Palo Alto finished creating its very first "bicycle-friendly intersections" on Channing Ave earlier this week, with clearly visible markings that help guide bicyclists across safely.
The project, , included restriping the 5-ft wide bicycle lanes on Channing Ave from Lincoln Ave to Newell Rd, and installing green bike lanes and "sharrows" at the Newell Rd and Center Dr intersections.
The short sections of green bike lanes on both sides of these intersections clearly indicate to both motorists and bicyclists as to where bicyclists should be riding when crossing the intesections. This is especially important as bicyclists approach Newell Rd heading west on Channing Ave (toward downtown). There, the green bike lane guides bicyclists to the left of the right-turn only lane, which helps prevent the common and dangerous "right-hook" type vehicle-bicycle collision. This collission occurs when bicyclists illegally proceed straight through an intersection from the right-turn only lane, and are then stuck by a vehicle turning right from that lane.
The shared lane markings (or "sharrows") placed in the intersection indicate where bicyclists should ride as they cross it. This increases safety for both motorists and bicyclists since it encourages bicyclists to ride in a straight, predictable path. Bicyclists riding with the sharrows are more visible to motorists than those who ride further to right in the crosswalk, where bicyclists often (and illegally) ride when crossing intersections that have no markings to indicate the safest path across.
Pedestrians crossing these two intersections can now enjoy a safer journey as well - the crosswalks were improved from narrow white lines to thick yellow-lined "ladder type" crosswalks - which are more visible to passing motorists and bicyclists. This is especially important because Channing Ave is used by children walking to and from Duveneck Elementary School and Eleanor Pardee Park.
Thanks Palo Alto!