Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CTB approves new bike signage

At their December 7 meeting the Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the Virginia supplement to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). That's a mouthful; what it means is that VDOT can now use Shared Lane Markings (Sharrows), Bicycles May Use Full Lane signs, and new wayfinding signs. See our earlier post about this topic.

There are many roads where Shared Lane Markings should be used. Examples include where bike lanes end due to limited right of way: Gallows Road at I-66, Old Courthouse Road at Freedom Hill Park, and Westmoreland St leading to Kirby Rd. Other locations include along Idylwood Rd between the W&OD trail and Idyl Lane, and on many roads where cyclists ride and there is no room for bike lanes or wide outside lanes.

The wayfinding signage will help cyclists follow bike routes without having to refer to a map. The county bike map is a great resource but not very useful when out on the road. The signs include arrows and can include distance to a destination.

Bicycles May Use Full Lane signs let bicyclists, and especially motorists, know that the lane is not wide enough for bicycles and motor vehicles to share and bicyclists may ride in the center of the lane. These can be used with or without Shared Lane Markings and are especially useful where bicyclists are frequently harassed by angry motorists, such as on Idylwood Road.

We're anxious to see the first applications of these signs.

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I'm having difficulty finding the part that says sharrows can be used - can you point me to it? I found the "bikes may use full lane" sign, and a bunch of other nice things, but not sharrows.
Search for Shared Lane Markings in Chapter 9.
Follow-up question:

I'm on my town's Pedestrian and Bicycling Advisory Committee, and in a recent meeting we were informed by town engineers that VDOT regulations prohibit (and AASHTO guidelines recommend against) sharrow installation on roads with lanes less than 12 feet in width (curb to centerline).

Can anyone provide some guidance on where they're getting this? It doesn't make much sense to me, since in my mind sharrows are most helpful when used on narrower roads where there really isn't room to pass (and where pre-existing conditions make it unrealistic to think about bike lane installation).

I believe the town engineers have been misinformed. The MUTCD specifically states that Shared Lane Markings are used to: "Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane,"

I would contact your VDOT district bike coordinator and ask them. In No. VA it's Cindy Engelhart, Cindy.Engelhart@VDOT.Virginia.gov. Here's the reference from the MUTCD:

Thanks Bruce!

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