Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No wheels on most downtown sidewalks under proposed ban

There is an ordinance in the City of Lancaster which states that no bicycling or skateboarding on sidewalks is permitted within one square block of Penn Square.

Tuesday night at city council was the first reading of a revision, which would expand that prohibited area to include all of the Downtown Improvement District, which is bordered by Lemon St. to the north, Farnum St. to the south, Lime St. to the east., and Water St. to the west.

The Mayor's Chief of Staff, Pat Brogan, said that the measure comes in response to complaints the administration has received from aggrieved pedestrians.

The current ordinance would merely expand the geographical area of the prohibition. Penalties can include a $100 fine or the impounding of a bike or skateboard, but usually police merely issue warnings, according to City Director of Public Works, Charlotte Katzenmoyer.

But not everyone is onboard with the idea.

One frequent attendee of city meetings pointed out that the ordinance includes an exception for the red-shirted James Street Improvement District Security force, but that they sometimes endanger pedestrians themselves with their behavior. He feels they should set the example.

City Councilman Jose Urdaneta said Tuesday night that he favors an exclusion for children under a certain age, like ten.

He said he feels like it would be imposing a burden on parents who sometimes need to let children expend some energy outside of the house, or if they're teaching a child how to ride.

Gray disagreed, saying kids on bicycles and skateboards may even be more of a nuisance than those who are older. The two agreed to discuss it more in private.

City Council is expected to vote on the measure at their next meeting, which is scheduled for November 25.