Downtown Dayton visitors are parking wrong, blocking bike paths

Two cars block a protected bike lane in downtown Dayton on Monday. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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Two cars block a protected bike lane in downtown Dayton on Monday. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Downtown Dayton’s new protected bike lanes are causing some confusion for drivers who continue to park at the curb, blocking bikeways that are supposed to keep cyclists safe.

Protected lanes are physically separated from traffic and the sidewalk, but some motorists haven’t caught on that they are supposed to park in white-lined designated spaces.

A car blocks the protected bike lane on Jefferson Street in downtown Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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A car blocks the protected bike lane on Jefferson Street in downtown Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton’s parking enforcement aides and police officers are issuing warnings to improperly parked cars, said Dayton police Lt. James Mullins, commander of the Central Patrol Operations District.

Also, he said, city staff and Downtown Dayton Partnership employees are putting fliers on windshields with information about how to park correctly in these areas.

“We are still in the education phase of this implementation,” Mullins said, pointing out that only one citation has been issued for parking in the lanes on Jefferson Street since July.

Two cars block a protected bike lane on Jefferson Street on Monday. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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Two cars block a protected bike lane on Jefferson Street on Monday. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Protected bike lanes were added to Jefferson Street in November of 2020 that are meant to put a buffer between cyclists and traffic, said Joe Weinel, Dayton’s chief engineer in the bureau of design engineering.

The lane closest to the curb is now the bike lane, and there is a striped barrier painted on the roadway separating cars and bikes.

Information the city of Dayton shares on fliers that are being issued to vehicles that park in the protected bike lanes on Jefferson Street. CONTRIBUTED
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Information the city of Dayton shares on fliers that are being issued to vehicles that park in the protected bike lanes on Jefferson Street. CONTRIBUTED

Jefferson Street has the first and only protected lanes in Dayton, Weinel said, but protected lanes are planned for Ludlow Street in 2024.

Bike Miami Valley has said that protected lanes generally feel safer and more like a bike path.

The city has installed more than five miles of new bike lanes since 2018, and it plans to construct a new cycling track in the Wright Dunbar Business District, which will be protected by a curb.