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New Curbside Bike Lanes Baffle Drivers Trying to Park in Downtown San Jose

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- The city of San Jose is overhauling downtown streets to create protected bicycle lanes but locals say it's the new parking spaces -- offset from the curb -- which have many drivers scratching their heads and, in some cases, shaking their fists.

The new bike lanes are next to the curb and parking spots are placed between the bikeways and vehicle traffic, creating backups downtown as cars try to park in traffic.

That's if drivers can even figure out where to park. It's not always obvious.

"It was confusing," said Jane McCannell. "I thought it was the bicycle lane but then I saw cars parked in it so I wasn't quite sure whether I could park there or not."

At Third and Santa Clara streets, the bike lane next to the curb is painted green but a few steps away there are one-hour parking signs and meters, fooling some drivers into thinking they can park in the bike lane instead of the painted spaces next to the vehicle traffic lanes.

Roseanna Lavia lives downtown and says drivers are getting frustrated and even blocked in.

"There are people late at night honking their horns and not knowing how to get out of their parking spots ... it's a great idea to protect the bikes but ... they haven't educated the public," Lavia said.

A city parking enforcement employee told KPIX that they're not ticketing anyone parked in the bike lanes until the city completes the Better Bikeway San Jose project, adding that parking meters do need to be moved next to the offset parking lanes to help clear up the confusion.

For now, it's all a bit confusing as the city switches gears and it will no doubt take more time before everyone's up to speed.

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