Parking? Or Bike Lanes?

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Sunday, November 09, 2008
By Yokota Fritz

Urbana, Illinois...
Business owners on the north side of Main Street love the idea of adding diagonal parking while some council members are strongly committed to adding 5-foot-wide bicycle lanes along Main Street.

City Public Works Director William Gray says flatly that bicycle lanes and diagonal parking aren't compatible on Main Street between Broadway and Race, that the street isn't wide enough.

Main Street business owners say they like the fact that diagonal parking would add eight spaces on the block between Broadway and Race.

"The idea of going green is all good, but my shoppers aren't going to ride a bicycle," said Van Boyd, manager of Heel To Toe, a shoe store at 106 W. Main St.
Read more in the News-Gazette: "Cycling concerns have Urbana in parking predicament"


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i really don't see why every single town has to go through this over and over. if we have the proof that bike lanes will work for business, then we need to assemble it and make it widely available to all of us bike people so we can disseminate it.

and we need a 'best strategies' document that tells each town exactly how to deal with specific problems - design patterns for certain situations. we've solved these problems before - why always reinvent the wheel?

most importantly - the city can guarantee to 'undo' things if they don't work out over the course of a year or two, and even promise to kick in a certain amount of revenue should businesses 'suffer unduly' because of the changes. It takes some work, and there's some risk, but if we really believe that bike lanes can and will work for business/livability/etc., then the risk should be very low.
Maybe you'll get as lucky as me. Many of our new bike lanes in Columbia also double as parking. It's by far the most idiotic thing I've seem them do to date. I talked to the person in charge last week and he claims that the folks parking in the bike lanes will "figure it out" and stop parking there. Good luck, I hope you get bike lanes that DON'T double as anything else.
People who park where the snowplows have to go get their cars towed or buried in concrete-like snow or smashed by the plow and the city owes them nothing. If cyclists knocked the mirrors off of cars parked in the bike lane, or bashed in a few doors, we'd be criminal vandals and hunted down like dogs.

There needs to be some automated armored vehicle that patrols the bike lanes crushing anything that doesn't belong there.
"The idea of going green is all good, but my shoppers aren't going to ride a bicycle,"

You have to understand, my shoppers are fat and lazy, and they would never do something to better themselves, their community or the environment.
mupedalpusher - check out
Oh, but "our town is different."

It is a small town... they'll be hearing from some of their cycling customers - and myself, too, who would be a customer (I have wide feet) but... I might as well order online.
If that store wasn't the only place in Champaign-Urbana that I could find shoes wide enough for my duck feet, I would stop in on my next ride to the grocery store and let them know they lost a customer with that one.
Anon 2:24 - I suspect the opinions of loyal customers are more important to them than from possible customers. I'd be nice and friendly but let them know you ride a bike on that street. in the "bicycle friendly" confines of marin county, the town of san anselmo did the same diagonal parking thing on one side of the street, through part of the business district...... the middle of town it's not such a big deal because traffic is generally slow but on the southern stretch of the main drag, as a cyclist, you are definitely forced out into a faster stream of traffic...especially when there's a double-cab truck parked there or some clueless shmo doesn't edge up to the curb...

...the real problem is that a driver backing out of a parking space oft times can't see around or through the vehicle next to them until they've fully backed into the lane...

...definitely more dangerous, nowadays...
I always take the lane when cycling behind diagonal parking. You do what you gotta do.
I'm guessing that the alternative to diagonal parking is parallel parking with door-zone bike lanes.

This is a classic problem in bikeway advocacy. It's very hard to make bikeways continuous AND well-designed. Here, the choice is between no bikeway or a poor bikeway.

Even without a dedicated bikeway, there are still generally two choices for the cyclist: Take the lane, or take the sidewalk.
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