Owners of struggling restaurants and cyclist in need of safe bike lanes are butting heads over a plan to restructure 30th Street in North Park to make way for a clear riding path.
Cyclist say the dedicated lane, which would replace curbside parking spaces, is badly needed. The plan to construct it was approved before the pandemic. However, during the pandemic, curbside space is providing a lifeline for restaurants who have seen their revenue plummet while in-door dining is banned, and the new bike lane could make it extremely difficult for restaurants to utilize the space.
Lara Worm, owner of Bivouac Ciderworks along 30th Street, said her curbside seating area is her only shot at survival.
“It’s like a miracle we’re still standing,” she said.
She was a bit surprised when she learned the city was moving forward with the 30th Street bike lane project, something she hoped would be delayed because of the pandemic.
City staff presented a proposal to area businesses during a recent community meeting, according to Worm.
“The businesses would then be allowed to put the parklets back on top of the bike lanes, however, the bike lanes would be put into use, and so the business would have the responsibility, the cost and liability passed along them to restripe the bike lanes to move around the parklets and to weave in and out of oncoming traffic,” she explained.
NBC 7 reached out to the city to confirm Worm’s account, but a city spokesperson couldn’t say if businesses would in fact be responsible and liable for rerouting cyclists. The spokesperson did confirms that the bikeway will be temporarily routed around parklets.
Nevo Magnezi, member of project advocate group Bike SD, said delaying the project is not an option.
“We don’t think that it would be fair to delay safe infrastructure to hopefully implement something better down the line. We want to do what we can now,” he said.
Magnezi said he hopes the city supports small business through the transition.
Worm said she supports the bike lane project, but says the timing isn't right. She said her outdoor dining space will have to be removed temporarily before spring so the road can be repaved.