Where to park? Unfinished San Jose 'bikeway' project confuses drivers

ByAmanda del Castillo via KGO logo
Saturday, September 15, 2018
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"Do we double park?" asked driver Bryan Ching. "What happens to cars that get stuck in the middle?"

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Along North Third Street in downtown San Jose, commuters are confused about where they should park and where they should ride their bicycles.

One look at the changes happening along North Third Street and Santa Clara Street makes the confusion understandable.

It would appear there are two parking lanes that put parked vehicles side-by-side. An old parking lane is being transitioned into a protected bike lane, and a new painted parking lane has taken over a former lane of traffic.

Still confused? You aren't alone.

These changes are all a result of the City of San Jose's Better Bikeway SJ project. The city-wide project is currently underway. However, until it is completed, the city anticipates a level of confusion.

"I don't really know which lane I'm supposed to park in," driver Noah Salvi said.


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How parking will work when the new bike lanes are completed. (Image courtesy http://sanjoseca.gov/betterbikeways)
Image courtesy http://sanjoseca.gov/betterbikeways

He was one of many drivers who were second guessing their decision to park along the changing one-way street.

"Do we double park?" asked driver Bryan Ching. "What happens to cars that get stuck in the middle?"

Friday afternoon, several drivers who parked next to the curb found themselves surrounded and blocked-in by drivers who parked in the newly painted parking lanes to the left.

Colin Heyne with the city's Department of Transportation offered some clarity.

In a message to ABC7 News, he said, "We want people to continue to park at the curb until we have the green plastic bollards installed. Bicyclists can ride in the future parking-bike buffer area."

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This means the new painted parking lane should not be used for parking just yet. For now, that lane is what bicyclists should use.

Drivers should continue to park against the curb until bollards block them from doing so.

The city said everything should start making more sense once the Better Bikeway SJ project is completed.

At that point the official bike lane will be painted green and be obvious to commuters.

The protected bike lane design is already in place outside of San Jose State University's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.

Back on North Third Street, drivers said completion can't come soon enough.

"This street gets really crazy," driver Taraneh Sarrafzadeh said. "I'm glad that there are going to be designated bike lanes, but in the meantime it seems a little hectic."

Others told ABC7 News they are hopeful the city's planned traffic-calming measures will help dispel the confusion soon.

"It takes about a week for people to figure things out. Then it's the new traffic pattern and it's the new normal," said Richard Masoner, a cycling enthusiast and publisher of Cyclelicious.

On the Better Bikeway SJ website, project leaders anticipate the project will take a few months from start to finish.