Illegal parking in new downtown bike lanes causing danger, frustration

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –  The idea was to make all of Albuquerque, more friendly for bicyclists, walkers, and runners.

That’s why the city created a 50-mile loop, but it looks like some drivers just see the new bike lanes as an easy place to park.

They’ve only been there a couple months but they’re hard to miss. Bike lanes are clearly painted on two roads downtown, along with no parking signs. Yet some drivers are dismissing them, causing a dangerous situation.

The 50-mile loop takes you in a massive loop around Albuquerque. At one point, swinging through downtown.

“Last week we added about 20 new no parking signs, no parking in the bike lane, we have painted some intersections with patches of green so it catches the drivers eyes,” City of Albuquerque Municipal Development Strategic Program Manager, Mark Motsko said.

Bicyclists now have a southbound lane on 5th Street and a northbound lane on 4th Street but they new lanes are hard to use when cars are parked there.

The other night someone took to 311 to report car after car after car parked smack in the bike lane on 5th. The 311 reporter jotted down licenses plates for each one of them.

People KRQE News 13 spoke with think it’s just lazy and cheap since these drivers are dodging the meters.

“Two bucks for a couple hours is completely reasonable,” Albuquerque resident and bicyclist, Seth Saavedra said. He said when he’s bicycling, he gets frustrated with this problem because drivers who refuse to park in front of meters or in a garage are neglecting the safety of bicyclists.

“I mean I have been hit by car doors that they open them right as you’re riding past but they shouldn’t have been in the bike lane in the first place,” Saavedra said.

Saavedra said he realizes the lanes are new and drivers have to get used to them, but with obvious signage and clear markings on the road, there’s no excuse anymore.

The city’s parking enforcement division said it’s now working longer hours to make sure violators are cited.

“We did give a two week grace period where we were just notifying people they were in the bike lane and after that we issued live citations,” Motsko said.

Saavedra hopes the citations will make for smoother travel going forward.

“The more we can work in harmony, the better it is for everyone,” Saavedra said.

It’s been two months since the bike lanes were painted downtown. The city said since the two-week grace period, over 100 citations have been issued.

The city’s parking enforcement division said it will now be working at night, too, to monitor the problem.

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