Reply to Mayor and Council on ‘parking in bike lanes’

by

Bike Lanes

 Janelle Turpin:

Thank you for the reply.  This has been an ongoing problem since the Okanagan Mission Group’s Verve development first started construction (2 years ago or more).  It is easy to tell when a few tickets have been handed out because for a day or so after, most (not all) of the 15 or 20 vehicles parked on the bike lane will be off of it.  Within a couple of days however it is back to normal – ie vehicles all over the bike lane making it dangerous to be anywhere near the bike lane on a bicycle. 

Please appreciate that this area is at a T intersection and is also the intersection of Yates rd with an offroad green pathway. My understanding is that Valley road is regarded as a major cycling route since Glenmore is most unpleasant due to higher speeds and heavy traffic, much of it trucks.  It is also a route to the University although that is another
story.

It is my understanding from talking to the by law officer that they DO NOT tow vehicles from the bike lane(s) and I had the distinct impression that the officer would love to tow some vehicles but that it was not supported by higher ups at the city.  The officer was frustrated that ticketing was all that was happening and that it did not solve the problem – namely it did not get the vehicles off the bike lane.  I can certainly agree with him.  He did mention that they towed a number of
vehicles from Yates road one day since they were parked in bus zones and against yellow no parking areas (but not on bike lanes).

You can perhaps appreciate the frustration of local cyclists.  The city makes a big deal out of the 230 km (?) of bike lanes that we have in Kelowna.  At every City cycling event that I have attended, this has been mentioned with pride.  These lanes are not a lot of good to us when they are used as parking spots, vehicle passing lanes, dumping areas for road debris, parking for construction equipment and dumpsters, etc. When nothing constructive is done to remedy these situations it sends a message to cyclists about the commitment that the City has to cycling.

Sending a by law officer out every day to ticket a few vehicles is not going to change things and is a waste of resources.  Here are my suggestions:

1) place no parking signs along the area in which the shoulder is narrow.  This would take in at most 200 – 300 metres of roadway.  Surely it would not be a hardship for the owners of these vehicles to walk 100 metres or so extra to get to work.  The cyclists who are endangered by their parking certainly travel a lot farther than that under their own
steam.

2) ticket and TOW vehicles parked on the cycling lane and no parking areas.  I don’t think that it would take long to get the message across. A ticket can be ignored (and since there are no “legal teeth” to these, I suspect most of them are) but when you have to go to the trouble to pay for towing and retrieve a vehicle it sends a strong message.

As far as longforming for parking infractions, it was brought up by the officer in our conversation.  I didn’t think to ask him if this had been done for vehicle parking in bike lanes (he did mention that it had been used to get three cyclists to court) and thus my two questions to “eagle eye” over the last few days.

Continually complaining about construction parking in this area is a waste of time and energy.  Surely the City has the initiative and authority to come up with a long lasting solution to this problem.

Thank you,

John C. Suttie.

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