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Posts from the "Sharrows" Category

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East San Jose Bikeway Plan Scrutinized, Park Avenue Parking Debate Begins

Bicyclists in the East Side San Jose Ride navigate a variety of hazards to access Sunset Avenue’s existing ped bridge over Highway 280, including bollards and vertical curbs. Photo: Justin Triano

About two dozen residents attended a San Jose Department of Transportation (SJDOT) community meeting last Wednesday, where staff gathered public input on four upcoming bike lane and sharrow projects planned for east San Jose streets. Five other projects, which will add bike lanes and sharrows to streets west of downtown — and, to the chagrin of some, replace some parking along Park and Lincoln avenues with continuous bike lanes — will be presented at a community meeting this Wednesday at Gardner Community Center, 520 West Virginia Street, at 6 pm.

Improvements planned for Jackson Avenue, Madden Avenue, Sunset Avenue/Hopkins Drive, and Ocala Avenue will add or upgrade three miles of bike lanes, sharrows, and signage. These will connect to San Antonio Street, one of the Primary Bikeways identified by the city’s Bike Plan 2020 as a core network of high-quality bikeways.

“The Primary Bikeway Network is designed in a similar way for biking as our highway system is for moving cars,” explained Deputy Director of Transportation Paul Smith. “To go all the way across the city, there need to be routes that everyone can use safely and conveniently — routes that have some type of enhanced treatment, like the green buffered bike lanes on Hedding Street.”

Existing (solid) and planned (dashed) Primary Bikeways in central San Jose. Paths (green), bike lanes (blue), and bike routes (orange) are all included in the network. Image: City of San Jose

The four bike lane and sharrow projects proposed at the community meeting last week will connect bicyclists in many east San Jose neighborhoods to San Antonio Street, and then across town via San Fernando and Park. San Antonio itself could be upgraded to a bicycle boulevard, by minimizing stop signs and adding traffic calming features. These new bike routes, marked with sharrows and signage, will guide cyclists over Highway 280 via existing pedestrian bridges at Madden Avenue and at Sunset Avenue.

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Eyes on the Street: East Palo Alto’s First Sharrows

Sharrows on Woodland Avenue in East Palo Alto

New sharrows installed on part of Woodland Avenue in East Palo Alto are the Woodland neighborhood’s very first bicycle infrastructure. Photo: Andrew Boone

When East Palo Alto repaved Woodland Avenue between Newell Avenue and West Bayshore Road in late March, one half-mile of the city’s bumpiest pothole-filled street was suddenly transformed into its smoothest one, complete with new striping and well-placed sharrows on top. City planners hope the sharrows will help residents bike and drive more predictably on Woodland’s streets, almost all of which are too narrow to accommodate both parallel-parked cars and bike lanes.

They may just be stencils, but the new sharrows are the first in East Palo Alto, and the very first bicycle infrastructure of any kind in the high-density Woodland neighborhood west of Highway 101. Most of the city’s multi-family housing has been built in this narrow slice of land that San Mateo County allowed developers to build without sidewalks, before the area incorporated and became part of East Palo Alto.

High population density, poor transit service, narrow streets, and missing sidewalks mean that people walking or bicycling must share the road with car traffic volumes that are very high for a residential neighborhood. Woodland Avenue carries 3,300 cars per day, including a significant proportion of cut-through traffic comprising drivers seeking a faster route to Highway 101 than University Avenue during the evening rush hour.

Woodland Avenue, East Palo Alto, Before March 2014 Repaving

Woodland Avenue east of Newell Road was full of potholes and had no stripes or markings of any kind before its resurfacing in March 2014. Photo: Google Maps

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Eyes on the Street: Easier Bike Navigation at Market and Buchanan

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A man uses a new waiting zone set up for bike commuters where the Duboce bikeway ends, at Market and Buchanan Streets. Photo: Frank Chan/Flickr

Doing the Wiggle should be a little easier, thanks to new green-backed sharrows and plastic posts installed by the SFMTA last week. These help bike commuters navigate the entrance to the Duboce bikeway, at Market and Buchanan Streets.

The sharrows are intended to establish a clearer path for bike traffic heading both to and from the bikeway, navigating around pedestrians in Market’s northern crosswalk across Buchanan. The paths mostly follow patterns long followed by bike commuters, but also set aside a new zone for eastbound riders to wait in without getting in the way of westbound riders.

Previously, the junction lacked any markings to direct bicyclists, who had little to go by other than the crosswalks. Riders heading in opposite directions often waited for the light on the same small spot of corner curb space. An added benefit of the sharrows is that they direct people to cross streetcar tracks at a safe, perpendicular angle.

The three plastic posts installed appear to help solve that problem in two ways: One post separates the two directions of bike traffic, while the other two mark the separation between waiting bike riders and car traffic on Buchanan.

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Eyes on the Street: More Green-Backed Sharrows on Market Street

The SFMTA continues to paint green-backed sharrows along lower Market Street in the wake of a re-paving by the Department of Public Works. The new markings have been spotted as far east as Fourth Street.

The combination is a nice treat that may help tide over San Franciscans who are still waiting for raised, protected bike lanes to be installed in who-knows-what-year. Fewer potholes and more visibility are nothing to sneeze at, and the increasingly continuous sharrows are starting to add some definition to the “Bay-to-Beach” route.

Of course, we have Frank Chan to thank for the superb shots.

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Green-Backed Sharrows Pleasantly Surprise Riders on the Wiggle

Photos: Aaron Bialick

Commuters on the Wiggle got a Bike to Work Day surprise this morning: green-backed sharrows guiding bicycle riders through the intersection of Steiner and Waller Streets.

The “sharrows were painted VERY early this morning and they are permanent,” says a post on the SFMTA’s Livable Streets Facebook page. Agency staff wrote that more will be added “as wayfinding guides all through the Wiggle” along each block and through other intersections in coming weeks.

The green-backed sharrow treatment arose from the SFMTA’s ThinkBike sessions with Dutch bike planners.

One rider told SFMTA staff, “It’s like riding on candy!”

SF Recreation and Parks General Manager Phil Ginsburg seems pleased with the "super sharrows."

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Two-Way McAllister Provides a Direct Route for 5-Fulton Riders

McAllister Street looking west at Leavenworth Street. Flickr photo: geekstinkbreath

Two-way access on the east end of McAllister Street has been restored for Muni buses, bicycles, and commercial vehicles, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced last week.

The conversion, completed last Thursday, provides a more direct route to Market Street for the 5-Fulton Muni line, which has long been forced to detour off McAllister at Hyde Street. The bus line is expected to save three minutes on inbound trips for its nearly 16,000 annual riders and save the SFMTA an estimated $200,000 per year, the agency said.

“For folks that are riding the 5, it will really help with quicker trips and reliability and make sure that buses are more evenly spaced apart,” said San Francisco Transit Riders Union spokesperson Robert Boden. “One of our members rides it on a daily basis and she mentioned that sometimes that turn onto Market Street can be very difficult for drivers, and there were times when the trolley buses would become disconnected from the wires.”

Under the reconfiguration, three one-way lanes were converted to one through lane in each direction, bringing calmer and more inviting conditions for people walking and biking on the two blocks between Market and Hyde Streets.

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New Sharrows on Sutter and Post Streets Not Popular with Cyclists

Sutter-3_1.jpgA bicyclist makes her way up Sutter Street just after the evening commute. Photos by Bryan Goebel.
Pedaling up Sutter Street toward Leavenworth from his dentist's office during the height of the Wednesday evening commute, Dan Nunes is riding in the transit-only lane for his bike trip home, despite the new sharrows recently painted in the center lane to his left. There, drivers often zoom by at alarming speeds, breaking the 25 mile an hour speed limit, narrowly avoiding crashes, and treating the three-lane arterial like a highway, especially as they make the descent down the hill on Sutter just past Leavenworth.

For Nunes, and many other cyclists, riding in the center lane is not an option, even with the beckoning of the white sharrows.

"I think it's just asinine. You're trusting the car coming behind you not to hit you," he said. "It's about avoiding contact with the cars so riding in the middle lane with cabs, with tourists looking at buildings, I mean, come on."

Sutter Street cuts through several of San Francisco's densest neighborhoods and commercial districts, and along with Post Street one block south, serves as a major east-west connection for bicyclists. Those streets also serve Muni's 2-Clement and 3-Jackson, which have dedicated transit lanes that are sometimes clogged by drivers cued up to turn right.

The SFMTA recently installed the sharrows on both Sutter and Post Streets (Bicycle Route 16) as part of its Bike Plan directive to add 75 miles of new sharrows on bike routes across the city. Where Sutter and Post intersect with other bicycle routes, the sharrows have been painted in two lanes so drivers can more readily expect cyclists, and cyclists can position themselves to turn, according to the SFMTA. Plans are also in the works to paint sharrows on short sections of other streets with transit lanes, including Clay Street from Montgomery to Battery, and Stockton from Sutter to Post.

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