City Streets Get a Makeover with White Lines and Green Lanes, Leaving Some Motorists Bewildered

Published : Sunday, November 13, 2016 | 9:59 PM

The proliferation of white solid and dotted lines and symbols and green lanes sprouting on city streets at an ever-increasing rate has left some drivers confused and concerned, according to a top city official.

“Concern was raised about how to navigate the broken white lines at the end of bicycle lanes and what the recent applications of green pavement markings to various bicycle lanes on city streets means for our motorists,” said Department of Transportation Director Fred Dock.

The reasoning behind the markings, according to a memo from Dock in the November 3 City Manager newsletter, is that the colorful bike lanes will help cyclists and motorists safely share the road.

Motorist behavior with regard to bicycle lanes is addressed as part of the State driver licensing and, as with other aspects of the Rules of the Road, drivers are required to know the proper procedures as a prerequisite for obtaining and retaining a driver’s license in California, according to the newsletter.

“Colored pavement within a bicycle lane increases the visibility of the bike lane, identifies potential areas of conflict and reinforces priority to bicyclists in conflicted areas,” explained Dock.

Currently green lane markings are being installed on South Marengo Avenue to highlight conflict areas at intersections along the route from Cordova Street to Glenarm Street.

The markings include a bike box for southbound bikes at Del mar where auto traffic in the outside lane is required to turn right. The bike box provides a space for bicyclists to wait in front of right turning vehicles when southbound traffic is stopped at the traffic signal.

“It’s common for cyclists to get in an accident with a car that turns right. The reason is that they just don’t see the people on bikes. I think his will definitely help,” said Pasadena Cyclery Owner Alan Purnell.

Colored pavement can be utilized either as a corridor treatment along the length of a bike lane or as a spot treatment, including bike boxes, conflict areas or for intersection crossing markings.

“I think this is a good thing. It should bring awareness to everyone on the road,” said Founder of Velo Pasadena Hrach Gevrikyan,.

There are other ways the coloring is utilized on pavement. According to the newsletter, color can be applied along the entire length of a bike lane or cycle track to increase overall visibility.

Color may also be applied along a dashed pattern within a dashed bicycle lane to indicate merging areas. Dashed application of colored pavement mimics typical traffic striping layouts, where dashed markings indicate areas where merging maneuvers are permitted.

“Cars often miscalculate how fast a bike is going, and where it’s going. That usually ends up making direct contact between the car and the person on a bike,” said Purnell.

Understanding how to correctly maneuver in and around busy bike lanes is a concern for many motorists. The D.O.T. made a brief guide to help with any confusion:

Bicycle Lane Do’s and Don’t

  • A Bicycle lane is a designated traffic lane for bicyclists marked by a solid white line, typically breaking into a dotted line ending before it reaches the corner.
  • Different from a simple white line showing the edge of the road, a bicycle lane follows specific width requirement and is clearly marked as a bike lane.
  • Treat a bicycle lane the same as other traffic lanes.
  • Do not turn into the lane if there is a bicyclist in the bike lane.
  • Do not obstruct bicycle traffic by reducing the width required for safe bicycle passage, typically three to four feet.
  • When you are making a right turn within 200 feet of the corner of other driveway entrance, you must enter the bicycle lane only after ensuring there is no bicycle traffic, ad then make the turn. Do not drive in the bicycle lane at any other time.
  • You may park in a bicycle lane in your vehicle does not block a bicyclist and/or there is not a “No Parking” sign posted.
  • Drivers of motorized bicycles should use bike lanes carefully to avoid collisions with bicyclists.

According to Purnell, there is a push in the bicycling community for riders to wear bright blinking lights at all times to ensure visibility — even during the day.

“Pasadena is a bike friendly city, but you do need to know where to ride,” said Purnell.