Protected Bike Lane on 5th Killed Because Parking + Curb = ‘Merica

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller’s purported “Vision Zero” pledge remains “Vision Taxpayer-Subsidized Car Storage.”

The City’s first parking-protected (passenger-side door zone buffer included) is dead.

still parking protected 5th
Short stretch of 5th at Main Library with its previous parking-protected bike lane

Bizarrely, yet appropriate given the congregation size at the Holy Church of Car Storage, KRQE’s focus on this development is about the “problematic ‘floating’ parking spots” removed so that the anointed tire may continue to kiss the sacred curb in our ritualistic devotion to driving, automobiles, and not having to walk more than seven feet to go anywhere.

Yes, this tiny stretch of parking-protected bike lane was a bad, unnecessary idea (too short; much more impact if placed elsewhere), but the fallout from the Church o’ Parking and political inability to extend such protection elsewhere in town means that, for instance, plans for parking-protected bike lanes on Lead and Coal downtown have been scrapped.

Added to this thinking, or lack of it, is downtown’s new “Safety Zone” designation with 20 mph speed limit. “Why have bike lanes if the speed limit is 20?” Well, because 99.4% of bike riders aren’t capable of going 20 mph. Meanwhile, the new e-scooters in town are governed at 15 mph, tops.

But who cares…parking!!!!

The decision and its implications are disheartening, yet utterly predictable evidence that when push comes to shove, roadway safety for all users will almost never be prioritized over driver convenience. Those who advocate for universal safety supposedly have to be satisfied with “almost never” instead of “never.”

A continued reality that does not bode well for anything approaching “Vision Zero” anytime soon, pledge or no pledge.


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