ALBUQUERQUE, N.M (KRQE) – Downtown parking just got a whole lot trickier for Albuquerque drivers due to the city’s new buffered bike lanes down Fourth and Fifth streets.
The City of Albuquerque said it wants more of a “big city” feel, so it’s changing some downtown streets by adding what’s called a “buffered bike lane.”
“It’s part of the mayor’s 50-mile activity loop for bicyclists,” Mark Motsko said. “We’re making it more pedestrian friendly by separating the bicyclist from the oncoming traffic or parallel traffic.”
Motsko is the spokesperson for city’s Department of Municipal Development.
The buffered bike lanes were just put in, but drivers are already confused.
They’re parking in the bike lanes, or parking side-by-side with drivers who are using the new parking slots.
“There are new bays that are marked and we will be finishing the striping in the next week and adding in the signs and symbols for drivers,” Motsko said.
Besides the confusion, some businesses feel like their customers are losing out on some prime parking spaces.
“They actually added more parking recently. That was nice because it allowed for two extra cars and now they just took it all away,” Jorden Romero said.
Romero works at Al’s Big Dipper next to the Downtown Library. She said they worry about their vendors who will now have to park in the designated parking spaces to unload their shipments.
“Before, they were right up against the curb, now they’ll practically be in the middle of the road,” Romero said.
The city said although it took away parking spots in some areas, it made up for them on other streets nearby.
“We’ve had a net gain of about two spots,” Motsko said. “We’re losing a few here in front of the Assessor’s Office, but further south we gain a couple spots.”
Motsko said within the last year the city has added 196 parking spots in downtown Albuquerque.
The new bike lanes will be closed the next few days so that crews can add signs and symbols for drivers and bicyclists. They also have to add parking meters that will be placed on the sidewalks.
The city said it will test the current buffered bike lanes before deciding to place them in other parts of the city. Motsko said drivers should not have received a ticket for parking in the bike lanes the last few days.