South San Francisco Street between Butler Avenue and Phoenix Avenue is now home to experimental shared lane markings that will help cyclists and motorists safely share the street.
Shared lane markings are used in circumstances where a bike lane might be desired but has proven unfeasible, as is the case on South San Francisco Street. Because shared lane markings are not yet an officially recognized pavement marking, the City was required to submit a proposal to the Federal Highway Administration for approval to use them on an experimental basis.
Flagstaff was one of the first cities in the country to implement shared lane markings; but since they were installed the number of communities using shared lane markings has increased dramatically.
The goal of shared lane markings is to show cyclists where to correctly position themselves in the travel lane, to indicate to cyclists that they are allowed to “take the lane,” to alert motorists to the likely presence of bicycles on the street, and the give legitimacy to bicycles as users of the street.
Studies of shared lane markings from other communities have shown several benefits:
Cyclists position themselves further from parked cars, thereby staying out of the “door zone”
Passing motorists give more room to cyclists
Fewer cyclists ride on the sidewalk
Fewer cyclists ride the wrong way
Shared lane markings are not a replacement for bike lanes, but are used only in unique circumstances, which include a disconnect in the existing bike lane network, a lack of parallel routes, slow vehicle speeds, significant bicycle traffic, and an inability to remove parking to add a bike lane. Shared lane markings are a good fit for South San Francisco Street because the street meets all of these criteria.
Shared lane markings would not typically be used on new streets that would otherwise have bike lanes.