Aug 302006
 
Authors: CHRISTY SCHINDLER The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Matt Johns claims he didn’t know he wasn’t allowed to park in the lanes on Laurel Street that are now only for bikers.

“The only signs I saw on the side of the road were for bike lanes,” the senior construction management major said. “There weren’t any ‘no parking’ signs at all, and since we’ve always been allowed to park there, I didn’t think anything of it.”

On just the first day of school, police issued 210 citations to people who parked their cars in the bike lanes on Laurel Street.

Johns, who was slapped with a $25 fine, and the 209 others, have until Friday to get their tickets voided.

Though Johns came to believe that Fort Collins Parking Services is “out to get the students and make some extra revenue,” city officials said that’s not the goal.

“It’s important for people to know that you can’t park in the bike lanes,” said Randy Hensley, parking manager for the city.

Since then, the city has placed several “no parking” signs on the streets and citations have dwindled to zero.

But for the hundreds of students who were pinned with parking violations in the first few days of school, it’s not too late to avoid paying the fine.

Through Friday, a person pinned with a ticket can bring the citation to the FCPS building, located at 215 N. Mason St., and it will be thrown out, Hensley said.

“They can’t just ignore it and expect it to go away,” he said.

For Johns, it turned out OK.

He got his citation removed. However, he still laments the parking situation in and around campus.

He now parks “way north of campus” on Mason or Howes streets.

A new Laurel

As summer faded, so did the parking on Laurel Street.

Fort Collins, which according to the League of American Bicyclists was already named one of the 16 most bike-friendly cities in the nation, became bike friendlier.

But students driving circles around the university’s parking lots hoping to slip into a recently emptied spot aren’t joining the biker joy fest.

“Right now we don’t have any plans for new parking on the campus, but we are constantly evaluating parking needs of students,” said David Bradford, the university’s new parking commander.

Some students who have parking passes are opting not to drive to school.

Clay Cousins, a senior recreation and tourism major, said he believes CSU oversells parking passes each year.

“Why would you want to buy a permit if you aren’t guaranteed a space? That’s a conundrum,” he said. “Parking space has become too big of a hassle. That’s why I ride my bike to school now.”

Amy Robben, too, avoids driving to school when she can because of the “crazy” parking situation. And she wasn’t too thrilled about the Laurel bike lanes.

“I think it makes the parking on campus even more ridiculous and it takes away all the free parking from students,” said Robben, a junior civil engineering major. “The double bike lanes are quite unnecessary. Three bikes can fit across there. That’s just crazy and uncalled for.”

Staff writer Christy Schindler can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Those who received parking violations for parking in the bike lanes on Laurel Street can get them voided by taking them to Fort Collins Parking Services, 215 N. Mason St. The offer runs through Friday.

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