MSU students protest controversial moped policy by crowding university meeting

Mess with a Spartan’s moped, we’ll mess with you

All around the table, representatives shared the same surprised expression as dozens of students packed the small police community room for a MSU Traffic and Transportation meeting last month. The meeting’s unusually high attendance served as a much-needed reminder of who the university’s policies affect – namely, the students.

Starting August 30, the MSU Police Department will be enforcing a new policy that bans moped owners from parking at bike racks. A $25 violation fee will be imposed on anyone who does. Currently, mopeds are only required to be chained to a bike rack.

Why the sudden change, you ask?

MSUPD deputy director John Prush said moped users frequently drive on sidewalks to access bike racks, which he believes is a safety concern to students. Prush claimed that by eliminating this parking option, MSU will solve this safety concern.

Several students chimed in to point out that riding on sidewalks is already a violation for both mopeds and bicycles, although MSUPD rarely enforces it.

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One student representing himself as a bicyclist mentioned that mopeds have never been an issue for him on sidewalks. He said students are much more likely to encounter problems with other bicyclists.

Prush was not able to give any statistics or a number of incident and complaint reports to back his safety concern. He did, however, make it very clear that he believes mopeds should be regulated the same as cars at MSU.

The committee’s intention is to transform current car spots into moped parking (two mopeds per parking space), which means even less room for those who drive cars – which many students feel will translate into an even bigger parking congestion problem.

ASMSU student body president Lorenzo Santavicca emphasized the well-known fact that MSU has one of the worst car parking problems in the country. He questioned the real motivation for a policy like the one proposed, seeing that MSU doesn’t have adequate parking space as it is.

According to The State News, MSU wrote more than 108,000 parking tickets during the 2016 school year. Nearly 49,000 more have been issued since January of this year.

Prush said moped registration will be cheaper next year, but failed to take into account the fact that MSUPD will profit $25 every time someone parks their moped at a bike rack.

Students were dissatisfied with the committee’s reasoning behind this disastrous new policy change, and asked why the committee failed to inform the campus when the issue was in the planning stage back in January. RHA representative Ten-Niah Kinney responded that students should attend the meetings and subscribe to all of RHA social media to learn what goes on – a response that led many students in the room to question why we send representatives to these meetings anyway.

After all, I doubt the police community room could contain our entire undergraduate student body.

After two hours, the public commentary and questions section was ended and the students were reassured that the committee would take their concerns into consideration.

If you would like to voice your concern, get in contact with your MSU General Assembly Rep, comment your concerns on the MSU AUTTC webpage, and email your student body president Lorenzo Santavicca at [email protected].

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