Marc Lefkowitz | 10/25/10 @ 1:25pm
Over the weekend, Cleveland Heights completed the region's second demonstration of Sharrows. These pavement markers remind motorists to Share the Road with cyclists. In Cleveland Heights, Sharrows were applied by the city on two-lane thoroughfare Euclid Heights Boulevard, westbound from Severance Town Center (which has the city's first bike lane on its ring road, pictured below) to the Coventry Road commercial district.
This 1.5 mile stretch is a major connector of Cleveland Heights to University Circle for thousands of bike commuters. It is also significant because it follows closely on the heels of newly formed Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition, a group that identified improvements to the city's bicycling infrastructure. The coalition is hoping city council will implement a pilot program of painting "sharrows" on five main roads which see a lot of bicycling activity but which may not have the lane width to support bike lanes.
How has the coalition proven so adept at moving the dial when bike commuters have been calling for improvements for years? Our observation of what is being done right includes:
- The group's leaders organized likeminded individuals, some with deep roots in the community, to create a single voice for improving transportation choices.
- They established a set of principles and goals, and researched national best practices, finding the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Community designation as a standard for ranking the city's bike friendliness.
- The Coalition did the legwork and applied for Cleveland Heights to be ranked by the League.
- Connections were made to the local media (Heights Observer), and the Coalition joined the Sustainable Heights effort and made it part of that group's agenda (collaborate with as many other groups as possible).
- The group presented the Bicycle Friendly Community Honorable Mention to city council. The League's ranking comes with a narrative list of ways to improve the city in order to reach the next level. Sharrows are one suggestion to earning points and are an easy thing for a city to do (they don't require re-engineering a road like a bike lane).
As a side note, the region's first Sharrows were painted on Franklin Avenue by Cleveland (on the Near West Side) in 2008. The intention at the time was to demonstrate that Sharrows are easy to add, and that the city of Cleveland doesn't have to stop there.