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New Bike Lanes Cause Commotion

Updated: Saturday, July 27 2013, 12:29 AM EDT

New bike lanes painted on a portion of Riverside Dr. reducing parking on one side of the road causing a parking headache, according to neighbors and business owners in the East End.

The lanes were painted on the street Thursday as part of a years-old plan to slow down traffic on the busy thoroughfare. One bike lane has eliminated the space where Deb Dereshkevich used to park in front of her home. "I appreciate having the parking right there. Especially With kids we're unloading and unloading things a lot and not really happy about losing all of this space," Dereshkevich said.

Dereshkevich's neighbors across the street at the Brew River Gastro Pub aren't happy either.

"The thing is, we support the bikeway 100%," said Christian Babani, a co-owner of the pub. "The issue is we're having parking taken away from us in an area where we're completely dependent on street parking."     

City engineers admit parking has been reduced by 10 to 15%. They've opened two areas for parking - a grass lot across from the pub - and areas nearby on Vance St.  But, Babani says it's not enough.

Jeff Gipson of Fuel Coffee says his business took a big hit when the project started and one inbound lane of traffic was cut. "My problem lies in that I've lost business due to the lack of traffic. And I stand to lose more business by losing that traffic lane," Gipson said.

East End Community Council member Laurie Keleher - whose husband manages the project for the city - doesn't believe any parking spots have been eliminated. She said the city added spots where a bus stop used to sit.

She says restaurant and church patrons may have to walk farther.

"I understand the position. I don't think they have lost the parking that they think they have lost. I think they're taking a little bit more of an emotional view of this then by looking at the numbers," Keleher said.

The business owners say they’re looking at numbers and they're afraid fewer spots will equal fewer dollars for them. "We would like them to really work and help us. It's easy to say we're working to help you but they're not working to help us," said Art Bowman, a partner in the Gastro Pub.

The head of the city's traffic department, Michael Moore, told Local 12 News the city has tried to help with parking - but he says he can't just create more space.

Laurie Keleher says she suggested to the restaurants and churches that they start valet parking. It doesn't sound like the businesses and churches believe that's a viable option.

New Bike Lanes Cause Commotion

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