Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Sharrow Is Born!

Last night, as the Militant was riding his bike along Fountain Avenue in East Hollywood, he saw something truly cool - subcontractors for the City painting shared-lane markings, also known as "sharrows," meant to indicate the shared use of a traffic lane between autos and bicycles. A familiar sight in places like Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles is finally looking at implementing these citywide via a pilot program, installing them in four locations. These Fountain avenue sharrows were first applied on Friday, and the job for the one-mile section of Fountain between Vermont and Western was completed on Tuesday night.

The Militant chatted with one of the crews who applied the sharrows, who worked for a company called SEI, subcontracted by the City of Los Angeles' Bureau of Street Services. He said it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to apply each sharrow, which consists of three templates (the left and right sides of the bike icon and the double arrow chevron), which are lined up against reference markings on the road. A paint roller cart does two passes over each stencil and some magic pixie dust is sprinkled over the whole thing.

Okay, okay, it's not magic pixie dust, but "glass beads," the crewman said, which adds reflective properties to the sharrow. Check out the video above to see how they do it!

The crews had a busy night ahead (the Militant was there at about 11 p.m.), they were off to 4th Street between Western and Normandie to paint some sharrows there.

1 comment:

bgfa said...

Those glass beads are amazing. I once had a black bicycle and painted it with a clearcoat, and then sprinkled the glass beads all over the frame. The bike would light up when hit by vehicle headlights. Amazing stuff. You can get it at serious sculpture supply houses.