New ‘sharrows’ on 32nd Ave. NW

Seattle Department of Transportation crews are working to paint “sharrows” for bicyclists along 32nd Ave. NW.

Jen emailed us last night. “At 6:30 p.m. these guys were at the 32nd and 65th intersection. Now two hours later they’ve made it up to 32nd and 71st! They are still moving up the street. Hard to believe they work this late. As a sometime cyclist family we appreciate having these on our street.”

Sharrows are bicycle symbols indicating that drivers should expect to see and share the lane with bicycles. From the looks of it this morning, they still have a few blocks northbound and most of the southbound sharrows to paint.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

31 thoughts to “New ‘sharrows’ on 32nd Ave. NW”

  1. these ones are a little bit different than others (24th etc) in that they are smack dab in the middle of the street. i don't know if that was fully on purpose for visibility sake, but the other streets have them a bit off to the right.

    i don't have a point here. it is just a slow day at work this morning.

  2. I noticed the same thing, gooner.

    I think sharrows are kind of pointless and maybe even a bit dangerous — if they're to remind drivers that bicycles are sharing the road, then they should be everywhere, and if they're not it implies that streets without sharrows won't have bikes.

    But if they are going to be there, then putting them in the middle makes more sense to me. That's where a cyclist would have to ride on (most of) 32nd to avoid getting doored.

  3. Perhaps they can make a picture of a guy with his dog and the letters AM underneath it, cause I walk my dog here daily in the AM, and god knows there are not enough symbols bombarding us daily as it is.

    File this under things you can do with paint.

    Three cheers for traffic awareness!

  4. In theory great. In reality these are a waste of money and resources. These are on 85th street and cars still drive 40+ mph on there way to and from GG's. I also don't think it will stop people from talking and texting while driving.

    It is still a good idea to avoid the main roads while on a bike.

  5. They typically are placed within the street at the location where bicyclists are urged to ride, given the parking constraints, speed limit, etc. These are a little different in that they are closer to the middle of the travel lane, rather than tending to the right.

    32nd was identified in the Bicycle Master Plan as a location for sharrows, and generally, the BMP seeks to mark streets that are identified as most appropriate for cyclists as major routes. They are definitely intended to alert drivers to the increased possibility of cyclists on the roadway– I hope all of us drivers, however, assume that bicyclists could be on any road. I''m glad they aren't being painted on every street — sign fatigue…….

    Amazing that they were working at night….also, see the paint markings on Leary at 17th NW for what looks like a new street configuration. That intersection was identified in several studies of transporation in Ballard as a TERRIBLE intersection for pedestrians and vehicles. Since 17th is identified as a 'bicycle boulevard' in the BMP, this work might be triggered by that, and the aforementioned studies. Will feed peds and bikes nicely into the newest section of the BGT (if that ever gets out of court…don't get me started!!)

  6. One of SDOT's reasons for using sharrows is when the road is too narrow to safely accomodate on-street parking, a bike lane, and a travel lane.

    If that is the case, most of our sharrows are too far to the right.
    I'm glad to see that this one is more toward the center.

  7. I disagree. If cyclists “hide out” on backstreets, drivers will never be conditioned to sharing the road. 32nd is at least paved decently compared to 30th, 28th & 26th.
    You are correct in that nothing will stop fools from eating, texting, talking, make-up application and many of stupid things people do while driving short of massive enforcement and stong fines similar to what they do in parts of Europe. In Iceland a speeding ticket going 20+ over the limit will get you a ticket equal to 5% of your annual salary. Sounds like overkill but law compliance would improve and the city might get some money to fix roads, even finance the “missing link”

  8. I have mixed and largely unimpressed feelings about “sharrows”. They do have some limited research from SF showing that they help with teaching cyclists to ride outside of the door zone, and may reduce wrong-way or sidewalk cycling.

    But overall they feel like a quickie way to create “bike facilities” without doing anything about the car/bike/parking balance. I'd prefer properly placed (ie outside the door zone) dedicated bike lanes or bicycle boulevards. But those might involve some loss of parking or slowing down cars, which require political will and vision that doesn't seem to be here yet.

    Not to mention the dominant car culture “free parking is a constitutional right” and “how dare you slow me down” attitudes on full display in these and other forums. Free parking isn't. We all pay for parking in terms of increased building costs/rents, inefficient use of urban space, etc etc … And the number one thing that would make our urban roads safer for all (motorists, cyclists, children, pedestrians) would be complete streets designs and aggressive enforcement to slow cars down. The rate of serious injury and death from collisions increases exponentially as you get above 30 MPH.

    It's funny how worked up people get about cyclists running stop signs while remaining totally complacent about the fact that driving-related fatalities are staggering, and unchanged over the years despite many safety improvements in car and road design. The “safer” the cars and roads, the worse we drive.

    And sharrows are also a bit depressing to me, as they illustrate what an unevolved bicycle awareness we have, both for cyclists (who ideally would know not to ride in the door zone without the sharrows) and motorists (who clearly need better education as well, regarding how to share the road).

    Here's to hoping we evolve beyond the need to remind people how to share the road.

  9. I would prefer “Share the road it's the law” signs. These pavement markings are just too confusing for many reasons that others have pointed out on here.

  10. I appreciate that about avoiding main roads, but it all depends on how you avoid them. I see some very fast moving bikes on 28th. Some go too fast, I mean, they pass by and its like what the heck was that, they even spook the dog.

    Mind you this is not an us vs. them car/bike/ped thing, just more awareness from everyone would help.

  11. I guess I look at using side roads as increasing my probability of a safe trip. So yes is may be hiding from high traiffic roads/intersections but I at least feel safer doing it. I would like to see more rigid enforcement and fines to improve bike-car safety.

    I still do not think painting the streets will bring awareness to the many that already do not pay attention. We can agree to disagree on this point.

  12. I would prefer a much, much tougher driving test. I think a good test would fail 90%+ of the people at least a couple times before they took it seriously enough to actually learn the rules of the road.

  13. These are different than the markings on 24th because 24th has dedicated bike lanes. As a rider, and a non-tool (i swear. ask ole P-Bone down at the Axe. He'll tell you… i'm a nice guy.) i like these sharrows. Maybe it's a false sense that drivers will be more aware to the possibility that a rider might be on the road. Also, gooner…it is a slow day.

  14. I have been bike commuting since 2007 from Greenlake to Sodo and I have noticed an improvement with both drivers and cyclists. I used to think that the Sharrows were inadequate, but I am beginning to think that they actually make a difference. There is probably a better solution, but as someoe who drives and bikes to work, I would say that these Sharrows have changed traffic patterns enough to make the streets a bit safer for cyclists.

    I would also like to weigh in on the side road debate above (does riding on backroads keep you safer than man streets). In my experience (which isn't tremendous) I would say that a cyclist is generally safer on a main road (that is bicycle friendly). Those back roads are where drivers are “familiar” with the roads and often drive too fast. They don't often expect a bicycle to be on their neighborhood road and the tight Seattle streets offer little room for visibility and maneuverability. I prefer to ride on a street that is a main road. Though it can be more intimidating, they usually have better visibility and drivers are more likely to be watching for cyclists.

  15. Personally I use side roads because I am a slow and inexperienced cyclist. I think I am not only safer myself, but it's safer for me to be out of the way of the roads where both cyclists and cars move more swiftly. Indeed, about 95 percent of the time I'm on roads that have no one else on them (not difficult in the middle of the day).

  16. Watch out for cars backing out of driveways and people opening their car doors. Way more prevalent on the backroads where nobody expects to have a bike go by.

  17. One of the main reasons that we license people to drive cars is that they are capable of causing so much damage. A bike will cause little damage to anyone other than the cyclist.
    To add to my point about a tougher test, there should be questions that are automatic fail if you get them wrong. That would be preferable to the damage and death that happens when they get them wrong on the road.

  18. I like where you are heading with this, but you are not correct. I've been buzzed by some cycleists who go entirely to darn fast, and I say this as a pedestrian with a bus pass!

    I've been on shared walk/bike paths where I get buzzed while walking with the dog, even in areas where it says to dismount. I tell you if the guy had come a few inches closer it would have been one nasty high speed entanglement, leash, biker, Edog, and dog.

  19. I wonder if sharrows count towards Nickels' “miles of bike lanes”. This “quick-fix” approach is exactly why we need to vote him out of office!

  20. I don't understand why the sharrows are to the right of the lane before 65th, and after that the placement is in the middle of the road. Why is that?

  21. I vote for the street markers, bike lanes would be best, but what are we gonna do. . .
    the cars rule this town – ugh.

    I live on 32nd-
    I fell asleep at 9 last night. I woke up at 12:30 am, by a shout outside, followed by some very odd LOUD noises. I look out the window and there are 4 dudes with monster blowtorches trying to melt the street. . .
    . . . placed pillow over head.

  22. It could have something to do with the grade. The steeper the slope, the faster cyclists go and the more they should ride toward the center of the lane for visibility and manuvering issues.

    In theory, if SDOT put the sharrows in the right place, they should help teach novice cyclists what lane position to use. …in theory.

  23. I understand your point and that is a choice each cyclist must make for themselves regarding safety. My point is merely that until are more drivers are aclimated to dealing with cyclists on a daily basis, it will take forever for thier collective behaviours to change.

  24. Personally I hate the things; too much of a distraction.
    Bikers, be highly visible and obey the rules of the road and remember, in any accident with a car or truck you will always be the one worst off.
    Tax money wasted . . . again!!

  25. “A bike will cause little damage to anyone other than the cyclist.”

    Ignorant and untrue statement. A colleague of mine got hit by a messenger downtown about 10 years ago who was jumping from sidewalk to road and back again. She sustained a compound fracture to her wrist and a concussion when the side of her face hit the sidewalk. The messenger took off running when he saw what happened. Any vehicle carelessly driven that can manage a speed of 25-35 MPH can and will cause damage, regardless of how it is powered.

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