WHILE PREPARING for my driver's exam I learned about new pavement marking symbols called sharrows. These are arrows that warn motorists that bikes may share the roadway and could be present in traffic. This week I came across those freshly painted green & white markings in our neighborhood. At first I thought a sign had fallen off a truck onto the street. Although I support traffic safety it seems these markings are excessive and a waste of money, especially in quiet neighborhoods where bikes are seen only during school commute hours. Only a few parked cars are here with empty shoulder lanes, leaving lots of room for cars and bikes to pass safely.
Many of the city's major streets are already identified with signs that alert motorists that bikes might be present and it's reasonable that sharrows belong at those potentially dangerous locations. Otherwise the city is committed to spend money to pay for paint, labor and equipment necessary to maintain these wildly vivid markings.
Safety is important, but excessive pavement markings are costly to maintain compared to permanent traffic signs. Is this conspicuous identification marking a wise economic decision? Let's leave street art for our annual fair.