KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Advocates for a Kalamazoo nature preserve are calling on the city to allow vehicle parking near one of its entrances. A neighborhood association is defending the current layout, which instead prioritizes bike lanes.

With bike lanes in each direction, a section of Winchell Avenue is considered friendly for vehicles with two or four wheels. Since last fall, parking has not been allowed for cars near the entrance to the Asylum Lake Preserve.

Asylum Lake Preservation Association Co-Chair Laurie Holmes said the inconvenience burdens visitors who are not as able-bodied who want to see the spillway and northeast section of the preserve.

“These people are being penalized either by a $20 parking ticket — if they haven’t noticed this sign — or by having to go all the way around to Parkview or to Drake, which are at the edge of the city, and then walk down,” Holmes said.

She said the no-parking status at Winchell has good intentions but poor execution.

“It was a great idea. But what we’re saying is, you can have a beautiful plan and find that .002% of it is causing problems,” Holmes said.

Holmes said the city engineer, preservation association and nearby condo associations also negotiated a proposal to have westbound Winchell continue to be bike-only, while the eastbound side would have 12 limited parking spaces and encourage bike traffic. But it hasn’t been agreed upon.

A photo of a proposed parking map for Winchell Avenue in Kalamazoo provided to News 8 by the Asylum Lake Preservation Association.

“Dawn to dusk, two hours, not thousands of places is not going to spoil the bicycle accessibility,” Holmes said.

The city of Kalamazoo declined a request for interview, but a spokesperson provided News 8 with a copy of their letter to the preservation association.

Part of it says the Winchell Avenue entrance “is deep in a neighborhood on a neighborhood street; its improvements reflect it as a minor entrance geared toward those living in close proximity, walking, or riding to the preserve. Limiting parking on Winchell Avenue does not prevent access to the preserve by the community who can continue to access it by vehicle from Drake or Parkview.”

One group supporting the current layout is the Oakland Drive/Winchell Neighborhood Association.

In their letter to the city, they say, among other reasons, adding parking would “disrupt the flow of the bike lane” and “not benefit those needing ADA access as that entrance is not ADA accessible.”

“With parked cars there, now all of a sudden you’re going to have people walking in and out of between parked cars. It just strictly becomes a safety issue,” said ODWNA President Peter Kushner. “Bike lanes are not built to take bikes from any and all directions.”

Kushner argues safety outweighs convenience in this case.

“Our neighborhood has spoken for over two years of study and they’re asking for more non-motorized transportation networks, which are also proven, as a bonus, to slow down traffic,” Kushner said.

Both Holmes and Kushner are planning to address Kalamazoo city commissioners at their meeting Tuesday night.