SLO Council votes to remove some parking for bike trails on two streets

Correction: SLO City Council voted to take away one side of Broad Street on Tuesday, not both sides of the street. In the staff report, the city stated option C, which the city council voted for, included both sides of the street. However, Councilman Dan Rivorie noted the vote did not include 33 parking spaces.

To the dismay of some local residents, the San Luis Obispo City Council endorsed a plan Tuesday night to replace dozens of on-street parking spaces with bike lanes reducing parking for area residents.

In 1983, mayoral candidate Keith Gurnee built a home on a small lot on Broad Street with a creek running through the center of the property. At that time, the city provided Gurnee a variance allowing him not to have a garage or a driveway based on the availability of on-street parking.

Because of the council’s decision to remove all on-street parking from three block on Broad Street, Gurnee is left with reduced parking on his block.

“It is an action to deliberately devalue a neighborhood,” Gurnee said. “Plus my wife is disabled. She has a handicap plaquer, she is not going to be able to hike in from two blocks away with the groceries.

“Because of the impacts on my children visiting, my disabled wife, and the valuation of my property, I may have no choice but to consider litigation.”

In April, the San Luis Obispo council adopted the Anholm Bikeway Plan for the Anholm neighborhood located between Highway 101 and Foothill Boulevard. At the time, because of vocal opposition to the proposed bicycle boulevards, the council approved a plan that consisted of traffic calming and diversion measures, rather than the removal of parking spaces to create bike lanes.

However, bicycle advocates argued the initial plan did not sufficiently address bicycle safety issues in the neighborhood, and the council agreed to reconsider the matter.

On Tuesday, the council was presented with options including traffic diversion, traffic calming and the removal of parking spaces to create Class IV bike lanes. The council voted 3-2 in favor of the removal of on-street parking on one side of Chorro Street from Lincoln to Mission streets, as well as the removal of parking on one sides of Broad Street from Mission Street to Ramona Drive.

Mayor Heidi Harmon and council members Dan Rivorie and Aaron Gomez voted in favor of the bikeway plan. Council members Andy Pease and Carlyn Christianson dissented.

The removal of parking spaces will make room for two-way bike lanes.

Critics say the plan will reduce property values and force some residents who do not have driveways to park on streets other than the ones on which they live.

SLO’s efforts to significantly boost the amount of bicycle traffic in the city have become a contentious campaign issue, with Mayor Heidi Harmon supporting the bike lane plans and Gurnee opposing them.