Something has to be done about shoppers parking at bus stops on Devon Avenue. The situation is getting worse, and it’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed because shoppers insist on parking in bus lanes, ignoring the danger to passengers already on the bus as well as those waiting to board.
I had to get off the bus in the middle of the street on Christmas afternoon because there was a line of cars parked outside Patel Brothers Grocery on Devon, just west of Rockwell. No fewer than three cars lined the street from Rockwell to the grocery’s front door; a fourth that was pulling up drove away when I turned my camera in his direction. Traffic was heavy and moving slowly in both directions.
People using canes and walkers, women with strollers, children and other passengers are forced to step out of buses in the middle of the street. Passengers waiting to board must step between cars to do so. Sometimes there isn’t enough room to get the stroller or walker between the bus and the car or van illegally sitting at the bus stop. And the drivers of those vehicles, many of whom are busy texting or talking on their phones, absolutely refuse to move.
The next two stops for the westbound #155 bus are just as bad. At Washtenaw, drivers who could move their vehicles into the free Republic Bank parking lot just across the intersection prefer instead to appropriate the bus lane. And California is plagued by drivers parking at the bus stop and then going across the street to Citibank or into one of the local groceries.
Parking in bus stops, by the way, is free parking. Since bus lanes aren’t supposed to be used in this way, there are no meters.
Drivers have other options. They can use the parking garage at Rockwell or the free lot at Republic Bank. This lot has been free most of the time it’s been open. At least one gate is usually inoperable; since Thanksgiving both gates have been up, allowing vehicles to enter and leave without any charges being incurred.
Drivers should not be permitted to endanger passengers on public transit by blocking bus lanes. Must we wait for an entirely avoidable tragedy before anything is done?