Newark Mayor Ras Baraka to Rip Out City’s First Protected Bike Lane

Mt. Prospect Avenue in Newark has New Jersey’s first protected bike lane, as far as we know. But unfortunately it looks like the Garden State will soon be back to zero.

Merchants around the Prospect Avenue protected bike lane in Newark complained about losing parking, and the Mayor caved. Photo: WalkBikeJersey
After business owners near the Mt. Prospect Avenue bike lane in Newark complained about losing parking, Mayor Ras Baraka ordered its removal. Baraka is allowing drivers to block it in the meantime. Photo: WalkBikeJersey

Andrew Besold at WalkBikeJersey is reporting Mayor Ras Baraka has ordered the removal of the bike lane, and in the meantime is allowing people to park in it. The executive order follows some unfriendly news coverage, Besold says:

Well, it might have been too good while it lasted. If you read The Star-Ledger or have been following our Facebook page you are likely aware of the parking protected bike lanes on Mt. Prospect Ave in Newark’s North Ward, the first that we are aware of in New Jersey. Columnist Barry Carter has been writing a series (123) about the claimed hardships the streetscape redesign, particularly the parking protected bike lanes have caused the local residents and merchants. This Tuesday he claimed victory over the bike lanes after Mayor Baraka issued an executive order [allowing] drivers to park at the curb until the roadway could be entirely redesigned without the bike lanes as they are now.

The crux of the argument to remove the bike lanes was that they had eliminated valuable parking that was preventing customers from visiting the stores on the avenue. Also, since the addition of parking protected bike lanes had narrowed the width of the the avenue, customers now would no longer be able to double park to quickly visit a store. However in the hour I was there on Tuesday, December 16th, between 2pm and 3pm, parking was not at all a problem. Again, I arrived by car and was able to find a parking space on just about every block, if not on Mt. Prospect Ave itself, on the immediately adjacent side streets.

Now I will confess that I was only here for one hour on a Tuesday afternoon. I do not live or work there.  Things could be vastly different after 5pm and/or on weekends. Still parking was plentiful on Mt. Prospect when I was there and on the immediately adjacent side streets. To the west a block away most of the curb space was free for car parking. I would be hard pressed to believe that one couldn’t find a parking space within any one block on this portion of Mt. Prospect at any time or day. The only real bone of contention here seems to be people’s ability to double-park directly in front of the establishment of their choosing which has always been illegal.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Dallas Morning News Transportation Blog reports that one of the city’s most prominent architects has joined the chorus of people demanding the city cancel the poorly conceived Trinity Toll Road. And Wash Cycle explains how DC Mayor Vincent Gray is helping to advance cycling improvements.

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