August 12, 2014 Leave a comment
This summer, the Philadelphia Streets Department installed 13 miles of sharrows on Philadelphia streets. Shared lane markings, or ‘sharrows’, were initially developed as part of an experiment to help control traffic in several cities across the United States. The findings of this experiment were that sharrows helped to guide bicyclists away from the door zone — the area adjacent to parked cars where bicyclists could potentially be trapped or hit by a door. These findings led to approval of sharrows by the Federal Highway Administration in 2009.
Philadelphia first began identifying streets where sharrows could be installed in the 2012 Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan for Philadelphia. As shown in a map of current bike facilities in central Philadelphia below, the streets marked this summer include portions of 13th and 15th Streets between Spring Garden Street and Temple University; Memphis, Tulip, Columbia, and Malborough Streets; Sansom Street; and 18th and 21st Streets between Washington and Fairmount Avenues.
How does the Streets Department determine which streets should have sharrows? The main requirement is that streets be part of the city’s Bicycle Network Plan. Bicycle planners and traffic engineers then identify places where installing sharrows would help provide a clear, continuous, and safe path for bicycles to ride on. The chart below outlines more specific reasons for installing sharows.