Saturday, April 19, 2014

Super Sharrows Coming to Second Street

In the early years of this millennium the San Francisco MTA invented a new type of bike symbol: The sharrow.  It sounds simple, but it was a major task to do the research and experiments to see if these things actually did any good and then to take the documentation to the U.S. Traffic Symbol Gods. Eventually sharrows were officially blessed, and many have been painted to designate bicycle routes that can't—or don't yet—have dedicated bike lanes or cycle tracks. Second Street was actually a pilot route in this early research, which can be seen in the few faded sharrows still visible on some blocks.

A wild super sharrow in San Francisco.

More recently in collaboration with the national Green Lane Project (, the next generation was rolled out. Introducing the super sharrow, which adds a beautiful rectangle of reflective safety green paint underneath the iconic symbol. These are highly visible and quite effective in getting motorists to be more mindful of bicycles.The SFMTA recently added super sharrows down the length of Market Street at about 60-foot intervals. They help by reminding motorists to respect the vulnerable road user and that—most importantly—bikes belong.

An aerial view of what super sharrows would look like on Second Street if installed the same way as they currently appear on Market Street in downtown San Francisco.

At the urging of Supervisor Jane Kim, the SFMTA has committed to adding super sharrows to Second Street as an interim step toward final safety improvements. The installation date has yet to be determined.

Another view of Second Street with a super sharrow layout similar to those recently added to Market Street.

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