RYE, N.Y. – Drivers frequenting Forest Avenue near Playland Park in Rye will see marked lanes for bicyclists and pedestrians this summer as a result of a pilot project by the City Council Shared Roadways Committee.
“It’s nothing more than a share-the-road sign. In fact, that’s what occurs on Forest Avenue on a nice summer day. You will see bicyclists, pedestrians and vehicles sharing the road,” City Engineer Christian Miller said at the City Council meeting Wednesday night in Rye. He called the markings a “traffic calming measure.”
A date has not been set to launch the program. The committee hopes the change will not come as a shock to residents, City Manager Scott Pickup said. “But I guarantee some people will wake up on Forest Avenue and say, ‘Why do I have a bicycle painted on the road?’” Pickup said.
Shared roadway markings, or “sharrows,” are painted emblems on the road that encourages safe traffic flow of bicyclists, while reminding motorists that they are sharing the route. They are not bicycle lanes, which are set aside for bicyclists and marked by a solid white line and a different symbol. Sharrows will be placed every 250 feet alongside a 10-foot-wide travel lane on 2.5 miles of Forest Avenue.
“We’re not changing the width of the road. All we are doing is adding a white line,” said Miller. The project will be funded by a $20,000 grant by the Rye YMCA. The grant’s funding must be used by the fall.
“It’s not that we’re here to complicate this. We’re just here to make sure people are aware as best we can,” said Miller. A potion of Forest Avenue is slated for repaving, he said. That prompted Rye City Councilman Joseph Sack to ask whether there would be a way to widen the road to allow proper bicycle lanes.
Although it’s not too late to explore widening the section of road, Miller said the process is not as simple as it seems. “Even adding a foot of lane means not just adding a foot of asphalt, grading it out and eliminating any encroachments. You also have to have a base … you’re actually rebuilding a road,” he said.
In addition, the town may create lined parking spaces in the area of Playland Market — not to reduce parking but to formalize dedicated spaces. Miller added, however, that Playland Market has not been informed of this possible change.