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Pop quiz - which is the 'correct' sharrow? And, fossil v renewable, the new energy dilemma

Marc Lefkowitz  |  10/03/11 @ 1:03pm

University of Akron and community development organization University Park Alliance are making headway in establishing a bike network on and around campus. Brandon Henneman, a member of the Cleveland Heights Bike Coalition, snapped these pictures. Note how Akron is using the most current national sign standards, the "Bikes may use full lane" sign on Exchange Street near the children's hospital.

The city is also correctly interpreting the Manual of Uniform Traffic Code for sharrows (pavement markers) which suggests the center point of the sharrow is 11 feet from the curb. This position, it was determined, maximizes impact, providing a much clearer signal to motorists and cyclists to share the road.

The Akron example (pictured below, left) has two lanes in one direction and one lane on the other. Ideally, the double yellow line would be relocated to the center of the road ? repositioning the lanes with two lanes in each direction which may free up enough space for 5-foot bike lanes on both sides.

Now contrast the placement of Akron's sharrows with Cleveland Heights' on two-lane Euclid Heights Boulevard (pictured below, right). In Cleveland Heights, cyclists have registered complaint with the city that sharrows are too close to the curb. In fact, the more commonly accepted approach for bike facilities on wide (14 foot lanes) two-lane roads with on-street parking restricted at all times like this section of Euclid Heights Boulevard would be to follow California's street design guidelines and paint a wide (three foot min.) shoulder.

   Sharrow in Akron Sharrow on Euclid Heights Boulevard, Cleveland Heights

A wide painted shoulder was the approach that Cleveland Heights took when it reconfigured the lanes on the Lee Road repaving project. Even with a less than ideal width of 2 feet, 9 inches, the painted shoulder on Lee is a more visible indicator for motorists and cyclists of ideal lane position, and is the approach the city should take on heavily trafficked two-lane roads with no on-street parking like Euclid Heights Boulevard and Coventry.

According to the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CAMUTCD), Shared Lane Markings are only allowed on a roadway which has on-street parallel parking.

Where can sharrows go (according to CAMUTCD):

  • The current CAMUTCD requires that streets have on-street parallel parking.
  • Streets which have parking prohibited during rush hour to add another lane for traffic capacity can't have a Shared Lane Marking (or bike lanes, for that matter).
  • According to the CAMUTCD, "the shared roadway bicycle marking should not be placed on roadways with a speed limit at or above 40 mph." 35 mph or less.
  • As long as they have street parking, per the CAMUTCD, Class III Bike Routes and designated "Shared Roadways" are eligible for Sharrows.
  • The Sharrows study and the forthcoming Bicycle Plan will determine which streets get the first Sharrows.

· During WCPN's "Progress on energy growth in NE Ohio" show we heard one of the best explanations for government's role in accelerating alternative energy and the Lake Erie Wind Farm from Dr. Lorry Wagner, the head of the nonprofit group working on jumpstarting this $100 million pilot project of five turbines.

"The difficult challenge is that traditionally the federal government has played a large role in taking new technologies and moving them forward, like nuclear, oil and gas."

You mean, the government subsidized these industries? Host Mike Mcintyre asked.

"To give you a sense of scale, when the first nuclear plant was built in 1957, it was about a $600-700 million project in today's dollars. The cost of electricity was fifty cents a kilowatt hour and today it's less than five cents. So, going back to solar, wind, oil, gas ? this has been a traditional methodology where the government gets the technology to a certain point, the policy gets put in place and then private business jumps in. At this point in time, as different types of energy sources are on the rise or decline, it's difficult to get the federal government to do what it has done traditionally." 

· Civic Commons and EfficientGovNetwork launched a new discussion area about regional cooperation.

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