The city of Oakland will begin charging for bike parking, issuing tickets, fines and booting bicycles if deemed necessary.
Beginning today, Friday, April 1, the city of Oakland will start holding bicycle operators to parking rules and regulations similar to those of motor vehicle operators.
"We're spending thousands of dollars to put up signs and paint," George S. Hudson, director of the Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Program, said at a press conference this morning. "Bike racks aren't free, they cost hundreds of dollars to install."
In a time when Oakland's budget is strapped, this is just another way the city is looking to generate revenue from those that have it. Bicyclists are impervious to increasing gasoline prices and they only pay for road maintenance and construction through their sales, property and transaction and use taxes.
Richard Romano, who operates a large apartment building a block from a major bikeway, has had it with bicycle clutter and welcomes the new rules. He points out that when 10 or 12 people compete for scarce bicycle parking in front of his building, they impede the ability of someone else to leave their car in the parking space right in front of his entrance.
"Bikes on the street are unsightly, should be considered a fire hire hazard by Oakland Fire Department, scuff the sidewalks and attract bike thieves into our neighborhood."
Avid motorist Shirlee Holmes applauded the ordinance.
"Bicyclers are due to pay some of the costs of their special lanes," she said, adding the city should "make the price hefty enough to cover the administration costs."
Of Oakland's 805 miles of city-owned and maintained roadways, 32 miles have bike lanes. In 2009, Oakland had the fifth highest number of bicyclists in the U.S.’s 70 largest cities.
"I think what the city is doing, in part, is playing catch up," Hudson said.
Planning Commissioner Michael DenDekker discussed his motivations for promoting the new ordinance.
"They're sharing roadways now and it's very important that they have that credibility and respect, just like we have for motorcyclists, for example. I think it will be a positive thing and actually be better for bicyclists in the long run."
Elaborating on his long-term vision for street parity, DenDekker said he "looks forward to the day when cameras in bike lanes will help identify scofflaw cyclists and hold them to the same standard of accountability as drivers."
To attend a special meeting to further discuss the new ordinance, RSVP here.
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