I did a double-take when I happened to drive past the relatively new bike lanes painted on 1st Avenue S. Here’s a couple pictures of what I saw:
Initially, I was blown away when I saw literally dozens of cars parked in the bike lane, none of which had received tickets. Then when I noticed that the buffer area was about 5′ wide, wide enough to just be a standard bike lane (although squarely in the door zone), I began to wonder if the contractor had installed the striping correctly; maybe it was actually supposed to be a bike lane and a parking lane.
After doing a little research, I learned that it is striped as intended as a buffered bike lane, and that the city has decided to allow vehicles to park in the bike lane on weekends in response to neighborhood concerns about weekend parking. The city specifically mentions “religious parking needs”. The decision to install bike lanes along 1st Avenue required the City to apply for a design exception, since state-aid standards require one-way streets to have at least two lanes of traffic.
This configuration isn’t likely to cause safety or traffic problems – only problems relating to people not understanding when or why parking is allowed (for example,
there are no signs indicating when parking is allowed EDIT- 8/15/11 12:22 PM – As per the comments below – there apparently are signs indicating that parking is allowed on weekends, but I didn’t see them, and I failed to capture them in any of the dozen or so photographs I took).
How do you feel about the City’s decision to allow cars to park in the bike lane on weekends? Have you had a chance to ride in these buffered bike lanes yet?