Five years ago, I was excited when the Tyler Street renovations were completed with new bike lanes. I thought it was a great improvement, especially where students could feel safe commuting by bike to Grey Middle School. Little did I know installation of these bike lanes would not come with law enforcement.
The City of Tacoma prohibits parking in bike lanes and has a hotline to report violators. However, the majority of the bike lane parking violators are parents at Grey Middle School from 2:30 to 3 p.m. During this time, cyclists have to pull into traffic or avoid opening car doors.
Some parents are so agitated that cyclists are using the road they throw sodas, chips or even lit cigarettes at cyclists.
One would believe it would be an easy fix: Have school patrol monitor pick-ups for half an hour. However, my reports have gone unanswered, and the school district has had "a committee working on the issue" for months.
This doesn't even begin to speak of the debris littering the bike lanes and no enforcement of speed limits. The city applied chip seal last year and the debris is still in the bike lane. It took three phone calls before a pile of manure in front of the golf course was cleaned up.
Tacoma wants to be a thriving city that promotes alternatives to commuting by car. But how can that happen when the city doesn't even maintain the bike lanes now?