By Charles Ratliff
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Off-campus visitors to UA's Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium have been allowed to park in areas that have been designated by the university as bike lanes.
And that creates the problem of forcing students to bike in traffic and expose themselves to potential road hazards, says cyclist Mike Kruger, astronomy and physics senior.
"At any time of any given day there's usually one car parked there," Kruger said.
"We have allowed the planetarium to have visitors park on the Mall area," said Marlis Davis, director of UA Parking and Transportation Services. "That's just a past practice we have allowed before they painted the bike lanes."
Davis said Parking and Transportation Services has received complaints and have taken steps to resolve the situation.
"With programs that are ongoing, we can't just up and say this week Stop!," Davis said.
"You can't even bike in those bike lanes," Kruger said. "I just want it stopped."
Arizona Revised Statutes section 28-815 C. states "A bicycle path or lane when designated as such by state or local authorities shall be deemed to be for the exclusive use of bicycles even though other uses are permitted."
Kruger said he and others have been forced to bike in the roadway, forcing traffic to slow and exposing them to other hazards such as someone opening the door of a parked vehicle without due regard to oncoming bike traffic.
But, Kruger said, the biggest problem has been that buses and visitors' cars have been parked in the lanes designated for bicycles.
"It clearly states it is illegal to do that," he said.
Davis said that Parking and Transportation Services has issued warnings to visitors, especially those from the public school system, who bring children to visit the planetarium, that parking in the bike lanes will no longer be allowed as of July 1.
But, until then, Davis said she is doing everything she can to minimize the parking problem by directing visitors to other parking venues and arranging shuttle transportation to the planetarium.
To solve the visitor problem will take some time, Davis said, and she said she is doing everything she can to resolve the situation.
"That just doesn't happen overnight," she said.
On the other hand, Davis said she has brought her people in on the weekends, when parking restrictions are the least relaxed, to issue citations to vehicles specifically parked in bike lanes around the campus.
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