Dear City of Newport Beach,How about painting Sharrows on the stretch of Irvine Avenue in front of Newport Harbor High School from 15th St to 16th St?
A big deal? No. In fact, this could be a simple decision.
After three days of biking around San Francisco earlier this summer it was obvious that Sharrows are everywhere in San Francisco. They are found on long stretches of road, in short bursts, up hills, through busy intersections and through quiet neighborhoods. It makes one think that Sharrows in San Francisco have an expedited approval process.
The powers that be in San Francisco must “get it” — Sharrows are simply a highly visible reminder of existing vehicle law. That’s it. They give no new rights to bicyclists or take away any rights from drivers. In other words, adding Sharrows to Newport Beach streets should be the opposite of the big deal that they presently seem to be.
Sharrows on Irvine Ave. in front of NHHS make sense. Here’s why:
- It’s a residential and school area where slower, safer traffic speeds would be appreciated.
- There are two lanes of traffic in both directions. Drivers can pass on the inside lanes, if necessary.
- This stretch of Irvine Ave is a highly visible area that is used by numerous bike riders including many school aged riders.
- The “bike lane” on the west side of Irvine Ave could be eliminated. This “bike lane” is probably worse than not having one at all. Why? Because vehicles parked in it force bike riders to weave dangerously in and out of traffic.
- These Irvine Ave Sharrows could be extended both to the north (towards the Back Bay) and to the south (towards Cliff Drive) as time goes on. Maybe they would even evolve into the start of a grand Newport Beach plan to have safe bicycle routes to the beach.
In a fortuitous case of timing, this stretch of Irvine Ave was just re-paved. As of yesterday though, the various markings had not yet been re-painted. In other words, a blank canvas. While getting Sharrows approved this fast might be tough even in San Francisco, why not immediately consider stopping the re-painting of the “bike lane” on the west side? A decision on Sharrows could then be made. Hopefully, a fast decision.
Newport Beach, what do you say?