A city plan to widen the bike path on Seashore Drive will also eliminate dozens of much-needed parking spaces in the West Newport Beach area.
In a controversial move, the City Council last week voted for safety rather than parking, saying it has become too difficult for residents to safely maneuver cars out of their garages with the increasing number of bicyclists and skaters on the narrow pathway.
The decision to widen the bike path by about two feet on each side comes after the council had debated widening the bike lane or simply eliminating parking altogether along Seashore Drive, roughly between Orange Avenue and 32nd Street. An estimated three dozen public parking spaces along the drive will be eliminated to make room for the expanded bike path.
Because the oceanfront street is often congested with bicyclists, skaters and pedestrian beach-goers, residents in the area have a tough time maneuvering out of driveways and onto the road. That is a particular problem for residents who back out of garages and who are often unable to clearly see traffic on the bike path.
"The wider path will better accommodate the substantial number of bicyclists, skaters and pedestrians using this portion of Seashore Drive," stated a staff report to the City Council.
The new path will be a 12-foot-wide trail instead of the current eight-foot width.
The wider path will also narrow the auto lane but that lane will still be able to accommodate the one-way traffic on the street, according to a staff report.