Steamboat bike-friendly initiatives continue with new lane markings | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat bike-friendly initiatives continue with new lane markings

Taze Henderson and Missy Krause ride their bikes along Yampa Street in downtown Steamboat Springs. The city of Steamboat Springs plans to install designated bike lanes on Yampa Street next week and also has added signs to designate shared use on roads.

— New markings on streets throughout Steamboat Springs are meant to remind people that roads have many users.

The shared lane markings, or "sharrows," feature a bicycle with two arrows designating the direction of travel. The markings are meant to serve as a reminder and do not signify a designated biking lane, which are marked with a solid white line and are typically five feet wide.

City of Steamboat Springs Public Works Director Philo Shelton said the sharrows have been painted on narrower 24-foot wide roads throughout Steamboat that are used frequently by cars, pedestrians and cyclists.

"It's not a big change in the roads, but hopefully it drives awareness," Shelton said.

The Steamboat Springs City Council approved the sharrows with the intention of making Steamboat a more bike-friendly town while not spending a lot of money, Shelton said.

Paint was purchased for about $3,500, Shelton said, and public works employees painted the markings. Like all street markings in Steamboat, the sharrows will have to be repainted every year.

"I think it's a great new addition for all users of the road," said Grant Fenton, a leader of local Bike Town USA efforts to increase cycling infrastructure and tourism. "The whole community of Steamboat will benefit because of the sharrows."

According to a city news release, the sharrows were studied for several years before being approved by the Federal Highway Administration in 2009.

Fort Collins was involved in the sharrow pilot program and has used the markings for more than four years. Fort Collins and other test communities found that sharrows help both motorists and bicyclists to use the road more effectively and safely.

Fenton said future improvements to make Steamboat a more bicycle-friendly community, including other increase signage, are planned for later this summer.

"It's just beginning," Fenton said. "The whole primary purpose of the Bike Town initiative was to get things done."

Shelton said designated bike lanes are scheduled to be painted on Yampa Street next week. Currently the city's only bike-specific lanes are on Oak Street and Seventh Street. Bike lanes denote an area where other vehicles cannot drive, park or otherwise come to a rest.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com