Bike-riding in the Cleveland area is up 50 percent since 2006, according to a recent survey by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA). Cleveland Heights is hoping to push the figure even higher in next year's survey with the addition of "sharrows" on city roads.
"Sharrow" is short for "share-the-road arrows," which are painted onto road surfaces. "You use them when you don't have enough room for a bike lane," explains Richard Wong, the city's director of planning and development. Sharrows are intended to remind bicyclists where they should ride -- with the flow of vehicular traffic, not against -- and to encourage drivers to share the road.
"They'll help reduce tension between bicyclists and motorists," says Nick Matthew of the Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition, which gathered more than 500 signatures on a petition urging the city to become one of the first in Northeast Ohio to adopt sharrows. Cleveland was the first, on Franklin Avenue.
Last week, just two months after the petition was presented to the city, sharrows were painted on Euclid Heights Boulevard, between Taylor and Coventry. (West of Coventry, where on-street parking is legal some hours, the city will install yellow "Share the Road" signs.) By next year, Wong says, the city plans to paint sharrows on Coventry, Lee and Fairmount.
Cleveland Heights ranks in the top 10 percent nationally for bicycle commuting by residents, according to data from the 2000 Census.
Source: Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition
Writer: Frank W. Lewis