Sunday, September 05, 2010

Long Beach CA's Innovative Bicycle Priority Lanes

Last December Sharrows were officially sanctioned in the 2009 Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices or MUTCD-the national standard for current road design practices. But even before these innovative bike symbols were endorsed two cities were already experimenting with an improved version. Long Beach CA and Salt Lake City UT have added a green paint strip to increase the visibility of a bicyclists and further define ideal road position for bikes in the right hand lane.

Video: Russ Roca on YouTube

Note that the video features Charlie Gandy one of the elders of the bicycle advocacy movement who is now the Mobility Coordinator for the City of Long Beach. Long Beach City council has set a goalto become the most Bicycle Friendly City in America. A nebulous distinction, but I am sure they will settle for a platinum level Bicycle Friendly Community. The City is also the home of the first Bikestation.

The sharrow with green paint strip is an awkward description. Some have proposed that these enhanced shared lane markings be called bicycle priority lanes and are modeled after European advisory bike lanes.

Think of the possibilities that these lanes could offer for our narrow streets. How about Broad Street or any of the two lane-one way streets in Center City? Perhaps they could be considered as an option to replace some of the most acute door zone bike lane configurations like Spruce going eastbound between 38th and 34th. Could bicycle priority lanes be seen as acceptable bicycle facilities in some of our older first generation suburbs?

We say that bicycle priority lanes would be a great addition to the toolbox of innovative bicycle treatments in Philadelphia.


Anonymous said...

Good article. Can you guys change the font color of your blog? I can hardly read the text. Thanks.

Andrew J. Besold said...

I like this idea. It's one of the few new ones I've seen floated around lately that can really get behind. And compared to a barrier separated facility, this should be rather cheap to install and cause few of the concerns at intersections since it replicates and encourages vehicular cycling.