University Avenue will be the first place in the city of Grand Forks to have sharrows after City Council approved the bike accommodations Monday.
The sharrows, which are arrows and bike symbols painted on the street to signify cars and bikes sharing the road, will be used between UND campus to downtown.
At first, the council’s discussion leaned toward a three-to-three vote, with council member Bret Weber absent, and possibly leaving Mayor Mike Brown to make the final decision.
Council members Doug Christensen and Dana Sande said while they supported bike accommodations in Grand Forks, they were concerned that sharrows on University Avenue would encourage bike traffic on a busy - and possibly more dangerous - road.
But council member Tyrone Grandstrand called for the several bicyclists who attended the meeting to speak and say why they want sharrows on University as opposed to other roads.
The four cyclists who spoke said they’ll bike on University Avenue with or without sharrows, because it’s the fastest, most direct path between UND and downtown.
Council member Ken Vein said if the bicyclists are using University anyway, the city might as well make it safer.
Christensen and Sande ended up voting in favor of the sharrows, with Christensen’s stipulation that the sharrows on University Avenue be studied by city engineering staff for effectiveness.
“This can be our incubator,” he said. If the sharrows are effective on University, the city could start to put them elsewhere, he said.
The city’s the Greenway and Trail Users Advisory group should also be involved in studying the sharrows, Grandstrand said.