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Moped parking: Bellingham

July 29, 2010
Piaggio Fly, parked

There's plenty of scooter parking at the mall... (Orin O'Neill iPhone photos)

When the weather’s nice, scooters and motorcycles are out and about in the ‘Ham. Where they park, well, that’s a good question.

I was downtown the other day having lunch, and found myself in a quandry: there’s a lot with a scooter-size marked space, but the public can only park there on weekends. There are metered spaces for cars, but they’re scarce and expensive.

There are two bicycle racks on the sidewalk,in front of the lunch place, with a space between them that the GTS fits perfectly. But in most places parking a scooter or motorcycle on the sidewalk is illegal.

I decide the sidewalk is the lesser risk, and take a table where I can keep an eye on the GTS. If it gets ticketed, I’ll simply request a hearing and hope the judge will be somewhat sympathetic.

Among the bicycles

Just as I’m finishing my smoked salmon chowder, the light bar of a parking-enforcement 3-wheeler appears over the tops of the parked cars. It stops.

But the officer doesn’t get out. The 3-wheeler continues to the end of the block and turns right. No ticket!

Another time, I was on my way to the library and trying to find a parking place at the Civic Center (Yes, Bellingham has a Civic Center. Seattle doesn’t. Neither does Portland). The city has replaced parking meters in this part of town with kiosks. But unlike most cities Bellingham has numbered all the spaces and requires you to enter the number when you pay for parking. That’s either one vehicle per space, which hacks off the cagers, or paying so others can park free, which hacks me off.

I spied a red Honda motorcycle parked in front of the last car in a parking cutout outside he metered zone. There’s room next to the Honda, and there’s often some safety in numbers, so I go for it.

Parked legally, I suppose

Happily, no ticket. But then the pavement marking has me thinking we were actually in a legitimate space. I guess.

Of course, it would be nice to be able to park somewhere and know you’re doing it legally, and safely. Even though there’s a shortage of road paint, it’s not that difficult to divide one car space into multiple scooter/MC spots. Is it? Favicon

  1. July 30, 2010 8:36 am

    I have a fix for your scooter parking quandary: move to Austin! Motorcycles can park for free in any metered spot for 12 hours. After that you get towed, but I’ve never heard of this actually happening. They started doing this after moving to the kiosk system. There are not marked spots, which means there’s usually spaces between cars where a motorcycle can squeeze in.

  2. Jack Riepe permalink
    July 30, 2010 9:46 am

    Dear Orin:

    I never hesitate to park in the “thatched” or “shaded” areas in a parking lot, which are often so marked to simply discourage cars from being left in those places. I have yet to receive a ticket, but that could be subject to change in the current environment. I am always afraid of parking on the street, however. I am certain the day will come when some driver will be pissed about me taking up a whole spot, and tap my bike over onto its side.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  3. July 30, 2010 4:23 pm

    Move to key west and never see a snowflake again while parking your ride for free everywhere. Sand on the road? Ha! I actually liked the road paint story even better. The end of industrial civilization is nigh!

  4. July 30, 2010 9:06 pm


    For shame!

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