Good news: Portland’s bike-friendly neighborhood greenways are getting high priority from Mayor Hales’s pledge for the city to invest more in preventative street maintenance.
Bad news: The new, relatively low-cost ‘fog seal’ treatment, a thin coating meant to stop pavement disintegration, also coats right over the sharrow markings that distinguish greenways.
In the last few days, we’ve heard many reports of what reader Jenny Fosmire called “ghost sharrows” like the one in the photo above. It definitely makes it hard for the thermoplastic icons to do their job: indicating to all road users which streets have been designed for relaxed bike travel and hinting proper lane position for bike riders.
City spokesman Dylan Rivera said Thursday that the paving has created “about 100 sharrows that need to be replaced.” Rivera added that crews initially covered some sharrows during the fog seal application in order to keep them from being sprayed over; but they ultimately decided to spray over them, “to give a more finished, uniform appearance and better preserve the road surface.”
Rivera says PBOT has plans in place to replace all the ghost sharrows, “by the end of September, weather permitting.”
The timing might be unfortunate, since September is back-to-school season and an important month in Portland for introducing new people to bike commuting. But of course it’s good that the city is making these repairs to streets that are, after all, saving everyone money by putting more Portlanders on bikes.
By email, in person and on Twitter, readers reported missing sharrows at SE 41st and Stark, NE Going Street, SE 35th and Taylor and NE Klickitat from 57th to 68th. We’re looking forward to their return, and we’re sure that many would-be bike users are, too.