Vehicle parking spots removed after new bus ordinance

Council ruled in favor of banning cars and motorcycle parking in illegal lanes

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Photo by Sadie Sedlmayr

Buses can do their jobs and not worry about safety now that it’s been ruled in their favor to ban cars and motorcycle parking in the designated bus area.

Many of the on-street parking spots in Eau Claire neighborhoods will be gone after the City Council approved an ordinance to remove any parking spots from around designated bus stops, according to a Leader-Telegram article.

The ordinance prohibits parking within 50 feet of city bus stops, and places restrictions in driving and park lanes. Motorists have been allowed to park along 525 bus stops, according to the article.

However, Councilman Tim Tewalt said different streets warrant different parking conditions, according to the article. He proposed dropping the 50-foot restriction and studying the issue further, but that amendment failed by a 6-3 vote.

A subsequent motion to adopt the ordinance was approved 8-1, with Councilwoman Monica Lewis against it. However, several criticized the transit department for its failure to notify residents of the changes that will result in hundreds of lost parking spots.

Council members are divided with this new rule. Members who agree said it has to do with their safety concerns and forcing riders to climb over snow banks in winter and walk into streets to board buses. Other members, like Councilman Bob Von Haden, disapprove of this new law because some homeowners in these neighborhoods don’t have garages, leaving them to park on the streets.

“I don’t think we did our proper homework on this one,” Councilman Bob Von Haden said in the article.

In the grand scheme of things, is it that unrealistic for our council members to put their constituent’s safety first? I think not. At the end of the day that’s what they’re doing; looking out for our well beings. Therefore, it’s important bus stops and lanes are kept unoccupied for buses, because, at the end of the day, that is why it’s there to begin with.

Vehicles and motorcycles should not be able to bypass the guidelines of security and get in the way of buses doing their job, which is to safely transport passengers. I mean, it was a silly rule anyway to permit vehicles to park in bus lanes for so long and infringe on the buses right to do their jobs properly.

I understand the anger of the vehicles who have to move, and I imagine it would be annoying to not be able to park on my street corner because of bus restrictions, but isn’t it illegal to park in the bus lanes to begin with?

Overall, the council did all they could do with this ordinance, given the situation. Councilman Eric Larsen said it best when he said having cars parked where buses should be is a safe way to operate until a fellow council member or the general public can think of a better solution. The one set in place for the welfare of all parties involved should suffice.