Cycling community wants excellence in sharrows program
The city of Cleveland Heights has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community since installing the sharrows in late October.
As a whole, people are enthusiastic that the city is striving to become bicycle friendly, and have applauded Mayor Ed Kelley, City Manager Robert Downey, and City Planning Director Richard Wong for their decisive actions in ensuring that the sharrows were installed a month ahead of schedule. With bicycling up 50 percent since 2006 in Greater Cleveland, Cleveland Heights is positioning itself to become a regional leader in bicycle friendliness.
Critics are correct in that some, but not all, of the sharrows have not been installed according to federal guidelines. On Oct. 1, prior to the installation of the sharrows, the Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition sent a statement to the city manager requesting that the sharrows be installed at the distances recommended in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
Despite this request, the city concluded that it would install the sharrows closer to the curb than recommended by the Federal Department of Transportation due to legal and aesthetic concerns.
As stated during the Aug. 16 city council meeting, the sharrows on Euclid Heights Boulevard and Edgehill Road are a pilot program to help the city gauge the community’s response. Since feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, we’re looking forward to the city acting progressively and installing sharrows on Coventry Road according to MUTCD guidelines by Bike Week in May 2011. Doing so would put Cleveland Heights among the ranks of Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton, all of which are Ohio cities that have installed sharrows according to the MUTCD guidelines.
Nicholas Matthew is a founder and officer of the Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition.