Some people haven't figured out how to use the newly repaved Cayuga Street yet

October 14, 2015 by Rachel Cera

Old habits die hard? We might as well give people the benefit of the doubt that they're not intentionally flouting the law with the new configuration on North Cayuga Street.

Not getting it: No, you can't park here. Photo courtesy of David McKinley.Not getting it: No, you can't park here. Photo courtesy of David McKinley.The newly (and beautifully) repaved thoroughfare that runs from Downtown Ithaca north through Fall Creek is also newly restriped, though, and parking is no longer legal on both sides of the street. Cayuga Street has been reconfigured to include two lanes for vehicle traffic (one lane in each direction), parking on the east side of the street only, and two bike lanes adjacent to each vehicle lane.

The northbound bike lane is between the vehicle lane and a parking lane, so watch out for people opening the doors of their parked cars! The southbound bike lane is along the west side of the street, where area residents used to be able to park. 

No parking when? How about now? What about with a permit?No parking when? How about now? What about with a permit?"The bike lanes are confusing for bikers and cars," says area resident David McKinley, who shared a photo with us of a car illegally parked for a third day in a row. McKinley says "not much signage" could be the culprit; there are stenciled bike symbols in the bike lanes, and there are "No Parking" signs on the west side of the street, but maybe not enough of either. He says the new "No Parking Any Time" signs are also mounted on the same posts as older "No Parking Wed 4:30-9pm Sunday 9am-3pm" and "Except With Permit" signs, which could give people the impression that parking at other times, or with a neighborhood parking permit, is still fine.

Adding to the confusion? The City of Ithaca reopened discussion on the parking decisions made months ago as part of a public process, and held an open discussion at a Common Council meeting last Tuesday. "This project has already been considered and decided by the City through a well-publicized process," Marshall McCormick, an organizer of Bike Walk Tompkins, said last week. "Opening up the decision process at this late hour, after paint has been laid down, is inefficient and unfair."

Supporters of the bike lanes say there's still plenty of parking available in the neighborhood, though it may be on side streets or a block away, rather than right in front of a resident's home. "We understand that some residents may be inconvenienced by the new traffic flow and parking pattern," said Bike Walk Tompkins. "We support listening to their concerns, and the judicious implementation of mitigating measures as appropriate -- such as enhanced pedestrian crossings, reserved spaces for disabled residents, etc. -- while retaining the bike lanes."

According to Bike Walk Tompkins, "Enhancing bicycling in the City is an equity issue. Census figures show that a disproportionate number of low income families depend on walking, bicycling and transit to get to work. Enhancing bicycling within the City will make it easier for low income breadwinners to get to work in a safe, dependable and affordable mode."

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