Despite Orange Coast College’s newly designated loop allowing skateboarders and bikers increased access to campus, there are complaints from everyone.
Riders say the Loop is too restrictive, walkers say the Loop is too permissive, dangerous and noisy, and Campus Safety says the Loop would work if only students would stay in it.
The Loop opened for riders in April to allow for more bikers and boarders and hopefully decrease car traffic. Until that time boards weren’t allowed on campus and ignoring that rule could land students with a $15 fine and a trip to the dean of students.
But some students say the Loop isn’t enough.
“Skateboarding is barely legal,” said Matthew Sargent, a 20-year-old journalism major when asked about using the designated area on campus for skateboarding.
Chief of Campus Safety Jim Rudy said the Loop was designed to allow riders on campus while keeping walkers safe.
“We want to encourage students or anyone to use the Loop, and in areas that the sidewalk is not marked, those are dismount zones, to pretty much dismount, get off their bike and pick up their skateboard and walk to those locations.” Rudy said.
Rudy added that when students ride in the dismount zones it tends to create chaos because there often isn’t enough room on paths to accommodate boards, bikes and walkers.
But Sargent said other riders said that the Loop just circles the campus and doesn’t allow them to get to class on boards or bikes.
“It’s [the Loop’s] biggest problem is it doesn’t actually dissect into campus — it kind of just loops around campus — and if you have a class in the center of campus it’s just going to be a nightmare,” Sargent said. “I don’t see a reason to get off my skateboard if my class is in the center of campus.”
Still, non-riders complain of skateboarding or bike related incidents and teachers and students often complain about excessive noise — especially from skateboards.
One student sees it a different way though.
“Skateboarding doesn’t bother me much, but if you’re going to limit skaters and bikers for noise in hallways, you should also consider the noise levels when students talk in hallways while classes in is session,” said Elizabeth Son, a 20-year-old public health major.
Biology instructor and bike advocate Marc Perkins said he is in favor of these alternative modes of transportation and he is working on additions for campus that will benefit everyone.
“With inspiring students that live within 15 minutes of campus to bike and skateboard to school, we reduce the need for (parking)lots. We have more space for parking lots than we have for buildings. And the big one is climate change, less cars cause less emission on the earth,” Perkins said.
Perkins said OCC has had plans since 2016 beneficial additions for skateboards and bikes. Creating the Loop was the first attempt.
Other ideas include creating a designated path surrounding the Adams Avenue Parking Lot that would protect pedestrians, bikers and skaters and create more parking spots.