Sharrows: Can’t we all just ride along same lanes?

A bicyclist yesterday rode in a sharrow on South 15th Street.

There’s now one more reason for motorists and cyclists in Center City to share the road peacefully: new sharrow lanes.

A sharrow is a shared lane marking for bikes and automobiles. It looks like a bike lane symbol with two arrows above it — a concept used on streets that are too narrow or too congested for dedicated bike lanes. The tool has been used in cities such as San Francisco, Portland and New York City, and one was recently installed on South 15th Street between Penn Square and Washington Avenue.

City transportation officials said others have been installed or will soon pop up on Christian Street in South Philadelphia and Main Street in Manayunk. It is part of the city’s plan to extend the bike network to cover 300 miles.

“The purpose of those is to direct cyclists to just use that one lane and to alert motorists that they should expect to see cyclists in that lane,” said Andrew Stober, from the city’s Office of Transportation.

The sharrows are on the left side of the street, typically four feet from parked cars to maximize visibility for drivers and cyclists.

How’s ride in bike lanes?

Stober said officials are still studying the effects of pilot bike lanes on 10th and 13th streets in Center City before issuing a final report.

The lanes could become the first north-south paths dedicated strictly to cyclists. They will be extended north to Spring Garden Street next month, Stober said, following the completion of road work by PennDOT. 


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