SALT LAKE CITY — City leaders are in the middle of moving bicycle lanes around on 300 South. As the project becomes reality, the idea of “protected lanes,” as they’re called, is being both applauded and criticized.
The lanes are supposed to be safer for cyclists because they’re closer to the curb, pushing parking spots a full lane away from the curb.
“There’s way more bikers than there ever has been. I think the reconstruction on 3rd (South) is awesome,” said cyclist Spencer Davis.
A lot of work has gone into creating the new lanes, but the project has had its snags. For example, there's is confusion over markings and vehicle parking spaces look like they're in the middle of the street.
“I’m a little confused with the whole process. I don’t understand how it quite works,” said Deb Swanson, a shopper on 300 South. “I think it needs to be clearly marked and understood. You don’t know if you’re parking in a spot or not.”
Now and Again business owner Michael Sanders and other merchants along the street also worry about parking.
“Parking is almost substandard as it is,” he said.
Original designs cut nine parking spaces in front of the 300 South shops down to two spaces, and shop owners called on city engineers to sort things out.
“You can’t pick up a piece of furniture on your bike,” said Amy Leininger, owner of Q Clothing. “(Bicyclists) can come shop, but you also need to make room for the cars.”
City engineers are responding to concerns about parking, confusion, new signs, concrete medians, and rethinking the parking space design.
“We’re, indeed, adapting our design to be responsive as we possibly can,” said Robin Hutchenson, Salt Lake City’s transportation director.
Ultimately, the new concept for the city is something everyone is trying to get used to — even cyclists.
“I think if people pay attention it will be fine,” said cyclist Erik Seig, “but I vote the bike lanes the way they used to be.”
For more information about the 300 South protected bike lane project, visit www.slcgov.com/transportation/300South.
Contributing: Jordan Ormond