The City of Mesquite is updating its Draft Bikeways Development Plan, to get it ready for adoption by the City Council. For the past few months City staff has been taking comments about the draft plan. Some in the business community have expressed the fear that the proposed bike lane improvements on Mesquite Boulevard will take out needed parking for local businesses. This is not the case. Staff realizes there is a premium on parking for businesses in commercial districts. So the plan works with the existing parking.
The rightmost lane on streets can often be too narrow to be safely shared side-by-side by cyclists and passing motorists. On these routes, cyclists wishing to stay out of the way of drivers often ride too close to parked cars and risk being struck by a suddenly opened car door. To avoid this, experienced cyclists ride further to the left and position themselves closer to the center of narrow lanes. This type of riding can irritate motorists who get stuck behind a slow moving bicyclist.
A potential solution many cities have experimented with is a “shared lane marking” or “Bicycle Sharrow”. The marking does not connote a separated bicycle lane; instead it directs the bicyclist to travel outside the car door zone and encourages safe coexistence. In recent studies, the stencil markings significantly improved both motorists’ and cyclists’ positions in the roadway. Additionally, the markings reduced sidewalk and wrong-way riding.
The current City of Mesquite bicycle network does not include any sharrows. However, there are a few areas where on-street parking is heavily used and sharrows could be implemented to increase awareness of the bicycle system without requiring parking removal or right-of-way acquisitions. These areas include: