Parking in Bike Lanes: A Tale of Two Cities

The New Haven Independent published a feature last week in which a reporter shadowed a bicycle-mounted parking enforcement officer making his rounds:

Seeing a white Highlander SUV blocking an Orange Street bike lane, Stephen Saladino hit the brakes. He dismounted his city-issued Fuji and whipped out his Zebra-brand ticketing device, which caught the attention of a man on the sidewalk.

“I own the store here!” the man announced. “My customers can’t park here?”

Not in the bike lane, they can’t.

Saladino, a city parking enforcement officer, rode on Orange Street Thursday to deliver that message. Gently. He did the same on Dixwell Avenue, on Water Street. In fact, he was more interested in delivering that message than in putting tickets on windshields.

Saladino was on an experimental mission. In honor of Bike Month, the city’s transit department sent Saladino to bicycle traffic skills school, then assigned him to spend a day or two each week checking roads with a preponderance of cyclists to clear the bike lanes and sharrows of illegally parked cars.

In a bike-friendly community like New Haven, it shouldn’t be newsworthy when the people who enforce traffic and parking laws do their jobs. In other places, however, it might come as more of a surprise to see municipal attention paid to keeping bike lanes clear. Take New York, for example, where the authorities have an altogether different approach to bike lane enforcement:

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