Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sharrows (bike silhouettes and chevrons)

Post by Dun Meng (Manny)

Bennington St is one of the major streets in East Boston, runs approximately all the length of residential area on the north of Logan International Airport. It starts at the neighborhood of Central Square, about half a mile latter, the street become a little bit wider at the intersection of Chelsea St and Bennington St, near the Day Square where locating a lot of shops. After that, the street goes through Orient Height, and ends at the border of the City of Revere.

Bennington St is a two way street with two lanes on each side. (And both sides have parking lane), it has an about 1 miles length shared bike lane each way installed in 2008. The objective of this installation probably is the city government wants to add more bike tracks in the city, and make the city more friendly to bicyclists. The share bike lane was installed between travel lane and parking lane, with a width more than 15 ft. Each shared bike lane is paved bike silhouettes and chevrons. That is a good design that may have following advantages:

  • Encourage motorists to be aware of bicycles
  • Encourage motorists to give enough space to bicycle
  • Encourage bicyclists to stay in the right lane and follow the arrow

There are signs of “share the road” installing on the road lights on both sides of the street. It is comprehensive to both motorists, due to the color and bike marking. But it sometimes it may be blocked by the parking vehicles.

One problem need to concern about this design is that, the wide lane definitely increased the speed of motor vehicle. According to my observation there, all those vehicles were driving more than 35 mph. Not a lot of traffic, and only a few bicycles are driving on the street. Another good design is the distance form the bicycle rack to the parking park. Bicyclists do not need to concern about the “dooring” crash.

Another thing very interesting is that I only saw two bikes driving on the street in an hour observation. And the two bikes were both driving on the wrong way, and both were driving on the sidewalk. Expect the bicyclist worried about the speed of the vehicle, another probability is the sidewalk pretty wide, and it’s good to drive bicycle. So, why not, it is comfortable, and it is safe, also not much pedestrian walking on it.

As shown in the picture above, the bike silhouettes and chevrons have been moved a little inside, vehicles are always driving completely on that lane, it should be better to move the marking a little more outside.

1 comment:

  1. Too bad there weren't any bikes riding on the road while you observed; can't tell if the sharrows were used as intended. However, your observation of the huge absence of cyclists except for two on the sidewalk (and your comment "why not?") are telling. On a wide, high speed roadway like this, subtle pavement markings like sharrows probably aren't enough to create an effective, low-stress bike route.