On Saturday night, the Oregon Department of Transportation installed sharrows and new signs on the St. Johns Bridge. Their “St. Johns Bridge Safety Awareness Project” was done in order to, “encourage motorists to be aware that the bridge and roadway is a shared facility and that bicyclists may opt to travel on the roadway.”
They have placed eight sharrows in each direction, as well as adding two new “Bicycles on Roadway” signs mid-span. They also moved an existing sign at the westbound entry to a more visible location because it was partially blocked by a speed sign.
I rolled out to see everything myself this morning. My impression is that, while it’s nice to see ODOT acknowledge the bike access problems on this bridge, these sharrows and signs do not make this a more pleasant place to ride. Then again, that was not ODOT’s mission. As the name of the project implies, the new markings and signs will only increase awareness that people have the legal right to ride bicycles on the bridge. That’s helpful, but it’s a far cry from what should be the ultimate goal — to make the bridge a more viable (and less stressful) option for people on bicycles. [Read more…]