Sharrows are Here: a Report from Fountain Avenue

Friday June 11th marks a new beginning: LADOT is proud to unveil the first official Sharrows within the City of Los Angeles. Stenciled chevrons with bicycles will run along the pavement on Fountain Avenue from Western Avenue to Vermont Avenue. If you’re in the area, LADOT Bike Blog highly recommends you go check them out. Take a spin down Fountain Avenue, take a position in the center of the newly installed Sharrows, and enjoy a ride without fear of being doored.

Sharrows are official and they're here for you to ride

Installation of the Sharrows began immediately after the conclusion of Bikeways’ pre-Sharrows study on Wednesday. The first site is Fountain Avenue, a mile-long stretch of 2 lane road from Vermont Avenue to Western Avenue.

Fountain & Vermont, one end of the pilot route

Before the work crews began installation of Sharrows, their locations needed to be marked on the pavement. On Thursday, LADOT Bike Blog accompanied Bikeways staff as they set down the markers for the installation.

The CAMUTCD recommends that Sharrows be placed at intervals of 250 feet from each other, but the manual also allows for exceptions to be made depending on the layout of the street. When possible, Bikeways tried to space Sharrows at 250 feet, but the many cross streets and intersections along Fountain Avenue demanded that Sharrows be more closely spaced. When blocks were too short, Bikeways staff tried to fit a Sharrow at the beginning and end of each block. The intersection space, red curbs included, was roughly the same distance between Sharrows as one end of the block to the other.

The ends of blocks allowed even spacing of Sharrows

Bikeways staff is required, per the CAMUTCD, to place new Sharrows beside car parking. Since Sharrows are meant to keep bikes out of the door zone, it wouldn’t make much sense to install a Sharrow parallel to a driveway. To make sure the Sharrows were installed correctly, pre-installation markings were set down let the work crews know where to put in new Sharrows.

Sharrows go here

On Friday, work crews laid down each stencil in Thermoplastic along the one mile route while supervised by LADOT staff.

Stencils being arranged

Thermoplastic being applied

Scattering tiny glass beads across the drying Thermoplastic to make them reflective at night

Preparing to lay down the chevrons

Fountain Avenue is a fitting place for Sharrows to begin. This stretch of road is within Council District 13, represented by Council President Eric Garcetti. It was Council Motion 08-1723, introduced by Council President Garcetti and seconded by Council Member Ed Reyes back in June of 2008, that set the Sharrow pilot project in motion. Council President Garcetti even pitched in, helping to install the new Sharrows on Fountain himself.

Council President Garcetti doing his part

LADOT Bike Blog lauds Council President Garcetti for his role in the installation of such a deserved, and long time coming, piece of bicycle infrastructure. But Sharrows weren’t the product of one single person’s efforts, so LADOT Bike Blog would also like to thank the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) and all the other bicycle advocates whose tireless work over the last five years made today possible. Check back with LADOT Bike Blog over the coming weeks, as we will be sure to keep you updated on Sharrows installation at the other 5 pilot project sites.

The first complete Sharrow

We’ll add more pictures from today to the ladotbikeblog flickr account soon.

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0 replies
  1. Joe Linton
    Joe Linton says:

    I think that “the first official Sharrows within the City of Los Angeles” were already done a few years ago on the UCLA campus – not too long after the state approved them for street use in 2005.

    It’s a good thing that these are finally being installed, but this still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, given the disgraceful delays and unjustifiable costs on this tepid pilot project.

  2. ubrayj02
    ubrayj02 says:

    Well hot damn! Paint on the ground. I’m glad that the LADOT has finally done this small thing. It is a sign that we will change this city into a bike-friendly town one small battle after another.

    Woo hoo! Go go government painted sharrows.

  3. angle
    angle says:

    1). This is a good thing.

    2). It’s a shame that there’s not more “destinations” along this mile-long route (shops, restaurants etc.).

    3). It’s odd to me that the sharrow route does not extend at least to the Sunset Boulevard bike lane (for, you know, connectivity?).

    4). I’m concerned that it will be difficult to asses their effectiveness over such a short and isolated area.

    5). I hope it doesn’t take as long to “study” them as it did to install them.

  4. Aaron
    Aaron says:

    I just spotted (and took full advantage of) some brand new sharrows on 4th Street!

    Who do I thank? This is going to make a huge difference in my commute.

  5. Vance
    Vance says:

    What was wrong with bike lanes again? I don’t trust LA motorists enough to stand within five feet of the curb, screw sharing a lane with them. The city of LA has gotten me OFF my bike.

    • ladotbikeblog
      ladotbikeblog says:

      I’m sorry to hear that, Vance. We’re not against bike lanes – in fact, the City has 180 miles of funded and built bike lanes, per the 2010 draft LA Bike Plan. Additionally, Sharrows have proven to be safe and effective in other California cities like San Francisco, Oakland, and Long Beach. Sharrows and bike lanes both have a place in Bikeways’ tool kit and we hope to use them as dictated by the individual situation of the roadway.

      • Vance
        Vance says:

        I am not familiar with Long Beach, but Oakland and SF are used to heavy pedestrian and cyclist traffic… Los Angeles motorists see them as roadblocks that are probably, though perhaps not, illegal to hit.

        To top it off, the cyclists aren’t much better when it comes to a sense of entitlement. Those rallies meant to raise awareness? They wind up going high speed through the shopping center my store is in, around blind corners, threatening people and occasionally breaking a window. The last one being mine, joyous day.

        I’ll watch the news for a while before I even become close to accepting these stupid sharrow things. I won’t be surprised if this goes very, very badly.

  6. Johnny
    Johnny says:

    Very nice work… I was wondering would anybody else like to see the four foot white road reflectors put up on bike lanes so people have an actual physical barrier with reflectors between cyclists and cars

  7. Los Angeles Fountains
    Los Angeles Fountains says:

    Wonderful paintings! That is the type of info that are supposed to be shared around the internet. Disgrace on Google for no longer positioning this submit higher! Come on over and talk over with my website . Thanks =)


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] though, the paint appeared to be flat, rather than the raised thermoplastic favored by LADOT. Then there was the usual shape of the blacked out shadows, with one showing misaligned chevrons […]

  2. […] Aside from the Sharrows installation taking place (Ed. Note: In case you missed it, Sharrows 101, Sharrows Are Here: A Report From Fountain Avenue, LADOT and BSS Intall Sharrows on Fourth Street, Sharrows: Pre-Installation Studies), we have some […]

  3. […] week, LADOT Bike Blog covered the installation of Sharrows on Fountain Avenue as part of the City’s long awaited Sharrows pilot project.  Sharrows migrated their way down […]

  4. […] Now it turns out that these guerrilla art campaigns – in conjunction with a sustained lobbying effort by the biking community — prepped the way for actual, official civic change: The LADOT has finally started to install “Sharrows,” which are an essential, although imperfect, piece of biking infrastructure. […]

  5. […] the sharrows and bike lane project aren’t really publicized by LADOT (though one of the sharrow project locations was announced after the fact) … which seems to me to be a mistake. Bike lanes just appear on streets like Myra with no […]

  6. […] first to report on the new paint was the LADOT Bike Blog who made sure not to undersell the event.  The blog opened by declaring, "Friday June […]

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