City plans sharrow markings, bike lanes in West Uintah Avenue restriping
The lane markings and sharrow imprintings described below for West Uintah have been striped in.
Nov. 9, 2017
Sharrows on West Uintah have been in the works for nearly a decade and now, with the street newly paved, they're about to become a reality.
Lane striping is scheduled before mid-November, and sometime after that (within the next few weeks - no date announced), the Colorado Springs Streets Division plans to imprint sharrow markings into the traffic lane in either direction between 19th and 30th streets and eastbound from 19th to 17th.
The recent paving of Uintah went from Mesa to 30th, funded by the city's 2C "road tax" program.
Represented by a bicycling logo in the pavement every few hundred feet, a sharrow is intended to remind motorists that under law the lanes they drive in can also be used by a cyclist. First implemented in California in 2005, they are also known as “shared lane markings” or “shared travel lanes.”
Uintah west of I-25 has historically been striped with a center line dividing traffic either way. However, bike lanes were striped in 2013 between Walnut Street and Mesa as part of a widening project; also, in 2008, city planners designated the segment from 19th to 30th for sharrows.
According to a local-government document in 2008, Uintah merited cycling attention as 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,”
Also, Uintah met the sharrow criteria, transportation officials said, as a through street that doesn't get extremely heavy traffic, lacks markings for cyclists and lacks room for dedicated bike lanes.
Still, the news of Uintah's imminent sharrow-imprinting was not happily received by members of two Westside advocacy groups - Linda Schlarb of the Organization of Westside Neighbors and Welling Clark of the Alliance of the Historic Westside. In an e-mail exchange, they made
Clark has previously asserted that putting markings like sharrows on well-traveled streets only encourages more cyclists to use them, which he believes is unsafe. He has compared such cycling practices to “swimming with the sharks.”
There is precedent for Westside sharrow unease. In 2011, when it was discovered that the city intended to imprint such markings the entire length of West Colorado Avenue - without a public process - there was enough of a backlash that the plans were abandoned.
Asked about the current lack of public outreach on Uintah, Kim Melchor of City Communications said her understanding was that the decade-old Uintah sharrows plan was already well known. Also, “because this project only involves adding standard bike lanes and sharrows, but does not reduce the number of travel lanes or available parking, public input is not required,” she wrote in an e-mail. “Motorists are familiar with this type of bike infrastructure therefore, they don't require any specific public safety messaging on their use.”
The city's restriping plans also call for bike lanes on Uintah in both directions between Mesa and 19th (except for the sharrows between 17th and 19th, as noted above, because of the tight space going past King Soopers).
As recently as two years ago, City Engineering had estimated the Uintah sharrow cost at up to $150,000. However, because the imprinting and any related signage will be part of the overall 2C program, no specific cost has been broken out for that alone.
Westside Pioneer article