Urbana replaces parking spaces with bike lanes

This article has been edited from an earlier version to fix previously incorrect information.

The Urbana City Council meeting tonight unanimously passed an ordinance to replace parking spaces with bike lanes along Main, Philo, Race and Washington streets.

Brandon Bowersox, representative for Ward 4, said he understands that homeowners on these streets are upset about the loss of parking but believes it is necessary to make Urbana a bicycle-friendly community.

“It’s a balance,” he said. “We minimized the impact by picking routes that would cause the least amount of lost parking.”

Bowersox said there has been some debate as to whether bicyclists should use the streets. He said there are three different classifications for cyclists and they have different needs.

“There are Type A cyclists with their spandex and expensive bikes who use their bicycles to commute to work,” he added. “They belong on the street and should follow all the rules of the road, including riding along with traffic.”

He the described Type B cyclists as casual cyclists who use both the road and bike paths. Type C cyclists are younger people who should use the sidewalks until they are old enough to ride safely on the street.

Gary Cziko, Urbana resident, spoke on behalf of the ordinance.

“It will be an inconvenience to the homeowners, but those spaces aren’t really theirs anyway,” Cziko said. “They belong to the city.”

Diane Marlin, alderman for Ward 7, said about $25,000 a year is used to build bike lanes and that at no point did it exceed .1 percent of the rest of the road upkeep expenditures.

Charlie Smyth, alderman for Ward 1, said the motor vehicle fuel tax helps cover the cost of road expenditures and noted that bicycles are street-legal vehicles.

Smyth added that in order for Urbana to become a bicycle friendly community, there needs to be education on sharing the road for both bicyclists and motorists.