* More images from MyWHaT’s tour of Montreal’s bicycle network at our Flickr page *
Love for the sharrow
At the beginning of July I explored the use of the sharrow. Since then, I have experienced the wide use of them in Montreal and New York. Love may be too strong, but there is certainly a new found fondness and understanding of how they could be used in Traverse City.
Montreal is using them liberally as a design solution to difficult situations, like connecting two disconnected bike paths or shifting traffic coming out of a bike lane. This pavement marking’s use is growing in north America’s most bicycle friendly cities. It’s technically called a “shared lane marking” or is otherwise broken down as “share+arrow=sharrow”.
The appreciation for the sharrow inspired a map of Suggested Sharrow use for Traverse City (below). It’s robust and will stretch the minds of certain city staff (not to mention public), yet the suggested placements are all achievable and would go a long way in communicating that Traverse City is serious about improving it’s image as a bicycle friendly place. My goal is to encourage more trips by bicycle and design solutions like sharrows will help.
In the previous post, I went through the uses of the sharrow. Mainly, they are used to position bikes away from opening car-doors, however, the basic advantage I see is that they communicate that bicycles and cars have an equal right to the lane; that bikes belong. They aren’t meant to replace bike lanes or the need for separate bike paths. They are one tool in the tool-box for encouraging bicycling by delineating bike routes, communicating that bikes belong and guiding the direction and positioning of traffic. As I saw in Montreal, they are also a great design asset effective at connecting a bike network that is truncated or broken by a narrow street, intersection or broken street, like one-way streets.
The Sharrow Map
Each sharrow has an explanation to its placement. Icons: Red boarder = could be implemented ASAP; Black boarder = possible future location; Yellow boarder = pushing the limits of what’s possible, but not unreasonable.
What do you think? Have you ridden in a city that used sharrows?
EXTRA: The southeast Michigan bicycle BLOG M-Bike posted a piece yesterday asking, “Would Sharrows work in Detroit?” What’s interesting in Detroit is that they have streets overbuilt for current use. The result is plenty of public right of way for bike lanes and segregated bike paths, which are preferred over sharrow use. Traverse City has a limited street network and our main areas where safety is the issue arguably have little room for bike lanes. MyWHaT ran a post about biking in Detroit earlier this year.
We were watching some short films on the National Film Board of Canada’s website this weekend and came across this 1966 documentary that proves that there is life on earth!
Watch “What on Earth!” at the NFB site (embed not available).
However, here is a quick teaser of the earthling discovered.
Watch for the parasites!