40th St Supersharrows: What do you think?

Oakland just repaved 40th Street and is now striping ‘supersharrows,’ the long, limey green carpet of bikeway that you are starting to see. We really want to know what you think of them? You may love ‘em, you may not, it’s an experiment. So, take a quick online survey about the supersharrows, then talk it up!

Supersharrows are essentially sharrows with a vibrant punch! These are not bike lanes where bicyclists have priority over cars, but rather a shared space for both users, with a visible reminder to driviers to look for bikes. So be cautious and alert.

“I live off Piedmont Ave and commute to SFSU by BART, so the 40th St/41st St corridor between Broadway and Macarthur BART is my ‘first and last mile’. I’ve avoided 40th St because it’s such a high-speed corridor where I’ve been honked at and buzzed too many times by cars. But with the new fat green stripe down the middle of the lane, there’s no way for cars to ignore the bicyclists’ right to be there, and I think it’ll create the expectation that bikes will be there. I will - thank you Oakland!” …. EBBC member Joe Chojnacki, Oakland resident.

Ride the supersharrows and tell us what you think. If successful, Oakland intends to stripe more on streets such as MacArthur Blvd in the Laurel District, Harrison St toward Piedmont, Market St north of Adeline St, a couple blocks either way at Broadway & Grand, and Lakeshore Ave east of El Embarcadero.

Long Beach Sharrows

EBBC compromised with the city of Oakland to allow supersharrows on 40th St. in return for real bike lanes on West MacArthur Boulevard, which are being studied. The compromise was made necessary by neighborhood concerns about  narrowing newly planted medians to make room for bike lanes and AC Transit concerns about bus service impacts if a traffic lane was removed for bikes. EBBC prefers bike lanes over supersharrows for any street with significant traffic or higher speeds, but we first want to hear what you think. Thanks for providing feedback.

Background

Long Beach, California is taking the lead on a new style bikeway-Super Sharrows! It’s a ‘Sharrow’ treatment with a wide green lane striped for emphasis. Long Beach is experimenting with this concept, but the early results are popular and successful.

  • “Wow, for the first time I have a space to feel safe riding my bike on 2nd Street. The super sharrows create an invitation for people to come out and ride to their favorite restaurants and businesses.”
Tony Cruz, Long Beach resident and father.

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There are concerns about the colored paint wearing away, and it has been suggested that “green” is not the best color for this idea, as green can denote a “bike-only” space, whereas the super sharrow is intended for shared space for bikes and cars. What do you think? Should the East Bay start experimentations like this. The City of Richmond is considering adding super sharrows to their upcoming Bicycle Plan. {C}

Keep in mind, sharrows by themselves are one heck of a lame bicycle facility and in no significant way make a busy street safe for riding a bicycle. Road diets and bike lanes are a preferred treatment. But where a City absolutely refuses to stripe bike lanes, more than naked sharrows are needed. Traffic calming improvements help a lot, as does increased traffic awareness and a more pedestrian-friendly envirmonment where motorists slow and look for pedestrians and cyclists–shared streets or community streets, if you will. Short of bike lanes, how far does the Long Beach concept get us toward the goal of safe streets for cyclists? Are they worthwhile? Do you want your Bicycle Coalition to push for these? Let’s us know what you think. Check out this YouTube video showing the facility.

Another good YouTube video of the Long Beach Super Sharrows. The money shot comes at around 4:31 timeslot, where you can see most of the cars choosing the left thru lane, leaving the right super sharrow lane more open for cyclists-a de facto road diet, albeit momentary!

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