Seth Voorhees

Bike Lane Debate Heats Up in Denton

The city of Denton's mobility committee is considering several options  regarding a controversial plan to extend a bike lane along West Hickory Street, near a popular spot for restaurants, bars and other businesses.

A proposal which could replace two dozen parking spots near Fry Street has business owners and cycling enthusiasts split.

"If you create an infrastructure for cycling, people will do it," said Kevin Marshall, owner of Bullseye Bike Shop. Marshall said bike lanes are needed to keep cyclists safe.

"I would never tell someone they're safe riding down Hickory on their bicycle," Marshall said. "You need to be really intentional about the cars and the traffic."

Parts of West Hickory Street in Denton already have a bike lane. The street is about to be re-paved. A two-block section of the street does not include safety lanes. Instead, there are parking spots on both sides of the street. Bicyclists said it creates an unsafe environment.

A proposal to extend bike lanes, and possibly remove parking spots, is being opposed by many merchants.

"It's a third of the business parking down here," said Kim McKibbon, owner of Aura Coffee.

McKibbon said the area near Fry and Hickory streets has a lot of businesses, but not many street parking spots. Losing parking, she said, would be bad for business.

"I'm fearful that I would lose more customers and potential customers," she said. "Because I simply can't say, 'Well, come down here.'"

The city of Denton's mobility committee met Tuesday. It is considering several options – including bike lanes on the north or south sides of the street, which would eliminate street parking. Another option, favored by McKibbon, would keep parking on the two-block stretch by using traffic calming and speed enforcement.

"If we work together, everybody will get part of what they want," she said.

Marshall said as a business owner, he understands the need for parking.

"It's a space issue, is what we're dealing with," he said.

As a cyclist whose business is bikes, he's also looking out for his customers.

"I think the main goal is we create a safe means of traffic."

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