Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cars Parked in the Bike Lane Made Me Happy

Don't you just hate it?

On the commute home from work tonight, the part-time bike lane was full of parked cars smack in the middle of the no parking window. Grrrrr, right? Not just a few, either, but a big long line of them. Time for an angry post on the blog! Look out, scofflaw parkers and passive-aggressive non-parking-ticket-writing lawmen, here comes an angry/fiery screed that will make your toes curl with its passion and ire!

Oh, wait a sec. There's a sign up there. Let's go and check it out. 

The sign. It looks party-like. But with attached official document.

What's this, some bright green sign announcing a neighborhood function of which I was unaware? A block party for which I unaccountably did not receive an invitation? A street parking training course?

Official document, a physical manifestation of a civil society in action

OK, wow! The people involved were concerned enough about parking regulations and the impact on their neighbors that they followed procedure, which includes contacting/informing three different agencies: Investigative Services, Right-of-Way Enforcement, and Police-Parking Enforcement. Hardly the scofflaws I initially assumed, right? And since the fax came from Traffic Operations, I assume they were involved, too. I can work with this. I can give a little to get a little.

They didn't just stick cones in the street and snub the rest of us who need to use the lane. They worked through the city, found out what they had to do, made proper application, and obtained the required approval, which they posted in a visible manner. Now, it might not make sense to everyone who reads this, but I mean it when I say: I'm proud to be a part of this.

I've lived in times and places where they do things differently than this. We don't always get reasons or explanations. The impositions placed on us are not always limited in time, or overseen by agencies who are trying to look out for the good of the many while allowing brief exceptions for the good of the few or the one.

Due process, fairness, communication, civil compromise: these make this blogger extremely happy. Get up. Go ride.



  1. Intent is important. I am not troubled by someone who is pulled over in a bike lane changing a tire. I am PO'd at someone sitting their waiting for their carpooler, chatting on the phone. I'm glad that your neighbors took the trouble to go through the proper channels instead of just claiming part of public space to suit themselves.

  2. This is so well done, methinks whoever did it either has some knowledge of construction traffic control themselves, or the advice of somebody who does.

    The paving contractor, maybe? Might be worth some research in order to deliver a written kudo!

  3. But now the bike lane doesn't exist.

  4. So, the bike lane not existing. Is that a good or a bad thing? After all, it was just a paint stripe to begin with.

  5. cycler - I agree, but sometimes it can be a challenge to accurately assess intent when riding by. If only we could instantly peer into each others' souls...

    BluesCat - it kind of looked from the paper like it probably was the paving contractor, as you concluded. One hopes the attention to detail maps over to the paving itself.

    Steven - that particular lane flickers in and out of existence daily, depending on the time of day, according to the posted hours on the No Parking signs. I believe philosophically speaking that it is accurate to say that at the moment the photograph was taken, the bike lane actually did exist, but was rendered unusable due to the presence of parked cars, but I found this unusability pleasing because of the organized and civil way in which it was enacted.

    Steve - with the previous response in mind, I will translate your question as "is the unusability of this paint stripe a good thing or bad thing," and in this particular case I am attempting to make clear that I found it to be a good thing indeed.

  6. Sure, the bike lane didn't exist (from 11/1 to 11/5) but that seems a fair sacrifice to help others possibly increase their quality of life (assuming it is a paving contractor, and paving is completed).

    I imagine by now (11/9) the bike lane exists again?

  7. Lxndr yes, the bike lane exists again, at least during its regular posted non-parking hours, and the residents of that complex appear to have reinvigorated parking facilities.


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