June 27, 2012
In a May 2012 report, the Mineta Transportation Institute found that the best method to increase bicycle ridership is through “low-stress routes that appeal to the mainstream traffic-intolerant population.” The report identifies speed of traffic; number of automobiles, bicycles, and pedestrians; level of connectivity; noise; and aesthetics as influential factors to determine a route’s level of stress. This means that the best way to appeal to non-bicyclists is through bicycle-only lanes, trails, and cycle tracks. Unfortunately, sharrows do not create the low-stress environment that new bicyclists need for commuting.
Sharrows, however, are an important part of the transportation network and benefitPhiladelphiain three significant ways. First, sharrows identify recommended streets for bicyclists where there are no segregated bicycle lanes. Second, sharrow markings are on-street reminders for bicyclists and automobiles to respect each other and share the road. Finally, sharrow lanes help connect the bicycle network inPhiladelphiaby linking together bike lanes.
Sharrows can be seen on 13th street, 15th street, Castor Avenue, Ridge Avenue, and will soon be on parts of 58th street and 10th street.
In Center City, crowds, noise, and speed often increase the stress for commuters. As the city continues to grow, it is necessary that all modes of transportation are taken into account to create a less stressful commute, one element of which is effectively using bike lanes and sharrows. Philadelphiawill continue to work with automobilists, bicycle enthusiasts, and transit users to build the best environment for all commuters.
You can read the Mineta Transportation Institute here.