Four Westside locations ID’d for sharrows in 2011

       Four Westside locations are on a proposed, current-year, citywide list of 18 sites for sharrows and/or bike lanes.
       Kristin Bennett, a city transportation planner whose duties include bicycle issues, presented these recommendations to the Bikeway Advisory Committee (BAC) at its meeting June 28. Her document is titled “2011 Shared Lane Markings - Staff Proposed Locations.”

The right-turn lane from southbound 21st Street onto Argus Boulevard by Bear Creek Park is shown with the existing right arrow, plus a through-traffic arrow and dashed markings that do not exist yet. The through-traffic arrow and dashed markings were overlaid on the picture by city bicycle planner Kristin Bennett to illustrate her proposed street marking change in which part of the right-turn lane would be reserved for bicyclists continuing south on 21st.
Courtesy of Kristin Bennett

       She told the BAC that in narrowing down sites she was looking for streeets without heavy traffic that appeared to have directional gaps for cyclists.
       Sharrows are markings imprinted on the pavement that recommend where cyclists can position themselves in traffic lanes. They are different from dedicated bike lanes, which indicate where only bikes can go.
       The committee did not vote on Bennett's document, but its chair, Jim Ramsey, described it as a “pretty good list of low-volume routes.” The committee provides recommendations to the Citizens Transportation Advisory Board; both are advisory to City Council.
       Three of the four Westside sites involve 21st Street - northbound and southbound between Bott Avenue and Lower Gold Camp Road (sharrow markings), at a northbound/ southbound gap on 21st where it passes Rio Grande Street (sharrows) and at 21st's right-turn lane onto Argus Boulevard.
       The Argus right-turn lane would be shared with bicyclists going straight, according to Bennett's plan. Asked if this might not lead to a possible “road rage” conflict with motorists, Bennett said she couldn't comment on the “rage” concern, but to date staff has “installed these shared right-turn lanes with through bike lane sections on lower-to-moderate-volume right-turn lanes so potential conflicts are lower.”
       She added that, “as staff proceeds with considering these at additional intersections to address bicycle-lane gaps, staff can also look at turning movement counts to assess how heavy the use of a right-turn lane is. [If a] right turn lane accommodates very heavy right-turn movements, we could alternatively use a shared lane marking [sharrow] in the additional travel lane.”
       The list's fourth Westside sharrow location is Uintah Street. Planned with 80 percent federal funds (20 percent local), the estimated $110,000 project has been in the works since 2008 - starting with a request from the bicycling community - and is currently in the design stage, Bennett told the committee. The cost will cover the imprinting of bike lanes between I-25 and 20th Street and shared lane markings between 20th and 30th streets.
       Sharrows are proposed for 20th to 30th, because there isn't room for dedicated bike lanes along that segment, Bennett said. Also, the traffic volumes are less west of 20th: Uintah carries 20,000 to 30,000 vehicles a day between 21st and I-25 and only 6,500 from 20th to 30th, the '08 description states.
       Also in that description is the explanation that the Uintah bike lanes/sharrows are needed because the street “is an important east-west arterial street connecting the west side of the city with the central part near the north end of the Colorado College campus.”
       Two Westside locations that were proposed for sharrow placements this spring - on West Colorado Avenue and on 30th Street past the Garden of the Gods - are not included in Bennett's list. Both of those proposals have met with concerns from some Westsiders. The Colorado Avenue plan was specifically put on hold this month by recently appointed Mayor's Chief of Staff Steve Cox, who said he wants to see a greater sense of community support.

Westside Pioneer article