It was announced at this past Monday’s meeting of the Greater Albuquerque Bicycling Advisory Committee that Albuquerque City Councilor Isaac Benton will introduce an ordinance next Monday, the 19th, adding “in a bicycle lane” to the existing Traffic Code language that:
“No person shall park a vehicle upon a street, other than an alley, in such a manner or under such conditions as to leave available less than ten feet of the width of the roadway for free movement of vehicular traffic.”
The additional bike lane language seeks to strengthen the potential for enforcement of bike lane parking violations. The proposed ordinance also adds the following to the existing Code:
Bicycles lanes are traffic lanes, therefore, automobile parking or motor vehicle use of a bicycle as a driving or passing lane is prohibited.
While parking in the bike lane tends to dominate attention, the “driving or passing lane” language above addresses what might be the greater danger to cyclists, and its enforcement would cause perhaps an even greater change in driver behavior overall.
The expansion in bike lane width to Complete Streets standards, such as Zuni from Washington to Central, has led to increased safety, but also increased temptation for “non-compliance” by motorists too impatient to stick to the driving lane.
As the number of “Complete Streets Projects” grows (Rio Grande Blvd., etc.), and the new edition of the City’s guiding document for roadway configurations, the Development Process Manual (DPM), gets closer to final approval, the instances for possible low “compliance” will only heighten in this regard.
The new DPM significantly changes roadway lane width prescriptions to more closely match what we see on Zuni and elsewhere. While parking in the bike lane will get all the attention now, well..what little attention will be generally paid to an issue involving cyclists, inclusion of the driving/passing language is at least equally key.
It will be interesting, at least for some of us, to follow the future of this proposed ordinance.