Sharrows Tell Drivers to Expect Bikes

City to discuss other plans to improve bicycling, walking at Sept. 26 workshop.

Decatur's Sharrows have gotten a lot of attention lately.

The city painted these street lane markings on Ponce de Leon Avenue and Sycamore Drive a few days ago. The word comes from "shared lanes" and "arrows."

Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon said Sharrows send this message: "This is a street you shouldn't be surprised to see a bicycle on."

The advent of Sharrows sparked a lively discussion on Decatur Metro. The inDecatur blog urged the city to post Sharrow signs near Share the Road signs to reduce any chance of confusion.

That blog linked to a good graphic to show how to use Sharrows that was provided by Emory University. Decatur posted a public notice on the city website to explain why they painted the Sharrows.

City Planning Director Amanda Thompson said the Sharrows are part of the city's efforts to make the city more accessible for all forms of transportation, including walkers and bicyclists.

To that end, city officials will hold a community workshop at 6 p.m. Sept. 26 to talk about bike lane improvements on Church Street and pedestrian safety improvements at the Clairemont Avenue-Commerce Drive and Church Street-Commerce Drive intersections.

The meeting will be held in the city commission meeting room in city hall. The city has hired a firm to help plan the project.

Saxon said Decatur plans to paint Sharrows on many other streets that are part of the city's bicycle network. Other biking improvements were made.

The city earlier painted a "bike box" -- a designated spot for bicyclists to stand while waiting for a traffic light to change -- at the intersection of Ponce and West Trinity Place.

The city installed bike lanes on the section of Ponce de Leon Avenue that approaches the city from Atlanta. That required turning the street from four to two lanes.

Eventually, Thompson said, the city wants to install special bike lanes on McDonough Street between Trinity and West Howard streets. This would be a "two-way cycle track" with a curb separating the bike lanes from the street. This lane would be good for young bicyclists just starting to ride on the street, she said.

But that project would rely on federal funding that takes years to process, she said.

Anybody interested in Decatur's long-term vision for transportation should check out the Community Transportation Plan. A map of the bicycle network can be found in chapter eight.




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