Iola, Kansas has just installed its first sharrows, on just over a mile of streets in and near downtown.
The sharrows have been installed on Washington Avenue from Lincoln Avenue south to Vine Street, and on Vine west to connect with the Southwind Rail Trail. Though not installed yet, sharrows are also slated for West Street from downtown to the Prairie Spirit Trail.
Washington Avenue was originally US-169 Highway, and runs though the historic downtown, along the west side of the courthouse square, and past stately homes from Iola’s golden era of the early 1900s.
The sharrows project was approved by the Iola city council last fall, with funding provided by a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation (via Thrive Allen County), with engineering and installation provided by the city of Iola.
In addition to providing visual cues to people riding bikes and driving cars, the sharrows are intended to help visitors arriving via the Prairie Spirit Trail and the Southwind Rail Trail to discover the historical and cultural amenities of Iola, as well as as lead them to food, entertainment, and shopping services downtown. Additional wayfinding signage is planned for later this year.
The following are a few photos:
A sharrow in front of the historic Iola Theatre, built in the 1930s, and currently in the early stages of being restored to its original glory.
Washington Avenue features both parallel and angled (head-in) parking.
Parking is allowed on Vine Street, so the sharrows are placed well towards the center of the roadway.
A sharrow (short for “shared lane arrow”) serves two main purposes: First, they advise bicyclists where to position themselves within a lane for optimal safety — basically, bicyclists should ride right over the “point” of the arrow. Secondly, they remind motorists to expect bicycle traffic, and where drivers should expect bicyclists to position themselves. Secondary purposes of the sharrows are to remind bicyclists to ride in the same direction as other traffic, and can also be used as a wayfinding aid.
Although sharrows are relatively new in Kansas, they’ve been used around the country for many years, and can help improve the safety of the roads for both motorists and bicyclists.
Learn more: Sharrows in Kansas.