Reverse parking debate
Edmond’s first steps to initiate a citywide master bicycle plan have met opposition from Dr. Brad Fielding, who doesn’t like the reverse-angle parking in front of his office at 13 N University Drive.
Fielding’s attempt to request a variance for the new parking failed by a vote of 3-2 by the city council. Council members Nick Massey and Victoria Caldwell supported Fielding’s variance.
The first bike lane is considered part of the city’s pilot project and happened to involve four parking spaces outside the optometrist’s medical building across from the University of Central Oklahoma campus.
City officials said reverse angle, or back-in-head-out-on-street parking, is the standard parking configuration when bike lanes are adjacent to on-street parking. They said the idea is backed by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities.
The parking change is for the safety of the bicyclists and motorists who traditionally depart while backing into traffic, city officials said.
Bike lanes on University from Second Street to Chowning were the first projects developed beginning in 2013 after the master plan was adopted by the council. This segment of University changed from four lanes to three lanes with a center turn lane and bike lanes on the outside.
Fielding said 275 of his patients are older than 70 with restricted vision that is not compatible with backing into a confined parking space.
“The experience in my practice has shown that this reverse-angle parking actually creates adversarial relationships between myself and my clients, patients as well as the city and its citizens,” Fielding said.
Fielding admitted to Councilman Darrell Davis that he rents the parking lot behind his office to the University of Central Oklahoma. He rents 32 spaces and has reserved for his use 12 spaces in the lot behind his office plus the four spaces in front of the medical building.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Waner said reverse-angle parking makes for a safer community, but more education is needed about its benefits.
Council members offered to make the four spaces in front of the building into two parallel parking spots, but Fielding refused their offer.
Eastside commercial recommended
Edmond planning commissioners this week recommended rezoning 13.17 acres on the south side of Covell Road and just east of Air Depot Boulevard from single family to restricted commercial.
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