had inquired about designated motorcycle parking and was met with some laughable alternatives.
My property manager’s first suggestion was to park it in a regular car stall (we have a free parking lot). Frankly, the thought of a car door felling my bike nearly made me sick. I inquired about some of the unused corners in the underground garage, those which are too small for a car stall. He said he thought that could be arranged–at the annual car rate, of course. Hmmmm, what would I put there in February?
He had a few other ideas, but all had my bike out of my sight, vulnerable to car traffic and, most worrisome, thieves.
To answer some of my questions about parking I contacted Lisa McDonald, Minneapolis City Council Member for the 10th Ward. I’ve known of her past work promoting alternative forms of transportation and that her ward is home to Bob’s Java Hut and the Bryant Lake Bowl, two destinations for many two-wheeled vehicles.
On my own predicament with my building manager, McDonald suggested the next discussion with him focus on greater utilization of the parking lot.
“Many property managers don’t really know what bikers want. Offer to sit down with their schematic layout of the lot. Two car stalls can serve one to six bikes just fine. Explain the months that motorcycles are most likely to be parked there and that during that time period, temporary signs are OK,” McDonald said.
She also reminded me that I am not the only tenant who is frustrated on this issue and that I should seek out others who would be inclined to use designated parking.
I asked McDonald whether the city has made designated motorcycle parking a priority.
“In the municipal ramps behind the TargetCenter, we have good motorcycle parking for downtown workers and visitors. It’s hard to demand that developers include this kind of parking in their plans. One can prevail upon their business sense by urging them to fully utilize every possible stall, including those that can be smaller,” McDonald explained.
“On street parking is a whole different issue,” she continued. “When a car creeps into a metered stall in which a motorcycle is already parked, that sometimes throws off the spacing for a whole block of parking. No one knows for sure which meter she should feed.”
McDonald explained the negotiations that resulted in the designated spots in front of Bob’s Java Hut. “It’s really only two on-street parking spaces that are converted, through temporary signage, into relatively ample parking. The designated parking is granted from April to November. The city is OK, Bob’s is happy and the clientele is ecstatic!”
Whether it’s the planning of municipally owned lots or ramps, or hearing of the needs of businesses like Bob’s Java Hut, McDonald says she does what she can to make the Minneapolis public works department more aware of motorcycles. Cities and businesses need to remember that motorcycles are efficient from every perspective–they burn less fuel and take up less parking space than cars do.
McDonald is known for her support of motorcycle issues. She displays in her city council office a different motorcycle, on loan from Trackstar of Minneapolis, every two or three months.
After talking to McDonald, I’ve developed a plan of action to solve the situation at my own building. This month and every month, Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa McDonald deserves this publication’s title of Bikers’ Advocate.
P.S. One of the benefits of membership in a state or national motorcycle group is greater awareness of proposed motorcycle (and anti-motorcycle) legislation. Your dues support the group’s lobbying efforts and your phone calls and letters to decision makers on controversial issues help all of us.
Richard Schroeder is an attorney with Michaelson, Schroeder & Mandel. Licensed in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Mr. Schroeder handles cases involving motorcycle and auto accidents, personal injury, insurance disputes, and product liability.
This column is intended to provide general information and is not to be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any certain facts or circumstances. Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly encourages readers to consult legal counsel on any specific legal questions or matters.