What’s with Christians complaining about bike lanes lately? We saw complaints in Washington, D.C. a couple of weeks ago; now, it’s happening in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Last year, city commissioners added bike lanes on Richmond Street NW… which happened to be on the street where First Ward City Commissioner Walt Gutowski attends church. The law says you can’t park in a bike lane. But now that a few churchgoers have been given $20 tickets for parking there anyway, Gutowski says the government has gone too far:
“During church is when you need that parking (on the street),” Gutowski said. “Why wouldn’t you want to use the overflow of the street rather than more surface parking (by expanding the church’s lot)?
“(Removing the bike lane) is not saying bikes can’t use the road. Bikes can clearly use the road (with or without a bike lane painted on the pavement).”
[City Attorney Catherine ] Mish said she told Gutowski the tickets would not be nullified. But [traffic safety manager Chris] Zull said he has been instructed to make the bike lane in front of St. Anthony go away.
It costs 6 cents per foot to paint a bike lane, Zull said. He said removal of the lane in front of the church, and painting 10 sharrows on the street instead, should cost about $2,000.
There’s a really simple solution to this: Get the government to put up a sign that says parking is allowed on that street on weekends. But, really, even that shouldn’t be necessary. Church members just need to adjust their habits. They don’t own the street. The taxpayers do. And a bike lane is good for the community even if it poses a minor inconvenience for parishioners.
Just because a government official attends the church affected by the bike lanes doesn’t mean he should be revising laws to benefit them.
(Thanks to Aaron for the link)