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Bike lane project on 300 South applauded and criticized

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 3 2014 3:10 p.m. MDT

A cyclist rides in a bike lane on 300 South in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. A truck blocks the lane in the background. A vehicle is parked in a parking stall at right.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Businesses and bicyclists are unsure about a new layout on 300 South.

Salt Lake City is adding protected bike lanes on 300 South between 300 West and 600 East. The lanes are supposed to be safer for cyclists because they are closer to the curb, pushing parking spots a full lane away from the curb.

“There’s way more bikers than there ever has been. I think the reconstruction on 3rd (South) is awesome,” said cyclist Spencer Davis.

A lot of work has gone into creating the new lanes, but the project has had its snags. For example, there is confusion over the markings, and vehicle parking spaces look like they're in the middle of the street.

“I’m a little confused with the whole process. I don’t understand how it quite works,” said Deb Swanson, a shopper on 300 South. “I think it needs to be clearly marked and understood. You don’t know if you’re parking in a spot or not.”

Now and Again business owner Michael Sanders and other merchants along the street also worry about parking.

“Parking is almost substandard as it is,” he said.

Original designs cut nine parking spaces in front of the 300 South shops down to two spaces, and shop owners called on city engineers to sort things out.

“You can’t pick up a piece of furniture on your bike,” said Amy Leininger, owner of Q Clothing. “(Bicyclists) can come shop, but you also need to make room for the cars.”

City engineers are responding to concerns about parking, confusion, new signs, concrete medians, and rethinking the parking space design.

“We’re, indeed, adapting our design to be as responsive as we possibly can,” said Robin Hutcheson, Salt Lake City’s transportation director.

Ultimately, the new concept for the city is something everyone is trying to get used to — even cyclists.

“I think if people pay attention, it will be fine,” said cyclist Erik Seig. “But I vote for the bike lanes the way they used to be.”

Email: rpiatt@deseretnews.com

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