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Roads making room for cyclists

Published 08/13 2013 01:45PM

Updated 08/13 2013 01:50PM

CHAMPAIGN -- The streets are for pedestrians, bicyclists and cars. Now bike paths are filling more of the city's streets. But, some residents say they're giving up too much for it to happen.

The city is going forward with plans to put in another bike lane. This one will start at Hessel Boulevard and go to Kirby. The catch? Residents are losing parking spaces along the street. WCIA-3's Amanda Porterfield has the story.

Al Rehberg has lived in this house since the 60's. He remembers when South State Street wasn't even paved.

"I think the thing we like the most is that it's close to everything in town."

But, that convenience comes at a price. Rehberg says, since the UI started charging to park, they've lost a lot of spots to students and professors trying to save. Now, they're losing even more space to cyclists.

"I'm not happy, but that's the way it is."

They had neighbors sign a petition. It slowed the city's decision, but didn't stop it. Bike lanes will now be on both sides of State Street. Ten parking spaces on one side will be removed.

"I don't mind losing the parking if there's a need for it. They still have not shown me there's a need."

These ten spaces will remove a third of the parking in this neighborhood, but cyclists say it's necessary continue they path they've already created. Jeff Yockey is the president of Champaign County Bikes. He says about 27-miles of paths and lanes sprawl through the county. It's a mission he and other cyclists want to see finished.

"Changing this small section makes it friendly for all the different users of the street."

More lanes mean more cyclists.

"These bike lanes are a huge factor in more people adopting bicycles as a means of transportation. It's helping everyone on the road be more comfortable with each other."

But, Al Rehberg says his concern isn't comfort, but safety.

"We'll now be competing for parking on that side of the street with the high-speed traffic."

Champaign County Bikes says there will be classes for cyclists and driers to provide tips and information about sharing the road. Classes will be held in September and October.

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