Dear Streetsbloggers: How Do You Handle Alt-Side Parkers in the Bike Lane?

Photo: ##http://southslopenews.com/blog/transportation/new-bike-lanes-vs-alternate-side-parking##South Slope News##

Christine Bush, editor of the neighborhood blog South Slope News, writes in with this question about when painted bike lanes and alternate side parking collide:

We just had our snazzy new bike lanes pop up on 14th and 15th Streets in South Park Slope last weekend, but when I left to take my son to school this morning, I discovered most of the lane blocked by double-parked cars.

Is this an issue on other bike lane streets?

Other residential streets with un-protected bike lanes do have this problem on alt-side parking days. The problem has been overcome, sort of, on at least one of these streets.

On Maple Street in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, the alt-side double parkers stay out of the bike lane. Neighborhood blog Hawthorne Street attributed this behavior to some effective enforcement by the 71st Precinct in 2007.

Photo: ##http://www.hawthornestreet.com/2009/12/bike-lane-compliance-in-plg.html##Sholom Brody/Hawthorne Street##

While it’s great to enforce the integrity of bike lanes, it might just be better to ride next to the empty curb instead of going in the narrow space between two rows of parked cars, where you’d have to look out for getting doored. Then again, if you ride by the curb, you’d have to maneuver around any stray alt-side violators.

Ideally, the ritual of double-parking when streets are getting cleaned wouldn’t be sanctioned by police, regardless of whether the bike lane is blocked or not. In a world where residential street space isn’t given away for free, you could set a price on curbside parking that would open up enough spots for car owners to vacate the street sweeping side of the street while still finding a legal place to park.

Or — and I don’t know if this has been implemented anywhere else — on a street that’s too narrow for a protected bike lane plus two parking lanes, you could get rid of one parking lane and put the remaining one in the middle of the roadbed. Motor traffic would travel on one side and bike traffic on the other. Street sweepers would be able to reach both curbs without anyone having to move their parked cars.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Brad Lander: Bring on the Prospect Park West Bike Lane

|
Marty Markowitz may have gummed up plans to make walking and biking in Park Slope safer and more convenient, but the Prospect Park West bike lane has a champion in the City Council. District 39 rep Brad Lander says he wants the project to move forward. Brad Lander. Photo: New York City Council "I support […]
To keep making progress on traffic safety, redesigns as substantial as this protected bike lane planned for Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn will have to be implemented citywide. Image: NYC DOT

DOT Shows Its Plan to Get the Reconstruction of 4th Avenue Right

|
Fourth Avenue is far and away the most viable potential bike route linking Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, and Park Slope, but it's still scary to ride on, with no designated space for cycling. At 4.5 miles long, a protected bike lane would make the reconstructed Fourth Avenue one of the most important two-way streets for bicycle travel in the city, connecting dense residential neighborhoods to jobs and schools.