Sharrows are coming.
SFBC is happy to report that FDOT is listening to us, somewhat reluctantly but certainly officially, and planning to implement bicycle facilities in the Sunset Drive project. We have been speaking with local and state FDOT officials over the last two months in an effort to ensure that the new portions of Sunset Drive (resurfaced from SW 84 Place to SW 69 Ave), include designated bicycle facilities.
In our initial conversations, sharrows were dismissed as ‘too new’ and not to be considered for a road with a posted speed above 35mph. Bicyclists around South Florida rallied around bike lanes, even 4foot undesignated shoulders, as better than wide curb lanes on a road already known to encourage speeding. FDOT was willing to put in standard ‘Share the Road’ signage.
Some of you followed our efforts to force FDOT to do more through my (and others’) posts on TransitMiami.com. I’ve copied my most recent post below:
I just got a call from the FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus Pego. You may recall from previous posts that we have tried onmultiple times to reach him and his office so, I was happy to take his call. It turns out that FDOT wanted to put bike lanes in the Sunset Drive project, that our Secretary lives very close by and understands the importance of this corridor for bicyclists and pedestrians, local schools and places of worship. He personally looked into putting in undesignated (4foot lanes, requiring an extra foot of pavement on each side) or designated (5ft) bike lanes, but that would have been prohibitively expensive. According to an email we received from his assistant last Friday, the cost nearly triples the current project budget of $3.5million to $9.9million. Adding a standard bike lane would bring the costs past $10million.
But what about sharrows, I asked. As many of you know, the South Florida Bike Coalition has been preparing to take legal action on this corridor and we feel that additional traffic calming measures, plus sharrows andeffective signage could make wide curb lanes on Sunset a safe alternative. Gus Pego said, “Oh, we are planning on putting in sharrows.” What!? He explained that they didn’t mention it because FDOT felt people were not aware what a sharrow was but sure, he assured me, he is ready to say that we should expect sharrows on Sunset Drive.
So, why do we like sharrows? Full disclosure. I love sharrows. I freely admit that I have a favorite street lane treatment and sharrow it is.
- Sharrows encourage people to ride where it is safest, in the lane.
- Sharrows communicate effectively to motorists where they should expect to see people on bicycles.
- Sharrows reduce the number of people bicycling in the wrong direction (“salmon”).
I could go on and on… So what could be wrong with this miraculous idea?
According to the MUTD guidebook: “Guidance 02 The Shared Lane Marking should not be placed on roadways that have a speed limit above 35 mph.” The portions of Sunset Drive in this project have posted speeds of 40mph and, as we all know, see motorists regularly speeding at greater speeds than this. This is only a ‘guidance’, but it has its place. As Director of the South Florida Bike Coalition, I support the choice of the sharrow, WITH the implementation of the signage you see above and to the left AND increased law enforcement to reduce speeding in the area. This is my position after reviewing this project, after riding in ‘undesignated bike lanes’ on high speed roads in other cities and listening to what members have expressed to me. What is your reaction to this news?
On another note: The City of Miami Bicycle Master Plan calls for the implementation of sharrows throughout the city. You can download the plan and search through for shared use lane markings at http://www.miamigov.com/bikes.