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First Hill Streetcar plans have some bike lanes on Jackson, lots of sharrows

SDOT held an open house in the International District today to show plans for the Jackson corridor of the First Hill Streetcar. Plans include some sections with bike lanes and lots with sharrows.

For a couple sections where there are 14′ of space for the travel lanes (too skinny for both a traffic lane and a bike lane), SDOT is looking into “advisory” bike lanes. These would basically be a dotted bike lane on the left part of the shared traffic lane suggesting that bikers ride there and alerting cars to their presence. Riders would be urged to ride in the left part of the lane because of the frequent bus stops serving the street.

Ethan Melone, Rail Transit Manager for SDOT, described them as a step up from sharrows, but a step down from a bike lane. Currently, Jackson is four lanes of traffic with few bike markings, if any.


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Here’s the video overview of the Jackson configuration proposal (Note: the advisory bike lanes are not yet included).

And a concept image slideshow:


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3 responses to “First Hill Streetcar plans have some bike lanes on Jackson, lots of sharrows”

  1. Adam Parast

    I saw advisory bike lanes used extensively in Brussels and I have to say I really like them, especially when shallows are the only other alternative and your ROW is just a few feet too narrow to have a full 12ft lane (which in my opinion is too wide for urban streets but is another story). I think they are good because rather than delineating a space on the roadway that bikes can use, they allows cars to use a space delineated for bikes. Bikes own the space not cars.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      That’s a good point. I’m imagining a situation where a bus is stopped ahead, I am in the advisory lane and a car is to my right. Will the car try to pass the bus, cutting into my lane or will the car see the lane as space reserved for bicycles and allow me to pass first? Would there need to be signs leading up to every bus stop alerting driver to allow bicycles to pass before passing busses?

      I am intrigued by the idea of riding in the left. I would feel better there, but would the beginning cyclist feel safe there? Especially after they were just on the Broadway (and Yesler?) cycle track, riding between a streetcar and car traffic might not be the safest-feeling place to be. But safe-feeling is not the most important factor, of course.

      Do you remember how they worked with busses in Brussels?

      1. Adam Parast

        Hmm do you mean the car would be on your left? The european advisory bike lanes I have seen are always on the far right of the travel lane.

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregraisman/3559484767/in/photostream/
        or
        http://bikeportland.org/2009/10/21/bikeway-design-focus-advisory-bike-lanes/

        I have seen some photos that adapt sharrows with dashed lane markings 20 or so feet before and after the sharrow. I think of those are more of improved sharrows, not advisory bike lanes. Those tend to be in the middle of the lane.

        Either way I think you would solve the situation in the same way you would if there is a bike lane, which doesn’t really work to well either.

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