Read my lips: SHARE OH!

Getting squeezed between traffic and parked cars riding down Western Ave in downtown Seattle, I looked over and mouthed the words in an exaggerated manner (much like that Shout video from Tears for Fears)

SHARE OH! – THIS IS A SHARROW LANE

squeezed.jpg

The drivers didn’t care, much like the driver in this photo from Market street in San Francisco, and kept right on with their day. I don’t know the current status of sharrows, if they’re considered a success or not, but I’m still recommending to cyclist to get out into traffic, make sure they see you, and stay away from the car doors.

During the Stone Way uproar, I thought that street is the least of our problems. Western is a major bikeway as is Alaskan Way, and Mercer is the worst, most dangerous intersection in the city, possibly the the country. I ride right down the middle of the lane going north and sidewalk it going south.

Seattle isn’t unique in dealing with the right hook or car/bike solutions, in Brooklyn, they’re considering Door Zones and in Portland, they’ve started painting bike boxes.

Photo uploaded by richardmasoner



12 Comments

Actually Stone Way is a huge deal, it is the spout (correct term?) of a giant funnel for much of the bike traffic heading to downtown from north of the shipping canal. I commute by bike from Maple Leaf (east of I-5) to South Lake Union every day, and I use Stone Way in both directions.

I actually sent a thank-you letter to SDOT & the mayor’s office for reversing their initial decision (1/2 “sharrow” 1/2 bike lane for the uphill direction on Stone Way) and painting a full bike lane. The amazing disappearing bike land confused both drivers and bikers, and made for a LESS safe street in my opinion. They painted the full bike lane pretty quickly after making the announcement. I’ve only had the chance to try the lane out this week, but I feel much more comfortable riding up Stone Way now. Hopefully the “Master Plan” includes some upgrades for Western as well.

I encourage others to give some positive feedback when they make a change for the better. Seattlelikesbikes.org has some handy web links to send messages to our esteemed leaders.

Fair enough—that’s my perspective, whenever I’m riding Stone way it’s a non-issue and I see way sketchy shit going down on Alaskan Way everyday, but hold on a sec . . . did they add a full bike lane on StoneWay? I just rode it and there was the sharrows and that’s it.

We’ve got sharrows on a few streets in Boulder, Colorado, and drivers and cyclists seem to get how they work.  I ride in the middle of the lane on these streets and rarely get honked at or driver aggression.

Erica Barnett had a blurb on this in the Stranger this week and the liklihood of a similar fracas regarding Fauntleroy in West Seattle(currently two travel lanes in each direction). 

Now I come from the other end of W.Sea, so I don’t know how much cycle traffic Fauntleroy carries, but I know I wouldn’t choose that road for my ride, and I think the cycling community (if such a thing exists) and the bicycle master plan might be out of synch on some roads.

I think a big problem is that so many roads have parking on both sides of the street.  Not from a door-zone standpoint but road width.  Obviously local residents and businesses will fight tooth and nail to keep their parking, and sharrows rather than full bike lanes will be the likely cop-out result.

 

Exactly—I’d never ride Fauntleroy and if you’ve ever been behind the gate when the swing bridge is up, you’d know how many cyclists ride Alaskan. Same thing with climbing up Admiral—don’t get that at all; especially when you can come up Avalon or the other end of California

Stone Way has sharrows in the south bound (downhill) lane, which is a location where they actually makes sense, because bike traffic is more or less the same speed as car traffic. I never had issues heading that direction.

Heading north (uphill) used to have two lanes of traffic & sharrows for about half of the hill, then once you passed 40th street it switched to single lane of traffic with a bike lane. This was a very confusing set up, and cars tended to get antsy behind bikers in the “shared” section, and then all hell broke lose when two lanes of traffic suddenly became one and the bike lane appeared.

I believe they painted the full bike lane heading north last weekend, as this week of commuting was the first I saw of it. So far thanks to the bike lane cars have given me much more space, and even though I ride during rush hours I have yet to see the traffic “disaster” that the anti-bike-lane advocates warned about.

So far I am not a big fan of sharrows, although I think they can work in areas with enough space for cars to pass without moving into oncoming traffic AND when bikes are moving at a pretty good pace (aka- not up hill).

When I was typing my comment earlier I was going to mention the state of Alaskan Way / Marginal Way (abysmal) and how they are heavily used by cyclists - but it got a little rambling, so I skipped that part.

I don’t see how mayor Nickels can talk about increasing cycling with a straight face when that disgraceful shambles would be His route to and from work… if he rode… which he doesn’t and said on KUOW that he won’t (wouldn’t even let the host finish the question (which I’d emailed in))... on a subsequent visit to the station he claimed he can’t ride to work because he needs a security team and emergency communication equipment with him at all times.

County Exec Ron Sims seems to manage just fine (and is looking pretty fit lately)

No bike helmet?... hope that lady has good life insurance…

Sharrows can work well, but we need to make them work, and we need to actively educate the drivers.  I heartily recommend loud horns (Air Zound) as an assertive tool to get people’s attention and allow you to take the lane in accordance with the lane markings.  Riding in groups also helps, though not always an option.  Greg Nickels is simply following in the fine and time honored Seattle tradition of massive steaming heaps of lip service to bicycles for just as long as is necessary to get us off his case so that he can get on with what he was really doing.  Expecting him to back up his sound bites with effective policies is almost as realistic as expecting Santa Claus to bring world peace.

Well, I think my rendition of Shout with the words “SHARE OH!” helped . . . but my deal is riding right down the middle of the sharrow for sure and my favorite sharrows, are the hand-painted ones.

I can understand if Mayor Nickels can’t ride to work or meetings, but that’s a lame excuse for not riding at all.

should be a must read for our mayor, who is rapidly losing my respect.

Thanks for recommending that people take their place in the street. It seems that too many cyclists clamor for special treatment while some real-world driver education (more bikes on roads)would accomplish more. It’s refreshing to see that point of view.

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