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Controversy Rages Over New Packard Bike Paths

Controversy Rages Over New Packard Bike Paths image
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Seen those new, solid white lines down both sides of Packard Street from Main Street to Stadium Boulevard? The lines are the latest addition to the city's growing number of bicycle paths. The solid white stripe means "no trespassing" to cars. The network of bicycle paths which will eventually include routes along many of A-'s major roads, are part of a proposal approved by voters two years ago. Money from that bond issue provides for more white-lined lanes and signs along all the bike routes, as well as curb cuts in areas where the streets are too narrow for safe bike-riding. The new lanes along Packard have. created a minor controversy, with complaints by drivers who resent bicycles taking up the edges of the road. Packard, although too narrow for four car lanes, had been used that way by motorists anyway. Auto owners say traffic is now slower along Packard, as lines must wait for turning or slow-moving cars. At Council, Democrats complained that the city's Streets, Traffic and Parking Department had installed the lines without first educating citizens to their use, or even marking the areas as bicycle lanes. Republicans also indicated dissatisfaction, as the lanes are supposed to be experimental, but no criteria were set up for evalúa At the urging of Republican Council member Roger Bertoia, the city attorney's office has drawn up some regulations on bike path use to make them safer both for bikes and cars. The regulations are: 1) Bikes must travel in lines in the same direction as adjacent cars - on the right side of the road. 2) Bikes must move from the bike lanes to the center of the road for making left-hand turns. 3) Pedestrians and hitchikers cannot stand or walk along the bike paths. 4) Cars turning right, or passing cars moving left can move into the bike lanes, as long as they yield to any bikes in them. A similar lañe has already been installed on the south side of Liberty Street, and another will soon be painted on Miller from Newport to Seventh. Regulations for bike lanes on only one side of the street will be drawn up later.