Vancouver considers shared lane for bikes, cars on MacArthur

Vancouver considers shared lane for bikes, cars on MacArthur »Play Video

VANCOUVER, Wash. – What most cyclists would like to see on MacArthur Boulevard is a lane for cars, a lane for bikes and room on the side for parking.

It could happen. But what also could happen is that a chunk of MacArthur from Andresen to Lieser would become a "sharrow." That would mean one lane for cars and one lane for bikes and cars together.

City engineers are still looking at options but the four-lane road may have a different look when the city repaves and restripes it this summer.

Bicyclist Michael Newton is not entirely against sharrows.

"But most of my peers in the bicycle community are (against sharrows) because of the speed in the left lane, they feel very uncomfortable with cars going that fast in a lane right next to bicycles," he said.

Newton would rather see other improvements first.

One example the city is trying to fix is that bike lanes in some places are no more than drainage ditches. Cyclists say it not only dangerous to ride through areas with drainage grates but it's even more dangerous to ride around them.

"Your alternatives as you approach are to either dart out into traffic – and I don't think anyone thinks bicycles coming into and out of traffic is a good idea – or essentially fall into the abyss," said Newtown.

The city will decide what to do by June and have the work done by August.

The city notes that bicyclists have the legal right to ride in any outside lane, so lanes are being shared already. There is a marked sharrow on Fourth Plain and several more are scheduled around the city this summer.