As students returned to campus in late September, yellow flyers sprouted like marigolds on the Main Quad. The colorful notices stapled to bicycle top tubes carried a warning: “Bicycles parked in violation of this policy will be removed or booted (locked) with a U-Lock by the SUDPS.”

The new policy referred to by the Stanford University Department of Public Safety prohibits bike riding and parking in the arcades of the Quad, and also bans most vehicles and motorized carts in a “pedestrian zone” surrounding the Quad. In response to the flyers, a smattering of columns and an editorial in the Stanford Daily argued that the so-called bike ban was an inconvenience for students. But one letter writer pointed to concerns about access: “Imagine being in a wheelchair, going to class, arriving at the building and being unable to open the door because bikes are blocking the power buttons for the door,” wrote Rosa Gonzalez, director of the diversity and access office, in early October.

Police chief Laura Wilson, ’91, says that tight restrictions were in force for White Plaza 15 years ago, when motorized patrols regularly handed out citations. But during the past decade of construction on campus, regulations gradually were relaxed, to the point where some areas became congested. “There were times when seven vehicles—FedEx, UPS and others—were parked in Citrus Courtyard,” between the Inner and Outer quads, she says. “People were parking bikes right outside buildings and that had impacts on safety, and for those with disabilities.”

Wilson was part of a University task force that looked at bike and vehicular traffic issues for some nine months, and ultimately decided on the new policy. “Welcome to the Ped Zone” T-shirts were printed up, and the women’s rugby team helped with an education campaign, telling students where they could park their bikes.

The surprise? “A lot of people said, ‘This is not an unreasonable request,’ and we have been pleasantly surprised by the compliance,” Wilson says. Her office has not issued a single ticket or boot.