Let’s Name the Long Beach Shared Lanes

The new Sharrowed and painted travel lanes in Long Beach have caused quite a stir; but the relatively new concept of painting a shared-lane has yet to draw a catchy adn easy-to-use name.  Since Streetsbloggers are nothing if not inventive, I was thinking that we could do our part by coming up with the best name for a travel lane marked with Sharrows and green paint as seen in the above picture.

Over the weekend I received an email from Northeastern University Professor Peter Furth who suggested calling them a "Bicycle Priority Lane."  Furth expains his naming idea,

It’s like a priority seat on a bus:  cars can use it if there’s no bike there, but if there’s a bike, it’s a bike lane

If you have a better suggestion, feel free to leave it in the comments section below.

  • It is certainly not a bicycle priority lane. Cars can still use it even when there is a bike in it. Let’s call it a Human Priority Lane. Its mainly for humans – like most roadways in the world, it was designed for people, not bikes or cars or rollerblades. Roads are for people, not just people in cars.

  • i like the idea of a play on words from the parent word, sharrow:

    painted. priority. enhanced. green.


    i’ll keep thinking.

    but greenows is pretty jaunty.

  • DJB

    It may seem kind of basic, but I like the idea of calling them “green lanes” to tie into the obvious pun of “green” the color and “green” the adjective meaning good for the environment. Green also symbolizes “go” in a road, perhaps subconsciously encouraging cyclists to take the lane.

    Green lanes make room for multiple modes of transportation. Having a transportation system based on multiple modes is better for the environment than exclusive automobile dependence. Also, “green lane” doesn’t sound as wonky as “sharrow”.

  • stats dude

    I think DJB is on to something. I am old enough to remember carpool lanes were referred to as diamond lanes.

    Green lane is easy on the tongue, has subliminal references to enviro stewardship.

  • How about:

    poverty paths
    hobo lanes
    hippie streaks

    This bicycle stuff is clogging up my high speed commute in my private automobile! This is un-american!

  • JRider



  • Infamousme

    I like “The Splatter Zone”.

    Its probably just me but I’d be scared to ride in the lane knowing how lame most California drivers are.

  • ScottBruin

    I’m not a fan of the green, so would hate to see the green become part of its name. The Copenhagen blue is much more pleasant: http://www.copenhagenize.com/2009/07/copenhagen-bike-life-while_11.html

    It also seems less divisive than the green to me.

  • How about: Bike Ribbon?

  • Peter

    Sorry, I’m not feeling creative. After seeing the picture, all I can think about is how old Robin Williams has gotten…

  • Kulkarni

    1. Seems like the green is hit or miss with the readers
    2. Everyone wants a catchy name akin to Diamond Lanes

    So how about Arrow Lanes?

  • Tyler

    Well I was driving on these lanes the other day and I realized that the symbol of two arrows and a bicycle paired with the green looks like an army uniform sleeve. So I propose calling these lanes “Corporal Bicycle.” Too bad we didn’t get officer level bike lanes here in Long Beach.

  • JR

    Pedal Paths

    Two By Fours

    (on account of the two wheeler lane next to the four wheeler lane)

    Oregon Trails

    (wasn’t Portland the first to come up with the green bike lanes?)

  • ScottBruin

    > Umberto Brayj

    >How about: Bike Ribbon?

    I love it! It leaves the color ambiguous and describes what it is pretty well. Also, manifest in the idea of a ribbon is that it can be tied or woven into something. Ribbons are generally brightly colored, as these special road treatments should be.

    I think “sharrow lane” is what it really is, but the term sharrow is something I think that should be left to the cycling advocates and shouldn’t come into everyday usage. Look at it–“sharrow”–it’s just kind of confusing really, and it doesn’t mention bikes. Maybe we should begin reffering to bike lanes as “shanes”?

  • I say, *Bike Zone*.

    Not ’cause it’s for bikes only, yet because it needs a fairly forceful name to remind cars that bikes exist in the first place. ; ]

    Like a roadside sign could say:

    (((*Bike ZONE* )))

    with an underlying smaller print –
    (another mixed use initiative – or some such conciliatory verbiage.)

  • ingrid


  • BR

    We’re trying to play with the word “bike” a lot, but in order to get drivers invested in the idea, I think we’ve got to make the term more inclusive and not divisive.

    “Ribbons” is a great way to tie (gu dunk chhh) things together, but I think adding “Bike” to the front alienates drivers and will only make them feel that the state is pandering to the liberal agenda.

    Like ScottBruin said above, “sharrows” is not a term that intuitively describes the lanes. Sharrows? Sharing? Narrow? Sparrows? It’s ambiguous.

    I think “green lane” (I like this, too) terminology should revolve around the idea of bikes and cars not as separate but equal, but of sharing, mixing, collaborating, going in the same direction, simultaneously, together. “Human Priority Lane” gets at this idea, it’s far too hippy-dippy. We are not yet in the Age of Aquarius.

  • bikerider

    Hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but what exactly is the point of this facility?

    The roadway has sufficient room for a standard Class II bike LANE, and the traffic volumes seem low enough that the lane “reduction” would not have significant impact on automobile traffic.

    So, here are my suggestions for a name:

    Half-assed bike lane
    Bike low-priority lane
    Greenwashing lane

    BTW, a class II bike lane is also (by definition) a bike “priority” lane — since cars do get to use it too when making right turns.

  • Spokker

    Why does slowing down cars give people a stiffy here? It’s quite amazing.

    I know what the law says, but cars and bicycles sharing the road is fundamentally flawed and I don’t know why any so-called cyclist would want to be a part of it. It’s like putting 220 MPH bullet trains and freight trains on the same track and expecting them to play nice. It doesn’t make any sense.

    Even if all drivers attempted to drive completely safe, there would still be accidents because human beings are fallible. When there is an accident between a car and a bike, the bike rider is way more likely to suffer a major injury or death.

    And yes, there is something to be said for cyclists slowing down the road. Why have a 40 MPH street if cyclists are going to slow everybody down? Why do *you* want cars to pass you at 40 MPH?

    But okay, we have this weird system in place where cyclists and big hulkng cars share the road. That’s why it’s even more amazing is that cyclists must follow the rules of the road, but unlike licensed drivers they don’t have to take any tests to prove they are road worthy. There is no reason not to support fee-less licensing and registration for serious bike riders. This would make streets safer for *everyone*.

    Dedicated bike lines should be the bare minimum in an ideal world. I support high tax rates and spending big bucks to improve the cycling experience in Los Angeles (as well as mass transit and the usual crap). But roads are NOT for “humans,” as some idealists are to believe. They are for cars, and I’m not sure why you want to play in the street.

  • David Galvan

    Spokker, and what about motorcycles? They are just as vulnerable as cyclists. Do they also not belong on the road? And what about huge buses or semi-trailer-trucks. They have much more mass than your average car, putting car drivers at higher risk. Do they also not belong on the road because “roads are for cars”? Or perhaps car drivers should yield their right to use the road to those more massive vehicles.. . I mean, why would car drivers WANT to be on the road with such behemoths?

    Come on now. There is a wide spectrum of vehicle types that share the roadway, varying in speed and mass. We can’t afford to build separated networks for every type of conveyance. Bikes should not be ridden on the sidewalk, they should be ridden on the road. Cyclists should make an effort to minimize their impact on car traffic by taking routes with less car traffic (out of courtesy AND safety-minded self interest), but if I’m cycling on a street with 2 lanes in the same direction and it would be unsafe for me to ride so far to the right that I’m in the door zone or rolling over hazardous material on the ground, I have no qualms about taking the lane. Bike lanes like the one mentioned in this post are a good thing simply because they raise car-drivers’ awareness that cyclists have a right to be on the road, and their rights should be respected.

    I’d be all for your idea of a no-fee licensing program for cyclists. But I don’t think any governments are going to pony up for a Department of Non-motor Vehicles any time soon. I’d have no problem with a fee-based program, as well, if only to teach cyclists the rules of the road as applied to them.

  • Spokker

    “Spokker, and what about motorcycles? They are just as vulnerable as cyclists. Do they also not belong on the road?”

    Yes, and most people would agree as motorcycles are very much in the minority. Very few people want to ride motorcycles despite their fuel economy and ability to be used in the carpool lane. The same principle applies to bikes.

    “And what about huge buses or semi-trailer-trucks”

    I like seeing bus lanes and truck lanes where ever possible. In fact, I’d like to see more freight shipped by rail by improving our freight rail lines. That might reduce the number of trucks on the road, trucks that wear out the roadway more than any Civic does.

    “We can’t afford to build separated networks for every type of conveyance. ”

    True, but we can build lanes for different types of traffic and only mix them when it’s absolutely necessary. If we couldn’t do this, why do we keep pushing for more bike lanes and bus lanes? Dedicated lanes seems to be very popular here.

  • Spokker

    Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of these green sharrows. They really stress the point of existing laws. If I’m in a car and behind a cyclist, I’m just going to go with the flow, not honk or scream at them.

    But when it comes to myself getting on a bike, I’m not going to ride in the street, sharrow or not. It’s just not a risk I’m willing to take.

  • DJB

    I don’t know if you’re familiar with Belmont Shore or not, but I think it’s a place where the policy makes particularly good sense. There are a ton of traffic lights close together and traffic is always jammed, making it easy for bikes to keep pace with the regular flow of traffic.

    I rode these lanes myself and found that the cyclists who seemed to be in biggest danger where those who were trying to stay to the right of the lane, thus encouraging cars to pass them when there was really no room for the cars to pass.

    Since the sidewalks are jammed with pedestrians, I would actually argue it’s the safest way to ride down that particular stretch of 2nd St.


  • Gary

    Getting back to the topic of naming this lane . . .

    Professor Furth’s “Bicycle Priority Lane” seems fine when there are two or more travel lanes in each direction. And I do like very much the analogy made with priority seating in buses and trains.

    However, I fear that the term will not be well received very well and may be resisted by non-bicycling motorists on roadways with only one lane in each direction. I can easily imagine it being argued that bicycles should not be given priority as motor traffic predominates.

    “Bicycle Guidance Lane” is the best I can think of so far.

    Its primary function is to guide bicyclists to ride in the safest part of the road. I think most motorists would be able to understand this (at least those who don’t believe the bicyclists don’t belong on the road at all) and it doesn’t make them feel that they are second-class users of the road by stating the bicyclists have priority. Indeed, whoever is in front has priority, whether it is a bike or a car or a horse-drawn carriage. So in that sense “Bicycle Priority Lane” is not accurate because a bicycle does not have priority over a car that is in front of the bicyclists.

    Referring to the lane by its color would not allow the name to be applied to similar lanes using different colors (such as the blue used in Salt Lake City)) or to Professor Furth’s design to use dotted lines to indicate the lane rather than color (less expensive and more visible at night).

    Also, many states now have a minimum three-foot passing law. So the Bicycle Guidance Lane helps motorists observe the law by eliminating the possibility of trying to squeeze by a bicyclists riding all the way to the right of a narrow lane.

    So “Bicycle Guidance Lane” is my proposal until something better comes along.

    — Gary

  • Don’t live in Long Beach

    How about

    “biggest bottleneck in the world” or,

    “Lets cause traffic to slow to a crawl” (it’s fun)or

    “Cars find another way through 2nd Street.

    Most bicyclests are idiots.

  • Spokker

    Looks like the cars slow down traffic to a crawl, not the cyclists.


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