Park Boulevard bike lanes will cut parking for businesses

The newly paved stretch of Park Blvd will soon have new protected bike lanes in both directions, but it will reduce the number of parking spaces by about a third.

SAN DIEGO — As the City of San Diego looks to paint new bike lanes along a one-mile stretch of Park Boulevard in University Heights, business owners are frustrated as they face a significant loss of parking spaces.

“All of this was just thrown at us,” said Carmen Cooley, owner of JA Cooley Museum. “They do what they want and we just have to take it and they don’t communicate.”

The newly paved stretch of Park Blvd will soon have new protected bike lanes in both directions, but it will reduce the number of parking spaces by about a third. Cooley is frustrated to lose customer parking on her block.

“Eleven spots will be taken down to about seven. Our loading zones will be gone,” said Cooley. “Vehicles will be parked parallel getting out in the line of traffic.”

Cooley’s family has owned the JA Cooley Museum and Train Shop for 80 years on this block, and she told CBS 8 that businesses will suffer.

“If there is no parking, people will not go to your business,” Cooley said. “I don’t see people using laundromats on bicycles.”

“You take people who may be elderly, who may not be able to move as well as I can move, it makes it hard for them to be able to get in and out when you don’t have any parking in front of the place you have to go carrying laundry bags, carrying laundry with you,” said Cherise Riley, who frequently uses the Park Blvd Laundromat.

CBS 8 contacted the City’s Transportation Department, and they said this new bike lane project stretches along Park Blvd from Adams Avenue down to University Avenue. They realize the new layout may take some getting used to.

“We’re going to float the parking out and bikeways are going to stay closer to the curb and that will give them an extra element of protection,” said Everett Hauser, program manager for the City of San Diego.

With new condo buildings under construction on the corner of Park Blvd and El Cajon Blvd, many people think the parking problem will be exacerbated even further once people start moving in. So how many parking spaces will be sacrificed for the new bike lanes?

“For the mile long project, there’s about a reduction of 88 spaces. There was 253 to start, and we were able to retain 165 throughout the corridor,” said Hauser.

The new lanes will likely be painted in the coming weeks, but people do have a chance to voice their opinions at the University Heights Community Association meeting this Thursday, May 5 over Zoom. City representatives are expected to be in attendance.

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