Russ Roca, the photographer and bike activist who has taken the lead on promoting Long Beach’s world-class shared lane, brings us a video on people’s first reactions to the lane. For anyone that missed Friday’s story, Long Beach painted a travel lane green and installed Sharrows on 2nd Street, one of the busiest streets in the city for both bikes and cars.
Longe Beach’s sharrows policy is groundbreaking both locally and internationally. As far as I know, this is the first time that anyone, anywhere has colored a lane with Sharrows and the world is watching to see the results. An email thread of the Caltrans’ District 7 Bike Advisory Committee posits that these are the first Sharrows on public streets anywhere in Los Angeles County, although there is some question about whether or not the Sharrows on Westwood Boulevard are on the campus of UCLA.
While there has been some debate on whether or not painting a shared lane in a similar way that other cities paing bike lanes will confuse people; the early results show cyclists esctatic cyclists whizzing past parked cars well outside the door zone. Long Beach residents don’t seem confused, they seem ecstatic. Of course, there will always be some malcontents, but the early returns are happy returns.
As an Angeleno, I’m certainly jealous of Long Beach for making such a dramatic statement when Los Angeles won’t even have a plan to make a plan to install Sharrows until next year. However, the end of the video when L.B. Mobility Coordinator Charles Gandy is encouraging two young cyclists to ride in the center of the lane because "it’s the safest place to be" is such a far-cry from "ride to the right or you’ll be bug splatter" attitude at LADOT that it sort of makes me want to cry.
Roca has more videos on the Long Beach Sharrow experience at his YouTube page.