View Full Version : Sharrows Good, Bad, Ugly?

03-03-2007, 07:00 PM
Hey folks;
Here's an interesting article on sharrows.
The author concludes that,
"for the time being the symbols can charitably be described as possibly better than nothing provided that "nothing" is indeed the only other alternative."

I have been happy with these markings. But then I don't normally travel on roads which incorporate sharrows. It's interesting that the city which "stands as a national leader in innovative transportation solutions. (http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/)" Is still struggling to find a means by which we citizens can feel safe from traffic. While I praise sharrows for the innovation which they display, I can't help but think how easy it should be for us (us including the bike community, PDOT, BTA) to develop an inexpensive means of providing a safe transportation corridor for bicycles and pedestrians. The difficulty is to develop a solution which can be built using only 1.5% of PDOT's budget (http://www.commissionersam.com/node/1174). I've often brought up the idea of some type of physical seperator to distinguish the bike lane from the travel lane (so drivers who drift too far are alerted. Every cyclist to whom I mention this, claims that bumps or curbs would be more dangerous for cyclists. Another option which was brought up by the folks at Streets Renaisance (http://www.nycsr.org/) was for switching the bike lane and the car lane (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONS2ptAR4mo). This would put the parked cars between the bicycle traffic and the car traffic. This to me is the most effective option. However I'm open, and I would like to hear your opinions and options.
So what do you folks think?

03-07-2007, 04:36 PM
I don't think there is a solution. The present road system was designed for cars and we're simply not going to fit into it.

The biggest problem is the people on the bikes. We've all seen (and I'm sure there are a few on here) those jerks with the "bicycles allowed full use of lane" patches who don't think or don't care that traffic laws apply equally to bikes as they do cars.

Switching the parking and cycling lanes isn't a viable option. We'll still be vulnerable to doors, actually more vulnerable since there won't be anywhere to swerve to if we're stuck between the cars and the sidewalk.

Where the heck would separate bike roads even go? Is there any political support for carving lanes out of major surface streets for us? To eminent domain houses and business for bike roads? Building bike bridges?

03-07-2007, 07:51 PM
I'd like to think that we can build a better network of grade-separated bike facilities, but I think that in the short term, we're kind of stuck in the situation jwdoom described.

It will take a monumental effort to retrofit existing streets, which isn't to say it can't be done. But until the car has a much lower place in the pecking order, there doesn't seem to be the will to change. We already have a good start on bike-specific infrastructure and trails. Painted bike lanes and sharrows are better than nothing at this point.