Bike Commuter Paths – Sharrows on Kilauea Avenue and Keawe Street
THIS IS A COMBINED POSTING FROM DOUGLAS ZANG AND GEORGIA PINSKY
Douglas Zang’s Entry
The corridor along Kilauea Avenue from Lanikaula Street through Keawe Street to Waianuenue is extremely bicycle-unfriendly. Sidewalks are intended for pedestrians and four lanes of traffic are intended for cars. There is no room at all for a full bike lane or shoulder.
As a result, bicycles are forced do one of two unsafe things - either ride on the sidewalks and endanger pedestrians, or else bravely ride in the travel lane and endanger themselves.
A new concept in many towns and cities is “Shared Lane Pavement Markings” or “Sharrows.” This is a painted insignia in a travel lane that shows that bikes are allowed (in fact encouraged) to use that lane. The lane is shared by cars and bikes. Motorists will come to understand that bikes can, and should, be in this lane, and will start to respect them as equal users of the road. Bicycles will be encouraged to fully “take the lane” rather than ride really close to the curb (which endangers them from close-passing cars or by opening parked cars’ doors). Best of all, bicyclists will be following the rules of the road by riding in the correct direction in “their” lane and not on the sidewalk.
Most hours of the day, when traffic is relatively light, cars will be able to go around a bicycle in the right lane with few problems. It will take some adjustment, but there are many bicyclists in Hilo who have basically been ignored with the current situation.
The 2009 Manal of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which traffic engineers use as their “bible” for signage, traffic control, and lane markings APPROVES the use of sharrows. So the engineering community is ON BOARD. And this has been used in big and small communities alike. There’s nothing remarkable about implementing this in Hilo.
The cost is minimal – some paint.
Sharrows will improve our town’s sustainability and health by encouraging safe bike travel while also educating motorists that they are not the only vehicles allowed to use the road.
Here’s some more information:
(the wikipedia page has a lengthy list of cities, large and small that have used sharrows)
(good primer on sharrows)
Georgia Pinsky’s “Bike Commuter Pathway” original entry
There are many people who live and work in and around downtown hilo. Not all of us DRIVE A CAR to work. My idea is to make one lane of any two lane streets into a bike lane. For example, along Kamehameha Avenue, there would be one lane for cars in each direction, and one lane for bikes. Same for Keawe / Kilauea, and Kino’ole Streets.
Between the rising cost of owning and operating a car, and the severe shortage of parking spaces in downtown hilo, biking to work is SUSTAINABLE and AFFORABLE.
We need a space for bikes on the roadways. The drivers of the cars appear uncomfortable with bikes on the road, it seems to make drivers nervous…. (?).
Riding on the sidewalk is sometimes an option. While a potential hazard, it can be done with care, by annoucing your presence behind pedestrians and going slowly.
However, riding on the sidewalks is a poor excuse for a Bikeway. We, the bike communters, do not want to ride on the sidewalk. We want to LIVE! We want to make it to work ALIVE!
Let’s seek solutions to Downtown Hilo’s parking problem by finding a way to encourage Bike Communters.
EDH 2025 Primary Focus Area: Managing Growth
Secondary Focus Area: Preserving Our Environment