An Open Letter To LADOT – The Importance of Being SafeJune 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Bike News | 8 Comments
Tags: 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard, Fountain Ave, LADOT, Rita Robinson, sharrows
LACBC sent this letter to Rita Robinson, LADOT’s General Manager, to continue to stress that LADOT needs to implement correct placement of a bicycle facility, in this case sharrows, to ensure the safety of cyclists.
LA Department of Transportation, General Manager
100 S. Main Street, 10th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dear General Manager Rita Robinson,
We would first off like to thank you for installing LA’s first ever sharrows on our city streets. I know this has been a long process and we are encouraged that LADOT has been making some progress on improving our streets for cyclists.
In an effort to continue moving forward, I’d like to take this opportunity to look at what revisions can be made on the sharrow study and sharrow placement to ensure the safety of cyclists. As this is a study, this offers LADOT, street by street, the perfect opportunity to examine what is working and what is not working to encourage best practices for future sharrows placement on our streets.
On examining the sharrows already placed on Fountain and on 4th street, it is apparent that some issues need to be addressed:
- When placing the sharrow, each street layout needs to be considered carefully in order that the sharrows are consistent with the goals of ensuring safe and proper lane placement for the cyclist and to avoid the door zone.
- The width of each travel lane, variation of street width, number of lanes, the presence of double yellow center lines or dashed center lines, and whether or not there is any center line striping at all are important elements that must be examined when considering proper sharrows placement.
- Sharrows need to be placed in such a way that cyclists can maintain a reasonably straight line of travel, otherwise cyclists are being encouraged to weave in the lane, creating hazardous conditions both for the cyclist and the motorist.
- According to CA MUTCD code, sharrows must be painted immediately after every intersection. This has not been done on Fountain. Instead, many of the sharrows are placed after red curb zones have ended, often far from the intersection.
- Sharrow placement needs to take into consideration right/left turn lanes and position a cyclist in the through lane at all times.
- If a lane is too narrow for both a motorist and cyclist to safely share the lane, sharrows must be placed in such a way that the cyclist is in the safest place possible – the center of the lane.
We would also like to see LADOT make the process, criteria and calculations used to come up with the placement on the current study corridors public. Transparency is essential in creating trust between the city agencies and the cycling community.
We hope that we can continue to work collaboratively on making sure that cyclists’ safety concerns are recognized and accounted for in the planning and engineering of bicycle facilities. This is a first step in the right direction and I am anticipating that we will be seeing much improvement from the initial placement of sharrows on Fountain and 4th Street.
Campaign and Communications Director
Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition