Drivers in Sonoma want their parking spaces, they want them now, and they don't care if that puts bicyclists at risk.
A proposed bike lane on West Main Street would connect neighborhoods, allowing cyclists to safely ride across town. But it would eliminate 91 parking spaces, and drivers are afraid that they'll have to work a little bit harder to find parking and walk a little bit farther to their destination.
The city's new lanes will cost nearly $200,000. An environmental study determined that even at peak hours, there will still be more than enough parking after the extra spaces are removed.
But one neighbor worried that drivers would circle blocks and park in strangers' driveways, according to the Press Democrat. Others feared that with reduced parking, they might be forced to cross the road, a prospect they apparently find unacceptable.
The bike lanes are necessary to ensure cyclists' safety, say other residents. Driving in mixed traffic is so dangerous that many visitors and residents avoid bikes altogether. Installing the bike lane would give people an alternative to cars, potentially taking vehicles off the road.
In addition, the parking spaces are particularly risky for cyclists. Motorists moving into and out of parking spaces significantly increase the risk of collisions with bikes.
For now, many politicians are staying out of the battle, waiting to hear more public comment. And there's sure to be plenty.