By Howard Monroe


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A bike lane battle is brewing in South Philadelphia. It’s all over new bike lanes that were installed this week along South 11th Street. Some say they’ve taken away precious parking spaces.

The issue is a huge space. People who live nearby say before four or five cars could park there, but now it’s illegal to do so and it’s all because of protected bike lanes.

Credit: CBS3

“It’s just an impossible situation so why take them away? I guess you need them for a buffer for bike lanes, but I would think you want to do something to compensate for it in a different way,” resident Nick Panaccio said.

An impossible situation on South 11 Street was made even worse. New protected bike lanes are taking away parking residents say is desperately needed.

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“I understand the problem with parking in the city, but if drivers want to feel safe riding next to bikes and bikes want to feel safe riding next to cars then this is the perfect way to do it,” biker Nikki Rockwell said.

In the design, the city had to block off sections of the street that used to be parking spaces. Neighbors say more than 100 spaces were taken away. The city says the number is more like 18 to 24 legal parking spaces.

“So we know there can be a lot of creative parking that can happen and we’re really concentrated on improving sightlines at the intersections so that drivers can see when they’re turning, whether there are pedestrians in the crosswalks, bicyclists coming through,” said Kelly Yemen, with Philadelphia Complete Streets.

While many people say they agree with the protected bike lanes and understand the need for safer streets, they also say their most precious commodity is now taken away.

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“It’s crazy, you can drive around here for hours at night looking for parking,” Panaccio said.

“I know every effort was made to minimize lost parking as part of this [upgrades to 11th Street] — we actually pushed for this throughout the process knowing it’s an ongoing very important issue to our neighbors,” Passyunk Square Civic Association President Sarah Anton said.

The city says the work isn’t done and that more painting and safety improvements will be happening over the next few weeks.