LADOT Launches Sharrows Pilot Project

Sharrows hit the ground in LA - the first of many, in December of 2009.

Sharrows hit the ground in LA - the first of many, in December of 2009.

I remember, clearly, closing my bike shop on Friday night, and then riding home in the cold, dry, darkness. The next morning my jaw hit the floor when I was riding in to work: sharrows! Was this the “pilot project” that the LADOT has been “working on” since June of 2008?

Another picture of sharrows in LA in action - kudos Mayor Villaraigoas and LADOT Bikeways staff!

Another picture of sharrows in LA in action - kudos Mayor Villaraigoas and LADOT Bikeways staff!

It was revealed in a recent LACBC bulletin, and later on the next day in a post on Streetsblog LA about the committee hearing, that LA’s “Sharrows Pilot Program” was to be “discussed” and “reported on” in an upcoming city council transportation committee hearing this coming Wednesday, December 9, 2009..

Maybe this is advance work on that program! Yippee!

Though this does seem a little strange, since in the LADOT’s report to the City Council back in 2008, Michelle Mowery stated the following:

“Bikeways staff and a volunteer summer intern, have field checked a nurnber of corridors to use in the [sharrow] pilot project. At this time between five and ten locations citywide are being considered for the before and after study…

At this tirne the Bikeways Engineering and Bicycle Outreach and Planning groups have experienced a shortage in staff to work on the pilot project. To date three staff positions are vacant in these groups, the summer intern and student professional worker have returned to school full tirne. With a lack of staffing resources the project has been stalled.”
-Michelle Mowery, LADOT Bikeways Coordinator, November 6, 2008

The City of Los Angeles hires 6 (or is it 8?) bikeways staff members with money from clean air, bicycle, pedestrian, and alternative transit funding sources. Cities like Long Beach or Hermosa Beach, both of which implemented a sharrow program during the span it took the LADOT to produce the current report have far fewer staff, and a lot less money!

The money and staff exist (it would seem), but the LADOT said it wasn’t feasible way back in 2008. I wonder what changed? I guess we’ll find out on Wednesday how the LADOT worked this tiny miracle (and finally respected Councilman Ed Reyes, of Council District 1, when he had a motion passed to do bicycle pilot projects in his district).

Whatever is going on, the paint is on the ground. and I’m happy for it. Just follow the sharrows in the road and you’ll be on your way through North East LA. This is the most inspirational thing to happen in my neighborhood (involving the government) ever! Thank you Mayor Villaraigosa and LADOT Bikeways staff!

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