Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 34
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
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Weather Forecast

Shared Lane Markings Are Being Installed On Local Roadways

Anne Levin

Selected streets in Princeton Borough and Princeton Township are being stamped with special markings this week to help bicycle riders and motorists share the road. Called sharrows, the thermoplastic graphics of a bicycle, topped with two two inverted v-shapes, are being installed on streets that are too narrow to accommodate separate bike lanes.

The work started Monday on Witherspoon Street and is continuing through this week on sections of Nassau Street, Harrison Street, and Wiggins Street/Hamilton Avenue. “The goal here is safety and awareness,” said Anthony Soriano, Engineering Assistant with Princeton Township. “Weather permitting, this should be finished by the end of the week.”

Sharrows serve two purposes. They alert drivers to expect bike traffic and encourage cyclists to ride with the flow of traffic, not against it. The markings are placed in the center of a travel lane to indicate that a bicyclist may use the full lane. The name “sharrow” was coined by Oliver Gajda, of the City and County of San Francisco Bicycle Program, and is a combination of the words “share” and “arrow.”

One goal of the markings is to prevent “dooring,” which happens when a cyclist is pedaling past a parked car and the driver opens the door and hits the cyclist. “This keeps them away from a door that might open suddenly, throwing them into traffic or making them swerve,” said Mr. Soriano.

Sharrows are shared lane markings in the regular travel lanes, unlike bike lanes, which are set aside for cyclists and are marked by a solid white line. The rules of the road are shared by drivers and cyclists.

Nassau Street will be marked with sharrows from Route 206 to Snowden Lane. Markings will also be on Wiggins Street and Hamilton Avenue in Princeton Borough, and on Harrison Street to Mount Lucas Road in Princeton Township. The entire lengths of Harrison and Witherspoon streets will have the markings.

The project is a joint venture of Princeton Borough, Princeton Township, Mercer County, and the State of New Jersey. While Wiggins Street/Hamilton Avenue is located in the Borough, Witherspoon Street falls under the Borough and Township’s jurisdictions. Nassau Street (Route 27) is overseen by the state, and Harrison Street is a combination of Mercer County, Princeton Borough, and Princeton Township, depending on the exact location.

Traffic Lines Inc. of Farmingdale is doing the installations. A maximum of 87 sharrow symbols are being placed in the Borough, with another 60 on Nassau Street and approximately 72 in the Township.

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