A truce in the bike lane wars may be at hand.
The City Council March 30 asked city staff for options that could lead to some streets where parking has been eliminated to once again allow parking.
The first step will simply be to cover up the “no parking” signs along 188th Street Southwest and 208th Street Southwest.
Contractors were to begin work this week adding bike lanes to 188th, 208th and 168th streets, but the city asked that the work be delayed a month.
“It’s on hold for 30 days, pursuant to our rights under the contract,” Mayor Don Gough told council members.
Controversy over the plan to add bike lanes has increased in recent weeks as residents along 208th Street Southwest became increasingly worried about the loss of street parking. Resident Craig Parsons has been the most vocal critic of the plan, which is an effort by the city to improve east-west access routes for bicyclists and improve bicycle route connectivity.
“We’re finally feeling like they’re hearing us,” Parsons said March 30, following a council work session on the issue. “I think it’s a plus for everyone involved.”
Council members asked public works director Bill Franz and his staff to return next week with options that could include everything from integrating parking with bike lanes, allowing parking on one side of the street or possibly even slightly changing the bike path route to accommodate street parking.
Franz told the council some or all of the $150,000 in federal money earmarked for the project could be lost if the council decides to make significant changes. Additionally, he said the contractor could decide to challenge the city in court.
Council President Ruth Ross said she was disappointed that the city put so much effort into weighing the impacts of traffic calming efforts along 68th Avenue West last year while, at the same time, moving quickly ahead with a bike lane plan that affected more people.
“Is it too late for us to really look at this and say are there some other things that might actually work?” she said. “(It) seems like we didn’t do that with this.”
Councilman Ted Hikel said he regrets not reading staff memos more carefully last year when the project was being reviewed.
“I went along with the vote when I should have voiced my opposition,” he said. “The question is how can we accommodate a small number of bike riders and not (adversely) impact our neighborhoods?”
Other council members said they hoped the city can work to mend divisiveness on the issue.
Councilman Mark Smith said he has “a lot of sympathy” for residents along 188th and 208th.
Lynnwood, he said, “has far more than its fair share of traffic on any given day.”
At the same time, he added, “Lynnwood is in a period of transition and part of our job is to help nurture that vision for the future.”