Come April, a St. John’s ban on parking in bike lanes will be back in place.
City council lifted the bike-lane parking ban for the winter, with Coun. Art Puddister planning to have the ban lifted year-round.
From bike lane to park lane
But Coun. Dave Lane at Monday’s public council meeting asked council to hold off on any changes until the city’s newly formed bicycle task force can study the issue and make its report, noting that parking was one of the main reasons the bicycle task force was assembled in the first place.
“The recommendation is we not extend the parking allowance so that there is no confusion, and it would also give us time to come up with long-term recommendations through the less than a year we have to make those recommendations on behalf of cyclists in the city,” said Lane.
Council voted 8-2 in favour of reinstating the parking ban in bike lanes April 1 as planned, with Puddister and Coun. Bruce Tilley voting against it.
“These bicycle lanes have been quite a nuisance and affect the quality of life of a lot of people,” said Puddister, who said he was expecting the task force to have made its recommendations by now. “I don’t know the reasons it’s been delayed. Now we’re talking about moving out a number of months. We have citizens who are now parking in front of their houses over the past four months. To let them continue on for the next two to three months, whenever the recommendations come forward, I don’t see what the problem is.”
Lane said the task force has only had one meeting so far.
Coun. Sandy Hickman said relaxing the ban over the winter made sense, but council should be encouraging recreational activity and exercise.
“During the winter, practically speaking, not a lot of bicycling going on in these areas,” he said. “But we’re a progressive city, a modern city … we need to be thinking this way. I fully support the committee, the bicycle plan. I also have a huge concern with the cost and the timing of removing the (bike lane) lines. Those lines are there, the expectation would be that they would be used and enforced by the bicycling public.”
Some councillors who supported Lane’s motion to reinstate the parking ban did so reluctantly.
“I’m disappointed that it’s taken so long for this committee to get formed and get up and running,” said Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth. “Coun. Puddister identified that there was lots of time during the winter for this to take place. But in recognizing that we have the infrastructure already in place to enact this ban, it would make sense to carry on with having the bike lanes in place.”