Parking In Bolton Bike Lanes - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Parking In Bolton Bike Lanes

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ALEXANDRIA, La. -- If you've driven down Bolton Avenue recently, you may have noticed new bike lanes.

They're part of the city's beautification plan.

But, as News Channel Five's Brooke Buford found out, some business owners say they're creating an ugly problem.

Leon Arnold's store, Electronic Supply, has been in this spot on Bolton Avenue for 30 years.

"It's a good central location for us and the type of business that we do," he said.

In this shop, he sells parts to fix electronics. But now he's got a problem that he's not sure how to fix.

While he's seen some changes to Bolton Avenue over time, one of the biggest, recent changes took him by surprise.

"Hadn't heard about the bike lanes at all," he said. "The bike lanes were a surprise to me. I pulled up to the red light one day and looked and they were there."

A few weeks ago, the city put in these bike lanes as part of a project to make things more accessible to Alexandria bikers. But, Leon says, they've created a bit of a problem for local businesses.

Leon says his customers are having trouble finding parking spots, and he's afraid it could hurt business.

"I started making phone calls trying to find out if that meant we really weren't going to have parking on Bolton Avenue and found out that was right," he said.

But that's not the only problem. City leaders say, some people are still using the bike lanes for parking, and that's creating a problem for bicyclists too.

"I think the bike lanes are great, but I think when it comes down to the parking issue I think that's something that we have to strongly look at and review," said Roosevelt Johnson, of the Alexandria City Council. "We need to make sure that number one, there's safety and security. And also that there's continued economic growth and development for these business owners."

The Alexandria Police Department says they've gotten a few calls about cars parked in the bike lanes. But, right now they say there's not much they can do about it, because they can't ticket the cars yet.

"As of this time, there are no fines in place because DOTD has not finished putting up the 'no parking' signs," said Sgt. Bruce Fairbanks with APD. "Once DOTD has finished their signs, then we will be able to enforce a generic parking violation."

Leon says he's not sure what he's going to do now that his parking spots out front are for two-wheels instead of four. But one things, for certain, he has no plans of taking his business and rolling out.

City Court tells us that once the "no parking" signs get put up, it will cost you $181 if you park in a bike lane.

And, while city council hasn't talked publicly about what they plan to do to make both businesses and bicyclists happy, one possibility is to create specific hours for bicycle parking.

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