City replaces parking spaces on South 26th to fit in bicycle lanes
They were striped Oct. 5 after new pavement was poured in late September for a 2C project.
But to fit the lanes in, there had to be a trade-off, city transportation officials explained. Space for at least 30 cars to park along the east side of the street, between Robinson Street and Westend Avenue, are now marked with no-parking signs.
According to Tim Roberts, a city transportation engineer; and Kate Brady, the city bike planner, all but one of the houses along the north side of the street don't face onto the street - so it seemed logical to stripe that space for cyclists.
This perception of non-conflict was also the reason no public meetings were held before the striping changes were made, Roberts explained. "As policy we conduct a public process where capacity or parking is changed. In this case, the amount of parking changed was small enough that we felt a private process would suffice."
26th from Colorado Avenue to Gold Camp Road has received city attention over the past two years, including several utility and stormwater upgrades and - under the taxpayer-supported 2C program - concrete upgrades and the recent paving from Highway 24 to Gold Camp.
That stretch, which features steep uphill grades on the southbound side - has long been a bicycling favorite. For example,
Since the striping, questions have arisen about the city's width measurements. Roberts and Brady announced that the striped widths would allow 7 feet for a parking lane, 5 feet for either bike lane (6 next to a parking lane) and 11 feet for either through traffic lane.
However, physical measurements by the Westside Pioneer show that the through lanes on both sides are narrower than 11 feet along the whole stretch from Robinson to Westend. The distances range from 10-foot-2 to 10-foot-7, measured from and to the middle of the painted lines.
Note: A city transportation worker said that the city does not measure through lanes that way. Its measurement start between the two orange center lines. This adds about half a foot to the “official” width - even though the actual lane space is less.
Parking and bike lanes are separated only by single lines. Again measuring from center of line to center of line, the Pioneer found that the newly striped parking lanes are narrower than the intended 7 feet, except on one side of one block.
By contrast, the striped bike lanes meet or exceed their announced widths, even reaching 7 feet on one side of one block.
Regarding the discrepancies on the lane widths, he said in a follow-up e-mail, “these small errors are going to occur with installation as we are using vehicles driven by human beings and not construction on an assembly line. Most of the time we are within inches like most of the roadway.”
He added that bicycle lanes were not striped going uphill into the hairpin turns, nearly a half-mile south of Westend, because it's too narrow there to fit them in.
Editor's note: As a full disclosure, the Westside Pioneer office is on South 26th Street. However, Pioneer editor Kenyon Jordan has been known to measure city street widths before. See our 2010 Holland Park traffic-calming article at this link.
Westside Pioneer article