About the shared-lane markings on Brighton Avenue…

I’m commenting here on the November 20, 2013 Boston Globe/boston.com article about “shared lane markings on steroids” on Brighton Avenue in the Allston section of Boston, as shown in this Boston Globe photo:

Shared-lane marking betwene dashed lines on Brighton Avenue

Shared-lane marking between dashed lines on Brighton Avenue. Boston Globe photo: fair use, as commentary.

The article is here: http://www.boston.com/news/local/blogs/starts-and-stops/2013/11/20/boston-bikes-debuts-sharrows-steroids/PXrtrx9c1YO6T0JOCn3vFJ/blog.html

I have known Brighton Avenue for decades now as a cyclist, motorist and pedestrian. Also, I am a member of the Bicycle Technical Committee of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which reviewed and approved the experiment being conducted on Brighton Avenue. The opinions I state here are my own.

There’s a backstory to this installation. Brighton Avenue had wide roadways and a narrow median till approximately 1999. It was possible for motorists safely to overtake bicyclists in the right-hand lane. Then the old Green Line Watertown Square branch tracks were removed and a wider, landscaped median was installed. Details are here:

http://bikexprt.com/massfacil/boston/brightonav.htm

The boston.com article states:

In coming months, Boston Bikes staff will take a census of how many cyclists use that stretch of road to determine whether the “sharrows on steroids” increase ridership. Next spring, they will paint the area between the dashed lines lime green, and conduct another ridership survey.

Freedman’s office will report their findings to the federal government.

Those sentences convey only one goal of the experiment which is being conducted. Its main purpose is much broader, to determine the effect of the markings on cyclists’ and motorists’ behavior. Will it induce cyclists to ride in the middle of the right lane, safely away from car-door openings and other road-edge hazards? Will it induce motorists to merge left and overtake correctly in the next lane? More detail about the project may be found here, from BostonBikes:

http://www.bostonbikes.org/2013/01/brighton-ave-to-get-priority-treatment/

Money quote from that article:

“It was determined that to install a standard bicycle lane would require the removal of the median, a project estimated to cost upwards of $4 millon, and would take years to implement.”

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One Response to About the shared-lane markings on Brighton Avenue…

  1. TurkeyWatch says:

    I really like the “railroad tracks” markings. There are some on Washington St. in Brookline where the road is narrow and I think they’re very instructional in terms of learning to judge your distance from parked cars while keeping your eyes ahead. Hard to say how they’ll influence cyclist counts, but it seems like this would now be an ideal location for at-the-curb education about the door zone!

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