|Parking enforcement has not deterred motorists who are parking in a bike lane along Newport Road to access the new skate park.|
Jonathan Smith, director of public works, announced at the July 16 City Council meeting there are plans to re-stripe the lanes on Newport Road adjacent to the sports park. A 7-foot lane next to the curb -- where cars are now parking illegally in a bike lane -- will be marked as parking spots. The bike lane will be pushed out to the next lane of traffic.
Plans for the project show there will still be room for three main traffic lanes between the bike lane and the center median, but Smith acknowledged there would have to be some modifications in the landscaping to accommodate the extra width.
Whether this is a short-term solution remains to be seen. Many cars park along the curb on Newport because it's right next to the skate park. Admittedly, there's not a lot of signage marking the area as a bike lane. In addition, the two parking lots for the park are on the far side of the park. As a result, they are rarely full.
"I think you're jumping into this too quick," council member John Denver told Smith during the July 16 meeting. "I think it would be cheaper to put up better signage and get people to use the parking lot."
Denver also suggested more police presence in the area, including side streets on the back side of the park where there have been complaints from residents. Of course, police resources for ticketing in the area is limited.
"We are enforcing with a traffic officer and using more signs, but no one is obeying them," Smith said. "We figured this was the best way to address the issue without having additional enforcement available."
Note: The skate park was closed today and will be closed again tomorrow, July 19, for repairs and cleaning, according to a sign posted outside the locked gate.