If you’ve been driving around downtown San Jose this week, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking you’d stumbled onto an obstacle course or a graveyard of abandoned vehicles. Cars and trucks are parked side by side, bikes are zipping in and out of traffic and drivers are dodging workers who are busy painting crosswalks
It’s the unfortunate growing pains of the Better BikewaySJ project, which aims to create safer, more protected paths for bicyclists as well as traffic-calming measures to help pedestrians. The plans were the focus of several community meetings, with critics saying the changes would lead to lost parking as well as confusion and chaos. Other downtown construction projects that have closed lanes or created detours aren’t helping.
Part of the current mess is occurring because the street redesigns aren’t completed. Bike lanes have been painted in but not painted green. Right-turn lanes have disappeared on some streets. And spots for vehicle parking — now to the left of the bike lane instead of against the curb — have been installed in places where drivers are used to seeing a lane of traffic.
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