Bike lane or loading zone?

State and federal curb-striping requirements clash with Sacramento’s protected bike paths

Photos courtesy of David Tibor

The city of Sacramento is marking the first anniversary of implementing parking-protected bikeways. But there are some questions of how protected these lanes really are.

Bicycle commuter David Tibor provided photos to SN&R showing two cars parked near striped curbs within protected bikeways downtown. The city implemented the bikeways to create a protected corridor along roadsides, with drivers parking on the other side of these lanes, a few feet out from the curb.

“I can’t believe that this is really an approach the city is following—to set up parking protected bike lanes, and then encourage cars to drive down the protected bike lanes and stop/park in them,” Tibor said via email.

Jennifer Donlon Wyant, a transportation program specialist for the city, said curb striping within protected bikeways is meant to mark floating parking areas and wasn’t intended to encourage parking within the lanes. She said that state and federal regulations require Sacramento to stripe curbs, and that city parking enforcement will ticket drivers parked within protected lanes.

Donlon Wyant said a community member recently sent similar photos to City Councilman Steve Hansen’s office.

“This is the first time that we’ve gotten a concern like that,” Donlon Wyant said. “It is something that we’ve thought about internally. However, the regulations are at the state and federal level so it’s not something that we can just change.”

That said, Donlon Wyant acknowledged there might be more for the public to learn, saying Sacramento offers a free class on urban biking and scooting monthly at City Hall.

Both Donlon Wyant and Tibor praised the bikeways overall, with Tibor telling SN&R that they “have helped bike safety a great deal.” Donlon Wyant said the bikeways have helped the city’s Vision Zero program.

“We were able to slow folks down and thereby improve traffic safety,” Donlon Wyant said.