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Sharrows, sharrows everywhere! (And many more to come)

Posted by on June 9th, 2010 at 3:17 pm

A family rides by new sharrow markings recently installed in N. Concord Avenue.
(Photos © J Maus)

I’ve been hearing from a lot of you about sharrows popping up on streets throughout the city of late. Up on the Alameda, all over North Portland, down on SE Clay Street — it seems like PBOT is putting them in all over the place. And the truth is, they are!

The new markings are much larger
than the old bike boulevard “dots”.

As I reported back in April, PBOT got a federal stimulus grant to pay for the markings along bicycle boulevard routes. I followed up yesterday with PBOT project manager Kyle Chisek for an update on the installations.

Chisek says that by next week, PBOT will have 656 sharrows on the ground and they’ve got 1,500 more to go. In total they’ll lay down 2,100 sharrows. Chisek says rain has hampered installation a bit, but as dryer weather comes, crews will make up for all the rainy days.

Streets they’ve completed installation on include:

  • SE Spokane, Umatilla, and 19th in Sellwood;
  • N Central, Wabash, Bryant, Concord, and Williams (north end) in North Portland;
  • and NE Holman and Klickitat in Northeast Portland.

Sharrows on Concord as
far as they eyes can see.

Still to come and in progress are:

  • NE Klickitat (remaining), Alameda, Going, and Tillamook/Hancock in Northeast;
  • SE Ankeny, Salmon/Taylor, Lincoln/Harrison, Clinton, Ladd, Center/Gladstone, and Mill in Southeast;
  • NW 24th, Raleigh, Overton, Johnson and Flanders in Northwest.
  • SW Westwood, Cheltenham in Southwest. (*These streets added after post was originally published)

“Summer should be pretty busy,” says Chisek.

Have you come across some of these new sharrows? What do you think about them? I think they’re great. They send a clear signal to other road users that they should expect bikes and they help reinforce the idea that bikes belong and have a legal right to take the lane.

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OnTheRoad
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OnTheRoad

Several motorists I’ve talked to don’t know what sharrows mean to drivers. There was confusion that maybe they had driven onto some kind of bike-only street.

jeghan
Guest
jeghan

I think they’re great. As a driver, I always find it helpful when there are cues as to what to look out for. Just helps make the street scanning more productive!

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Looks like my old SAAB 99 to the right.

Maybe someone fixed the pinhole leak in the cylinder head.

thefuture
Guest
thefuture

I rode over one thinking they’d give me a power boost like in RC Pro Am, but it didn’t work. Maybe they’re not hooked up yet?

Nick
Guest
Nick

I saw what seemed to be new ones on N Fenwick. Then again, I don’t ride on it much so maybe they’ve been there.

Anne Hawley
Guest

The sharrows on Klickitat are right in the middle of the street, and seem to be directional, suggesting a) one-way bike traffic and b) bike-traffic only.

I love the idea, but I agree that the implementation is confusing to drivers, and possibly to bike-riders.

Bill
Guest
Bill

100% Sharrows Free in Southwest! Thanks Portland!

Jacob
Guest
Jacob

LoL@ theFuture (and I actually did laugh out loud) 🙂

trail user
Guest
trail user

Finally we catch up to Seattle!

Cemetery Rider
Guest
Cemetery Rider

The ones in Sellwood are great. As a driver it’s a very good reminder that you’re on a route that may be frequented by cyclists.

Marcus Griffith
Guest
Marcus Griffith

When fully operaation sharrrows will become Mario-Kart style speed boosters. I can’t wait until funding for the power up boxes is secured. Lauhg, but you know you want an invincibility star or even a few red shells to lob at Bowser controlled SUVs..

Smash
Guest

I love the new sharrows! They’re so good looking and bicycle encouraging!

pixiestyx
Guest
pixiestyx

Hmm…no “sharrows” in SW. Where we really need ’em. Figures.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Can the City cut a deal with Multnomah County to put them on the bridge deck of the Sellwood? I’m tired of having drivers honk (and worse) when I take the lane on the bridge.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I’m still holding out for the ones with the arrows above the car symbol. You know, sending a clear signal to other road users that they should expect cars and they help reinforce the idea that cars belong and (still)have a legal right to take the lane.

Maybe not tomorrow or next year, but in my lifetime.

are
Guest

re comment 6. it is certainly true that the sharrows on klickitat are placed in the center of the road, and westbound actually to the left of center in some cases. and actually, i have a bit of a quarrel with using these on bike boulevards _at all_.

according to kyle chesik, these are being used as wayfinders under an ODOT grant of $1 million in stimulus funds, for which PBoT’s prospectus specified ASHTO compliant signage:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/32095568/16449-Prospectus-Final

as i have often said on these boards and elsewhere, i would rather see sharrows just about everywhere we now have striped bike lanes. but actually i do not want to see sharrows on low traffic, low speed, “calmed” bike boulevards.

the function of a sharrow, as stated in section 9C.07 of the current MUTCD manual (which treats these as permitted, optional treatments), is primarily to encourage cyclists to ride to the left of the door zone and secondarily to alert motorists that cyclists are likely to be out in the lane.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/32802487/9c-07

the MUTCD does state that these “should not” be used on roads where the speed limit is above 35 mph, but i think the inference is reasonably clear that they are not intended to be used in environments where there are practically no cars moving at any appreciable speed at all. certainly they are not intended to be used as wayfinders.

similarly, though the MUTCD says these should be placed “at least 11 feet” from the curb where there is onstreet parking, i cannot imagine that they meant on or even beyond the center line.

my concern is that if these are strewn about in environments where they are not necessary, and if they are placed inappropriately, their usefulness for the intended purposes of lane positioning and alerting motorists to share the travel lane will be diluted.

are
Guest

i guess what i mean to say is, why blow your sharrows money on bike boulevards when you could put them on 28th, 21st, 12th, couch, hawthorne, division, etc.

John Lascurettes
Guest

The ones on NE Klickitat/Siskiyou were so compelling, I rode down that street instead of Knott on my way to work yesterday and the day before.

I switched back to NE Knott today. For me it’s faster with only one stop sign and only one signal in that length. The Kickitat route between 7th and 21st is so fraught with stop signs I wouldn’t know I would ever want to ride it unless they I was completely fearful of vehicular traffic (I’m not) and were I was no hurry to get anywhere (I’m no scofflaw – well, sometimes if there isn’t anyone there to see).

Still, I really appreciate that they’re there. Much better than the old dots.

driving that train
Guest
driving that train

Why are they in the middle of the street? (same concern as Anne #6). The goal of a sharrow is to indicate where bikes should be traveling. Yes, out of the door zone, but not in the center of the street. And are they all pointing the same direction? That is confusing.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Are, your comment came in while I was writing. Spot on you are I think.

driving that train
Guest
driving that train

Thanks, are #16. That clears up the placement issue. Why is it that our traffic engineers don’t understand these basic concepts? Does Mr. Chisek even ride a bike for transportation? And I also agree that we need sharrows on the busy streets, not the calm ones.

Vancouver Bob
Guest
Vancouver Bob

The center placement might make it easy for drivers to see (which is the point?)

Speed boost arrow would be great for hills.

are
Guest

re comment 18, they will be turning most of the stop signs soon, but knott will still be faster. depending on where i am going and how quickly i want to get there, i have been using klickitat since before kyle chesik ever heard of it, but if i am going downtown and i want to book it, knott is excellent (and i hope they don’t screw it up with bike lanes, ever).

re comment 19, no, there is one sharrow at the start of each block, pointing in. a couple hundred feet away, at the other end of the block, there is another one pointing back at you. it does look a little weird, but i would have to say that if we were talking only about wayfinding, and if the sharrow did not have another intended use with which this use conflicts, the visibility of the marking is quite impressive.

Lewis
Guest
Lewis

Respectfully, I strongly disagree with the comments that sharrows are inappropriate on designated neighborhood greenways (formerly known as bike boulevards) or on calmer streets more generally.

Now that the City has increased and improved the size of sharrows, they provide an unambiguous guide that bikes belong and that non-cyclists, particularly motorists, should anticipate the presence of bikes. Alerting motorists (in particular) to the potential presence of bicyclists is only a a good thing.

Extrapolating to the most bike-friendly country on Earth, the Netherlands, the Dutch have made a conscious decision to make virtually every inch of their vast bikeway network unambiguously clear for all ROW users with the universal adoption of maroon as “the bikeway color.”

The fundamental challenge in getting more people out of cars and on to bikes is the perception of safety. Anything that sends a message that bikes are present helps in this regard.

suburban
Guest

These are GREAT for teaching children or other new riders about expensive, bad ideas.

How easily this federal money was granted and wasted on street stickers.
Stickers. Embarrassing to see as a cyclist, and unworthy work for our city’s skilled crews.

.

Tonya
Guest
Tonya

Love them! So helpful both as wayfinding and reminding users to share. Thank you PBOT!!!

Mike
Guest

What’s the point really, doesn’t the presence of a real live cyclist prove enough to take caution. Seems like a waste of money. If it is a road, assume there will be cyclist present.

chad
Guest
chad

I like ’em.

I s’pose anyone could take issue with minor “imperfections”, but I think they’re simple, effective, educational, and inspiring to those who have yet to get on their bike and out of their car.

I like to think of it as an many, many, mile long sign that say’s “Go By Bike”.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I LOVE sharrows!

I’d love to see the sharrows on SW Alder heading downtown repainted. You can’t see them anymore. I was riding down that street today, and got buzzed by a BMW driver who clearly thought I shouldn’t have been on the road.

Sharrows would have helped a lot in this situation. Who to call to get them repainted?? Any suggestions? Thanks!

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Ok, listen up. Sharrows don’t mean shit. Really…. I mean, symbolically they give you some kind of BS warm fuzzy. But to drivers? Nada. It reads to most drivers as “you’re gonna see some bikes in the lane, like normal, so no biggy really, same as always.” Don’t place too much importance on them.

esther
Guest
esther

i love them. i think they shout out loud and clear “expect bikes. share the road”

when they first popped up in my neighborhood my husband and i could only think “how nice of the city to mark our route home from the new lucky lab.”

Perry
Guest
Perry

Adding lamentation to the repeated stiffing of SW Portland…anybody agree that these might help on SW Taylors Ferry between the 5 and Terwilliger?

C’mon, Sam! Are you not getting the envelopes of cash I’ve been handing off to Dan??

Red Five
Guest
Red Five

I saw a cyclist slip and crash on these markings while waving their tire pump at a passing car.

Mickey
Guest
Mickey

@30 Jeff, one of the biggest barriers keeping many of our car-only neighbors from riding a bike is the perception that riding in traffic isn’t safe. I think sharrows serve to encourage new riders to take to the roads. Wouldn’t you feel safer seeing one on your first bike ride in 20 years? And I don’t think that feeling safer on these roads is an illusion. The sharrows are very visible from my driver’s seat. I am placing a huge importance on sharrows: it’s a step closer to 25% ridership in Portland.

Michweek
Guest
Michweek

Oddly enough Two friends and I (all wearing our lights and all but one with helmet) were yelled at the other night on Mississippi heading north to the Interstate New Season’s by a “fellow biker” for taking up the road. She “didn’t want to hit us”. We were all so stunned! When I finally could wrap my tongue around it she had taken off. Apparently fellow bikers in cars don’t think we have a legal right to the rode… ? I also don’t see how anyone could hit three well lit riders, I mean flashing lights blind your eyes lit. I don’t mess around with safety.

Mike Myers
Guest
Mike Myers

Sharrows are some of my favorite things. Right behind double stuff oreos. I’m thrilled they’re getting them nice and centered in the lanes. Thanks to those who made this possible!

jim
Guest
jim

Federal money- thats just great, now my child and future grandchildren will have to pay for this. You do realize that this money is borrowed from China- right?
Who is going to pay to repaint these when they are worn off? There wont be more federal money to do that. The country is broke and they are spending money like mad with no acountabillity. Move over Greece- here we come.

gwadzilla
Guest
Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

these are way better than the old little circles you can barely see…

I use them as way-finders, and these ones will be much easier to spot as I pass a side road…

usually if I find myself on a greenway in a car I get off and onto another street if I’m going more than just a few blocks… as much as I like driving on a quiet street I’d rather let the bike riders have it…

and I do think the sharrows are incredibly helpful to the new riders… I’m sure that’s why they want to get them painted now before the awesome weather so that new riders can get an early start…

Schrauf
Guest
Schrauf

The sharrows are in the center on narrow roads where they are actually being used to designate both directions of travel. The road is too narrow (and it is a waste of time and material) to put sharrows side by side facing each direction.

I like them, but if they become too prevalent, I fret people who drive will become more annoyed and aggressive when they encounter bikes on routes WITHOUT sharrows. “There are no sharrows on this road – move the hell over!”

spencer
Guest
spencer

I agree with the Sellwood Bridge needing them. If we cant get the city to do it, maybe the guerrilla cross-walkers could.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

NE Knott Street is a good example of a regular street, popular with bicyclists, that should receive the Sharrow markings. NE 28th is another example of where these should be placed.
Bikeways, aka “bike boulevards” deserve a stronger statement that the route is PRIMARILY a bicycle facility on which motor vehicles are welcome IF they travel at bicycle speeds, yield to bicyclists, etc. A true “bike boulevard” would have few if any motor vehicles with diverters every 10 blocks or so to stop cut thru motor vehicle traffic. Portland has only a handful of such diverters.
All that said, the Sharrows are a step up from the timid little “bit dots” from a few years ago.

boriskat
Guest
boriskat

So I live in NoPo, and ride on this road where the pics were taken. HOWEVER, I also almost got t-boned at one of the intersections where there are zero stop signs. I think I would have preferred to get some of those put up rather than sharrows painted, if I were given the choice. It’s great to have sharrows (and speed bumps) where I’m currently traveling, but if there is no traffic control on the side streets, then what’s to prevent me from getting hit?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

…then what’s to prevent me from getting hit?

your eyes, your brain, your fingers clutching your brakes, etc…

PBOT cannot make our streets perfectly safe. a bit of individual responsibility will always be necessary.

Ely
Guest
Ely

Love the new sharrows in NoPo. They are so big, even my husband notices them! 😀 I do think people are driving more calmly and giving me more space on Central than they have previously.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I don’t really get these at all in Irvington. All streets in that area are created equal. Sure these streets on a map/in a report a bike streets, but they all act the same. I wind my way down any old street and I get there. They are low traffic.

How about sharrows on Knott? Prescott?

I’m for stimulus money being used in wise ways, but 5 years down the road these will be faded reminders of a waste of $$.

mac
Guest
mac

If given the choice between filling the longitudinal cracks, potholes, and divots in the road in my neighborhood or having sharrows I would have gone with crack filling.

Thankfully PBOT chose to paint sharrows on the road rather than waste precious funds on repairs of the roads themselves (or god forbid, signage at uncontrolled intersections).

I enjoy the comfort of knowing, as I ride my daily obstacle course, that the PBOT is taking the necessary steps to ensure I maintain long term mental acuity playing by dodge ’em with terrain features and racing autos.

jim
Guest
jim

Speed bumps on Concord was a waste of money. It is a little traveled road by cars, cars move onto wider streets asap. It is so narrow that nobody speeds on it like they do on the arterials.
Stupid decision by portland.
Boriscat #43 had a better idea, If Concord is to become a through arterial it should have traffic controls on those intersections with no stopsigns. The intersection at Alberta and Concord should become a 4 way stop. That is where the accidents are going to happen.

Monica
Guest
Monica

It’s a nice idea, but the new sharrows on N. Bryant (between Greeley and Willamette) are right in the middle of the road–which is the only place one can safely ride because of the huge potholes on the sides. I learned from a recent Oregonian article that, since this section of Bryant does not have sidewalks or other “improvements”, the City is not responsible for maintaining it. However, this creates a dicey situation when I bike my daughter to her elementary school–sharrows or no.

trail user
Guest
trail user

corporal bicycle