Grand Forks council members debate bike markings
While Grand Forks city staff recommended "sharrows" to accommodate bicyclists on University Avenue between the UND campus and downtown, members of the City Council's Service/Safety Committee weren't sure.
While Grand Forks city staff recommended “sharrows” to accommodate bicyclists on University Avenue between the UND campus and downtown, members of the City Council’s Service/Safety Committee weren’t sure.
The sharrows, or arrows with bikes painted on side of the street every couple of hundred feet, would be in place of actual bike paths marked by a continuous stripe painted on the side of the street, said Al Grasser, city engineer.
“I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer on paths and sharrows,” Grasser said, but the engineering staff recommended sharrows because they’re less expensive and would seem to provide more flexibility for bicyclists on the road.
Bike lanes would also likely narrow the driving lane of the road more than sharrows would, Grasser said.
Council member Tyrone Grandstrand said he believes University Avenue should be made more bike-friendly, but wasn’t sure sharrows were right decision.
Council member Ken Vein clarified that bicyclists would be riding in the same location, whether it’s marked sharrow or bike lane.
And council member Terry Bjerke asked why either a bike lane or sharrow is needed when bicyclists can already legally ride on the road.
But a strict bike lane could make it clearer that “bikes belong on the road,” Grandstrand said.
Council member Bret Weber said he is a year-round bicyclist and would prefer sharrows on University Avenue.
“What I like about the sharrow is that for a minimum infrastructure investment we’re able to start this culture,” of bikes and cars sharing the road, said Weber, who is not on the Service/Safety Committee and didn’t vote on the issueTuesday.
Grasser added that the sharrows could always be changed into a regular bike lane later, if needed.
The discussion concluded with the committee tabling the issue until its next meeting to seek more opinions from the public.
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