Although the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has been installing R4-11 (Bicycles may use full lane) signs on many highways, managers have indicated that sharrows will be used more sporadically, if at all. So I was quite surprised to see some sharrows on MD-450 in Bladensburg, where right the lanes are 12 feet wide.
Unfortunately, SHA placed the sharrows about 4 feet from the curb rather than in the center of the lane. I sent them the following complaint.
I am filing this under "complaint" because it may or may not be time-sensitive. I noticed about 4 sharrows painted in the right lane and if more are planned, it would be wise to reflect on these concerns before proceeding.
MBPAC and others have warned SHA that the guidance for sharrows is incomplete and/or misleading. Sharrows are used under two very different situations: On lanes that are wide enough to share side-by-side, and on lanes that are too narrow to share side by side (often with an R4-11 sign). In the former case, sharrows should usually be about 4 feet from the curb or pavement edge--and that is what the guidance said. But when the lane is too narrow to share side by side, then sharrows should be in the center of the lane.
Here you have sharrows 4 feet from the curb on 12 foot lanes. Such sharrows communicate to drivers that the cyclists should be keeping right to make room for the car to pass within the lane--but there is not enough room. The sharrows also communicate to drivers that a cyclist using the full lane (generally about 7 feet from the curb) is hogging the lane when he should be farther to the right. Given that we even have R4-11 signs on this road, you have just painted sharrows that contradict the message of the R4-11 signs.
For examples of the right way to do this, please see the photos for the following cities:
A side benefit of mid-lane sharrows is that they do not wear away as fast as sharrows placed in the tire tracks, But the main reason not to place sharrows 4 feet from the curb in a 12-foot lane is that doing so encourages cyclists to ride in a place where drivers will attempt to pass bikes within the lane with insufficient clearance--exactly the opposite of what the R4-11 sign was designed to do.
I'll let you know what they decide.
Jim Titus is a bicycle advocate from Prince Georges County. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of any organization with which he is affiliated.
“To be honest, it’s not a statement, it’s not an experiment,” Armstrong told the Register. “It’s just me wanting to go ride my bike with what in the past has been a friendly group of people who share the same interests.”
I'm not enamored with this video on "Cycling in the US from a Dutch perspective". I think it shows a lack of real understanding of cycling in the United States. It's more like "Cycling in the US from a closed-minded Dutch tourist's perspective."
I don't know why the Dutch are obsessed with the fact that many cyclists here like to wear lycra or that Americans tend to wear helmets. Both have their advantages. And I don't agree with the narrator's deduction that this is some sort of sign of American failure. It might be that even when cycling numbers in US citieis get to be as high as in the world's great bicycling cities that there is still more lycra and more helmets in America. I don't see a problem with that. If the concern is that people don't bike as much or that mostly younger men bike or that people who do bike only do it for fun, then those are the facts that are relevant. What kinds of clothes people wear really is not.
But my real beef with the video is the claim that sharrows "are just useless paint." That's just categorically untrue. The FHWA did a study of sharrows that showed that sharrows increased the operating space for cyclists, both in the distance that they kept from parked cars and in the space passing motorists gave them. Sharrows reduced sidewalk cycling and they reduced wrong-way riding. They slowed drivers down. They even caused drivers to stay farther from parked cars when bikes weren't present. Those are changes that have real value, and the narrator is misleading people when he claims otherwise.
Are sharrows as good as a separated bike path? No, they are not. But, they're also not as expensive or as difficult to install.
If this filmmaker wants to pass himself off as some sort of expert on bicycling "infra" he should take the time to learn the facts about what he's talking about.
I don't believe that the Dutch perspective is that "the only right way to make bikable cities is the Dutch way," but that seems to be the one presented in the video.
I hope that bike has a chain guard...I mean that's a nice suit.
"As my oncologist spoke, I thought of the commuting bike, purchased two months before my diagnosis, gathering dust under the basement steps. There was virtually nothing I could control about the nightmare of my cancer, I thought. But give me one thing that I can take charge of, that I can do — that I love to do — and I’m going to ride as if my life depends on it."
Montgomery Preservation Inc., has changed its mind and will now submit plans for the Met Branch Trail near the historic train station to the Maryland Historic Trust. This is not the finish line, but it gets things closer. [BTW, I like the idea of opening the station itself as a trail-side cafe. Win-win]
I will second the notion that biking to the inauguration is the best way to deal with the crowds (for those for whom this is an option). Though you'll probably be better off with your own bike, being stranded by CaBi would make for a good excuse to have a refreshing beer or seven (and then take Metro home). But, will inauguration day break CaBi's one day record? "Several Bikeshare stations will be closed or removed altogether. Six
in Northwest Washington will be removed this week because of the parade
and will be reinstalled next week. They are the stations at 10th and E
streets, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue, 14th and D streets, 15th
Street and New York Avenue, 14th and G streets, and 14th and H streets.In
addition, the stations on the Mall in front of the Washington Monument
and the Smithsonian Metro entrance will be shut down until 5 p.m.
I was recently sent a link to this pdf put together by the NoMa BID showing street design concepts in NoMa. It's from February of 2011 and so the 1st Street NE design doesn't show the cycletrack, but the rest of it is hopeful.
The design concepts for the east-west roads of L, M and N streets have 5' bike lanes.
And on the narrower roads of Pierce and Patterson Streeets, they use sharrows
The FHWA released data comparing some of the country's bike sharing systems. While DC was #1 in annual members, CaBi came in just behind Minneapolis in the number of stations and bikes (though I think it's #1 again now) and way behind Miami in casual members. And of course, more expansion is planned and underway "This week, for example, county officials are installing one new station at North Queen Street and Arlington Boulevard near Fort Myer and another at North Barton Street at 10th Street North near the courthouse. Those two stations were approved last year, although installation was delayed for legal reasons."
DC has been named one of 10 Gold level Walk-Friendly communities by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. "The designation goes to towns that promote walking and pedestrian safety through programs and policies." I don't think this is actually a cycling designation though.
Montreal's Bixi is experimenting with a new pricing method for daily users. They get a key and are charged $5 (instead of $7) for each day they use it. Good for people who rarely use it, but don't want to deal with the kiosk - and they save $2 each time. Could be something we try here.
State and federal funds will be used to create a corridor of hiking, biking and fishing areas more than 10 miles long from near Thurmont to north of Middletown in Maryland.
Fairfax City, George Mason University and Fairfax County created the Mason-to-Metro Initiative, with recommendations to improve the bicycle and pedestrian sign system and map, and on-road bicycle facilities and trails. So, this fall, the city plans to install shared-use lane markings and signs on sections of Old Lee Highway. "Sharrows currently mark the bike lanes on George Mason Boulevard and University Drive between the university and Old Town Fairfax."
Lots of pro cyclists are coming clean about their doping.
Puget Sound Wind Farm doubles as hiking and biking recreation area. "A bike ride among the bright-white towers seemed just the right pace at which to ponder their strange, mechanical beauty."
I like the idea of this, but it will probably be too expensive and it would by like crack for NIMBY's - same as monorail.
DC had a ribbon cutting ceremony on the completed Adams Morgan streetscape and much of the media reported the same things, except DCist which complained about the bike racks.
Most newsoutlets wrote about all the new amenities, including new bike lanes. The problem is, there are no bike lanes. There are sharrows. Now I know the average person on the street (see what I did there) may not know the difference, but there is a difference.
I really wish they'd put the sharrows in the cener of the lane. The lanes here aren't wide enough to require riding to the right, and if I ride in the center of the sharrows, there isn't room for a car to pass, so I don't really know what the point is. I can hear cyclists being honked at from here.
Going north from Florida Avenue the sharrows actually "suggest" that you move over to the right after a bus bulb, wand then moving to the left again once the parked cars get in the way. Most experts don't recommend that you do this and that instead you "maintain your line." I hate to ask them to grind this sharrow out, but they should really grind this sharrow out and replace it.