ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque is trying to change an ordinance that you might not even know existed.
It has allowed one group of drivers to park at meters for free for decades.
The city revamped its parking rules earlier this year, upping its fines and getting rid of “archaic language.”
However, one thing slipped through the cracks.
“There was some language that was left in pertaining to motorcycles,” said Melissa Lozoya, the acting director of Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development.
That language excluded drivers of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds from paying at parking meters. It is language that the city is going back a second time to remove completely, so they do have to pay or risk a fine.
The city said the ordinance exempting motorcycles, mopeds and scooters dated back to the 1970s, so they could not say why it was implemented in the first place.
“I have no idea. I’m sorry,” Lozoya said.
“Motorcycles take up less space. You can fit four motorcycles in the space of one car, so why should a motorcycle pay the same as a car but then again it’s kind of hard to park a car where a motorcycle’s parked, so maybe they should pay for taking up that space,” Motorcyclist Devon Virgil said.
The old exemption was news to some.
“I saw the meter and I thought, hey, I might as well pay so I don’t have to deal with anything. It’s like, what, 30 cents? A dollar?” Virgil said, shrugging it off.
However, we also came across motorcyclists who were aware of the old ordinance and had their motorcycles lined up in one spot without putting money in the meter.
KRQE News 13 asked the city what prompted the change.
“With the development and the interest from the business owners to have parking in front of their stores and to have that turnover, we thought it would be important to treat all motor vehicles equally,” Lozoya said.
Some business owners say it’s counterproductive, adding obstacles for possible patrons.
“Our goal is to get more and more people coming downtown, creating this city hub,” said Solve Maxwell, owner of Deep Space Coffee in downtown Albuquerque.
Now, whether you’re on two wheels or four, there will be one price to pay.
The second attempt to revise the ordinance is making its way through City Council.
The city said it hasn’t heard from anyone opposed to the change.