New ‘sharrows’ installed on downtown Kitchener street
If you’re driving down King Street in downtown Kitchener and notice something a little unusual on the ground, there’s a good chance it was designed for you to see.
The first in a system of ‘sharrows’ were installed on the street Tuesday.
By this weekend, more than 40 sharrows will be in place along King between Francis Street and Madison Avneue.
The sharrows are meant to remind people using King Street that the road’s two lanes are to be shared between cyclists and drivers in a single-file line.
“We have wide sidewalks, lots of pedestrian traffic, slow-moving vehicles already, so it’s not like we’re proposing this shared type of environment on a street where it wouldn’t make sense,” says Josh Joseph of the City of Kitchener.
The Highway Traffic Act stipulates that cyclists can ride in the middle of a lane if it is too narrow to share with a vehicle, but King Street is believed to be the first road in the province encouraging cyclists to do so.
Drivers like Ibrahim Rahim say the sharrows will make King Street a rough ride.
“Now it takes 15 minutes, but it’ll take half an hour (with the sharrows),” he says.
But is that true?
CTV News conducted an experiment, following a cyclist up King Street for the length of the sharrows and making the trip back alone.
The trip took our vehicle about the same amount of time in both cases, but cyclist Christopher Young says using the road slowed him down.
“If you’re going on the sidewalk, you don’t have to stand behind any cars and you’re the first to leave on a green (light),” he says.
Despite that, Young is quick to point out something about taking the road that made up for the time lost.
“It’s safer, it definitely felt safer,” he says.
The City of Kitchener says it plans to add more than 100 kilometres of cycling infrastructure over the next 20 years.