Jul 12, 2007

Temporary No Parking on 19th: Sharrows!

(Apologies for long silence: July 4th, daughter leaving home, dead laptop)

In answer to J's CHS post about the strange street-graffiti on 19th, here's a note I got (editorial comments at end):

Attached is a letter describing work the Seattle Department of Transportation will be doing within the next two to four weeks to add new bicycle facilities on 19th Ave E between Madison and Galer. To do this work, we will need to temporarily restrict parking along this stretch of road. Please help us spread the word in the area and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


Kent Grasso
Seattle Department of Transportation


Dear Mr. Taylor,

This spring, Mayor Greg Nickels announced the release of Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan, which will significantly expand Seattle’s network of bike facilities. These facilities will make it easier and safer to ride throughout the city, while reducing greenhouse gases. The plan aims to make Seattle the best and the safest city in the nation for bicycling. Over the next two years, the city will add approximately 136 miles of bike lanes and signed bike routes. Overall, the plan calls for developing 452 miles of marked or separated bicycle routes over the next 10 years.

As part of this plan, SDOT will be installing bicycle facilities on 19th Avenue East from East Madison Street to East Galer Street within the next two to four weeks. Residents will notice new features in Seattle’s growing bicycle network such as shared lane pavement markings or “sharrows”. Sharrows, as indicated in the enclosed image, are bicycle symbols that are placed in the roadway lane indicating that motorists should expect to see and share the lane with bicycles.

Both motorists and bicyclists should continue to follow the rules of the road when sharrows are on the roadway. Motorists should continue to give bicyclists three feet of space when passing, while bicyclists should use the sharrow to guide where they ride within the lane and remember not to ride too close to parked cars.

While there will be no permanent changes to parking on this street, SDOT will need to temporarily restrict parking to implement these improvements. No Parking signs will be posted at least 72 hours prior to the start of work. Vehicles that remain parked during the restricted times will be towed.

SDOT will also provide notification to residences and businesses along 19th Avenue East informing them about the upcoming installation, but we would appreciate your assistance in spreading the word in your community. For the safety of our crews who must work in traffic, and to reduce the impact on mobility in the area, this work may take place in the early morning hours or on weekends.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in helping us provide a safe, connected, and attractive bicycle network in your neighborhood and throughout the city. Together we will make Seattle an even better place to ride.

Shared Lane Pavement Markings (Sharrows)

If you would like additional information, please call (206) 684-ROAD, email WalkandBike@Seattle.gov or refer to the SDOT Bicycle Program webpage at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikeprogram.htm.


Wayne M. Wentz
Director of Traffic Management

Editorial comments (from Andrew)

  1. Here (via CHS) is a link to some pictures of Sharrows (Shared Lane Markings).
  2. In Brief: City puts them in when they want a bike lane but don't have room for one. (As I understand it) they alert motorists to the possible presence of cyclists, suggest where to ride, but don't prohibit drivers from using the lane.
  3. They seem a lousy idea to me:
    • 19th is VERY quiet: I ride it every day without any issues: "it ain't broke, don't fix it".
    • (assuming the above SDOT picture is to scale) Sharrows will squeeze bikes very close to parked cars and all the attendent door-opening issues.
    • Others agree with me.
  4. Don't forget that you have the right to take up a whole traffic lane if you deem it necessary for your safety.
  5. I've ridden almost daily in Seattle for 24 years : one door-hit and a few near misses. In most places there are ample back-streets or minor arterials (like 19th).
  6. In some places there are real safety issues and even a full-blown painted bike-lane may be unsafe: a good solution might be the European style stepped bike-lanes, as seen in this picture, from a series including pictures by our very own Jim Mueller. This is my absolute favorite picture (but note the total lack of bike helmets!).

No comments: