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View Full Version : Bike Sharrows and Not On North George Mason



fongfong
01-26-2012, 01:12 PM
Can someone provide information on why the recently repaved portions of N George Mason have sharrows beyond the hospital heading toward Lee Highway, but the bike lane ends abruptly with no sharrows as it crosses 66 heading that direction. This is a signed bike route, although there is only one small tilted sign that signifies this, based on the most recent Arlington Bike Map. Seems like a huge gap for anyone seeking an alternative from Ballston to Chain Bridge from Glebe Road. Any way to get some action from the county on this?

chris_s
01-26-2012, 01:50 PM
The Master Transportation plan calls for bike lanes or sharrows on George Mason Dr from Fairfax Dr to Lee Highway - I suspect they are just adding them as the various portions of GMD are up for repaving. So, basically, I believe the answer is "it's a work in progress" but someone more in-the-know can probably chime in and tell you for sure.

fongfong
01-28-2012, 05:44 PM
Chris, Is there anybody from the County I can annoy to find out when this is scheduled?

Tim Kelley
01-30-2012, 10:49 AM
From a county engineer on this topic:

"Yep, we're doing it as we pave. I can try to fill in sections between there, but those come after paving projects in the priority list every year during marking season. I think the next sections we will get are from the hospital to Washington Blvd and maybe from Washington to Wilson, but it'll depend on what the markings workload is like next season."

Marcella
01-30-2012, 12:52 PM
From a county engineer on this topic:

"Yep, we're doing it as we pave. I can try to fill in sections between there, but those come after paving projects in the priority list every year during marking season. I think the next sections we will get are from the hospital to Washington Blvd and maybe from Washington to Wilson, but it'll depend on what the markings workload is like next season."

Is there a reason why some sharrows in Arlington are in the middle of the lane and others are along the right side? I think the ones on the right reinforce the notion that cyclists should hug the curb, which encourages drivers to pass dangerously close.

vvill
01-30-2012, 01:07 PM
Is there a reason why some sharrows in Arlington are in the middle of the lane and others are along the right side? I think the ones on the right reinforce the notion that cyclists should hug the curb, which encourages drivers to pass dangerously close.

Yeah I noticed that too yesterday; I rode George Mason (both ways) from Yorktown down to Wilson Blvd. A few uncomfortable passes from cars, even on a Sunday afternoon.

Tim Kelley
01-30-2012, 01:34 PM
Further clarification:

"The only sharrows that should be installed on the right side of the lane are the first installations in the county - we were using an older standard out of California back then. Those locations are N Harrison St north of Lee Hwy and George Mason Drive between Wilson and I-66. There is one additional location - N Quincy St just north of Washington Blvd - where the sharrow location is offset to the right to point the cyclist into the bike lane. Other than that (off the top of my head), if they are not marked in the center of the lane then they were installed in error."

Marcella
01-30-2012, 01:51 PM
Further clarification:

"The only sharrows that should be installed on the right side of the lane are the first installations in the county - we were using an older standard out of California back then. Those locations are N Harrison St north of Lee Hwy and George Mason Drive between Wilson and I-66. There is one additional location - N Quincy St just north of Washington Blvd - where the sharrow location is offset to the right to point the cyclist into the bike lane. Other than that (off the top of my head), if they are not marked in the center of the lane then they were installed in error."

Southbound Walter Reed Dr south of Four Mile Run. I'm pretty sure those sharrows are over to the right.

chris_s
01-31-2012, 10:06 AM
Southbound Walter Reed Dr south of Four Mile Run. I'm pretty sure those sharrows are over to the right.

Yep, the sharrows South of Four Mile Run Dr (after the brief bike lane) are also installed right up next to the curb.

fongfong
02-01-2012, 11:03 AM
Thanks Admin for contacting the engineer. But while honest, his response suggested he really has no actual plan on when this might occur. I must say also, I don't really understand the connection between repaving operations and painting operations. And if the two are connected, this suggests there will never be the proper painting done of this stretch, since there will be no repaving. Can we ask again for a schedule? Or, even better, provide an email where we can actually ask a real person about the the plan? Once we hear that, we can then take that up the food chain and perhaps have others made aware of the need for better markings. I certainly respect there is an order for things getting done, but I'm also well aware that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. (that's a pun since this is a bike related forum, hah)

Re sharrow locations. At least on the G Mason stretch, the sharrrows are accompanied by a sign that says Bike May Use Full Lane. Clearly, that would mean the sharrows should be painted in the middle of the lane. Sharrows indicate sharing of lanes, so it would seem fairly apparent where the painting should take place.

Tim Kelley
02-01-2012, 04:17 PM
Thanks Admin for contacting the engineer. But while honest, his response suggested he really has no actual plan on when this might occur. I must say also, I don't really understand the connection between repaving operations and painting operations. And if the two are connected, this suggests there will never be the proper painting done of this stretch, since there will be no repaving. Can we ask again for a schedule? Or, even better, provide an email where we can actually ask a real person about the the plan? Once we hear that, we can then take that up the food chain and perhaps have others made aware of the need for better markings. I certainly respect there is an order for things getting done, but I'm also well aware that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. (that's a pun since this is a bike related forum, hah)

Re sharrow locations. At least on the G Mason stretch, the sharrrows are accompanied by a sign that says Bike May Use Full Lane. Clearly, that would mean the sharrows should be painted in the middle of the lane. Sharrows indicate sharing of lanes, so it would seem fairly apparent where the painting should take place.

I passed along your message, and received a very thoughtful response:

We don't have a schedule, at least in terms of dates and times. We have priorities in mind for adding bicycle facilities which coincide with the AC bike map and the bicycle element of the Master Transportation Plan, and as we identify opportunities out on the roadways we install these facilities where we have the resources to do so. The reason that paving is so important to the process is that marking blank asphalt has to be our highest priority. The same engineering design team that designs cycling facilities also designs most of the other pavement markings in the County. We spend a considerable amount of our time each year designing sign and pavement marking plans for roadways that will be paved that season. Because we have to design those plans whether or not they are marked bike routes, we use those opportunities to improve cycling facilities. After we've completed design efforts on paving corridors we focus on other locations for a host of reasons, one of which is improved cycling facilities.

To connect George Mason Drive north to south with some kind of cycling facilities is a priority, especially considering the importance of north-south cycling routes in Arlington. We hope to accomplish that soon, but the timing can't be guaranteed right now.

If you'd like to talk further feel free to email me - dkirschner@arlingtonva.us

DismalScientist
02-01-2012, 04:54 PM
On a related note, are lanes marked with sharrows wider than standard lanes? Going south on George Mason from Washington, the usually empty parking lane disappears and for awhile George Mason has only two standard-sized lanes? Is that suitable for sharrow treatment?

Tim Kelley
02-02-2012, 10:38 AM
On a related note, are lanes marked with sharrows wider than standard lanes? Going south on George Mason from Washington, the usually empty parking lane disappears and for awhile George Mason has only two standard-sized lanes? Is that suitable for sharrow treatment?

"Lanes marked with sharrows can be of varying width. If the sharrow lane is wider than 14 feet, it's accepted practice to offset the sharrow to the right to indicate that the lane is considered wide enough to share side-by-side. If the lane is narrower than 14 feet, the lane is not wide enough to share side-by-side. In that case it's Arlington's standard practice to mark the sharrow in the center of the lane so as not to encourage motor vehicles to be side-by-side with bikes in a space too narrow to do so safely. The motor vehicle should use the adjacent lane to pass in that scenario. We have relatively few locations in Arlington with wide lanes so most of our sharrow installations are be in standard-sized lanes (11-12 ft). They are definitely suitable for sharrow treatment."