The City of Long Beach’s efforts to be the most bicycle-friendly city in the nation have moved forward with the recent unveiling of “sharrows”– existing street lanes that are now clearly marked as shared lanes for both vehicles and bikes in Belmont Shore.
The sharrows, the only ones of their kind west of Utah, are in the right traffic lane in each direction on Second Street from Livingston Drive to East Marina Drive. The street markings encourage the proper use of the lane by both motorists and cyclists, which by law already share the lane.
The Sharrows on 2nd Street are a unique, Federal Highway Administration-approved demonstration project that include a six-foot wide, green-striped lane with sharrows down the center of the right lane. Salt Lake City is the only other city in the country that utilizes similar sharrows with a colored stripe.
“Sharrows are ‘preventive engineering’ tools used to clearly indicate the safest place in the travel lane for cyclists,” said Charles Gandy, mobility coordinator for the City of Long Beach. “They provide clear communication to motorists indicating where they should expect to be sharing the travel lane with cyclists.”
A host of additional bike-friendly improvements will be unveiled throughout Long Beach in the next few weeks, including dozens of additional sharrows (without a colored stripe) on streets that are considered bike routes, as well as hundreds of numbered bikeway signs on every bike route and bike lane in the city.
The City of Long Beach is also beginning the design process for way-finding signage on De Forest Avenue between Wardlow Road and Pacific Coast Highway to provide better access to the LA River bike path, as well as new bike lanes along:
• Del Amo Boulevard between Orange and Cherry avenues
• Pacific Avenue between Pacific Coast Highway and San Antonio Drive
• Harding Street between Orange and De Forest avenues.
A total of $10 million in grant funding is being dedicated to bike infrastructure, safety and education as part of the transformation to a more bike-friendly city.
“The new sharrows compliment the city’s public outreach campaign for greater bicycle infrastructure. Sharrows provide a safer space for cyclists than what’s currently in existence along 2nd Street,” said Tony Cruz, professional bicyclist and bike ambassador for the City of Long Beach. “It’s important for motorists and cyclists to learn to share the road as it is illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk. Sharrows also keep cyclists away from the opening doors of parked cars.”
Sharrows are used in lanes shared by bicyclists and motorists when there is not sufficient width or a need for a bicycle lane. In contrast, bicycle lanes set aside an area for bicyclists and are marked by a solid white line and a different symbol.
Generally, sharrows will be used on arterial streets in Long Beach where cyclists need to go and there is not enough room in the existing street space to mark a bicycle lane.