A new law just passed in Rhode Island that will allow for motorcycle parking spots at municipal and state buildings. The law, which goes into effect next year, passed the General Assembly on Tuesday and was later signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee.
The legislation dictates that city and town officials create parking plans by this November for parking areas at state, city or town buildings and that parking spaces be offered by April 1, 2013.
Motorcycle Parking at Rhode Island Municipal Buildings
The law does not apply to state airport parking lots. Sponsored by Senator John J. Tassoni Jr. (D) and Rep. Peter John Petrarca (D), the law provides motorcycle parking spaces in areas that are adjacent to applicable municipal buildings. Such parking spots will be designated by proper signage.
The law also provides that parking plans may be revised as necessary and reviewed at least once every five years. The number of motorcycle owners occupying each government building will determine the availability of motorcycle parking spots. Unauthorized use of designated parking areas will result in an $85 fine.
"The thinking behind the motorcycle bill was that we were going to give state employees and opportunity to park closer to the building. Because as with motor vehicles, motorcycles are very expensive, and they can be taken away in less than 30 seconds," said Representative Petrarca.
Despite Rep. Petrarca’s reasoning, he and other lawmakers have been accused of passing an insignificant bill in the final moments of the General Assembly’s 2012 legislative session. After being blamed for focusing on smaller bills, rather than more meaningful ones, Rep. Petrarca responded by saying, “I don't believe that's true. I think we're trying to help our constituency. It was brought to me by a motorcycle rider.”
While the new law may please some motorcycle riders in the state, city and town leaders are not rejoicing. Each city and town has the sole responsibility of drafting the motorcycle parking plans and creating the signage. Every building ranging from schools to libraries to city halls will require a revamped parking lot, which the state will not fund.
The unwanted expense was not lost on Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R), who stated, “The way the law is passed, every city or town building that has a parking lot, we're going to have to develop a parking plan to accommodate motorcycles as well.” According to Fung, “When you add up all the unfunded mandates, it's just more costs that all come at the worst possible economic time.”
What do you think of the new legislation? Is it a novel idea or an unnecessary cost that local municipalities will be forced to endure?