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Guerilla Sharrows Appear in Northeast L.A., Cleanup Will Take 60 Days, Says LADOT

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Unofficial Sharrows dot a NELA Street | Photo by ubrayj02 via Flickr
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City approved sharrows--street markings that educate drivers to share the road with cyclists--have been buried in the city's bureaucracy since first proposed over a year ago. While plenty of cities around California have painted them on their own streets, Los Angeles officials say they are still studying the issue. To many cyclists, it's simply a matter of painting a stencil on the street. "Why is that so hard," many have asked. L.A. Department of Transportation officials have responded with safety concerns--bicycles may slip during wet conditions being one of the reasons--which cyclists say is ridiculous.

Over the weekend, a group guerilla activists called the D.I.Y. Department apparently installed at least 16 sharrows in Northeast L.A. near the Bike Oven. "While these street markings usually get taken up within a couple of days of being put down, the purpose isn't to calm the streets but to throw down the gauntlet to LADOT," said Damien Newton at Streetsblog Los Angeles. "It will be interesting to see if this form of confrontational advocacy is being pushed by a small segment of the community, or if cyclists have finally reached the breaking point when it comes to dealing with the city."

LADOT officials say they don't have the immediate resources to deal with these sharrows, estimating that they will be covered up in 60 days. "That's our projected date," explained LADOT Spokesman Bruce Gillman. "I know that's a long way off, but that's our workload."

A Los Angeles City Council transportation committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow will focus on bicycle issues, including sharrows.