I’m afraid my post this morning about the newly green painted lanes on SW Stark and Oak is a bit misleading. The images show just one block face of SW Stark that has a lot of right turns, and the people driving upon the green lanes in the images are preparing to turn right. Like I said, while many of them take liberties with the law and drive in the green lane the entire block, most people do what they should do: merge over onto the green just prior to the turn.
So, why am I doing another post and sharing more photos? Because I want it to be clear that I think the new and improved bike lanes on Stark and Oak are excellent. Even without any physical separation, because they have been made extra-wide (eight feet) and because the new paint is so highly visible (at least so far), the impact on behavior is already noticeable. From what I can tell and from what I’ve heard from others, it is already working very well.
I have been amazed how few people drive on the lanes now that they are fully green. And even Joel Metz, a local bike courier who rides them all the time has noticed a difference. “I rarely see cars on them with the new paint,” he said to me just a few minutes ago. Then he added, “They’re huge!” (as in, the lanes are wide).
Here are more images showing how people in cars seem to be steering clear of them…
This project is likely going to be an important test of how much we can accomplish with paint alone. If PBOT is able to create separation between people on bikes and in cars strictly through visual treatments, they will have done something that requires far less investment and political risk than curbs, bollards, or other types of physical barriers. Of course, if the green is all you’ve got, it must be maintained and it must remain vivid and highly visible or it will lose it’s power.
It will take more time and analysis to determine if these lanes are working. But so far, so good.