Bike “Sharrows” coming to Richmond

Bike “sharrows” coming to Richmond after the city receives $119 million in transportation funding.

Between 2012-2017, Richmond will have more than $119 million to play with. The recently adopted Six-Year Improvement Program budget from the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) will fund several transportation improvement projects.

Among them will be Bike sharrows, typically a bicycle with arrows atop it spray painted in the center of a travel lane, done as a visual indication to both motorists and cyclists that bicycle travel takes place at that particular location. Designated to installed in fiscal year 2012, the sharrows will run as follows:

  • West on Westhampton Way at the University of Richmond to the east at Williamsburg Road.
  • Hermitage Road to South Corporate Limit (SCL) Richmond on Cherokee Road
  • Hermitage Road to SCL on Iron Bridge Road)

Although unrelated, the announcement of the bike sharrows comes on the heels of Mia Birk’s talk at the Science Museum of Virginia on how to successfully implement bike-friendly initiatives in cities. Birk oversaw the 20 year process in Portland, Oregon that ultimately made the city the most bike-friendly in the U.S.

Other funding in the Six-Year improvement program includes completing Phase 3 of Main Street Station, providing a cobblestone roadbed on the east end of the African Burial Ground, traffic system upgrades in South Richmond, among other projects.


  • Originally we reported that sharrows were painted “within roadside bike lanes” which is misleading. Sharrows are typically painted in the center of a lane without an accompanying bike lane.

photo by richardmasoner

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Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. David Huntsman on said:

    I believe the description of sharrows is misleading and confusing insofar as sharrows are not installed “within roadside bike lanes” (which are generally reserved for cyclists alone) but rather are installed in traffic lanes (which are used by both motorists and cyclists.

    This is not just a matter of semantics. The difference is very important as one of the values of sharrows is to alert motorists that cyclists are allowed to be – and likely to be – in the road ahead of them, correcting the common and incorrect assumption that cyclists are supposed to be “in bike lanes only”.

  2. Why not put bike lanes and walking sidewalks on all major arteries in Richmond … and the Commonwealth? They create jobs, promote fitness by helping people live longer, and …. do we really need all those cars? Portland, Oregon has plenty of bikes and bikers. Richmond could do this too. Don’t forget that America’s first great black superstar international champion was a black bicycle racer — Major Taylor. Richmond needs more biking — and more bikers. So does the rest of Virginia.

  3. RVAcycle on said:

    The ultimate goal is to have a good network of bike routes that would include a number of different things, depending on the situation: bike lanes, sharrows, cycle tracks (bike lanes physically separated from cars), and off-road paths and greenways. The article and the city budget (presumably) is a bit misleading in suggesting that it will be only sharrows. The city is proceeding with putting into action the recommendations of the Mayor’s Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Trails Commission, mainly by hiring a Bike/Ped Coordinator and getting the process going to create major east-west and north-south bike corridors, to be followed by other routes to expand the network. Richmond has a way to go before being comparable to Portland, but it’s entirely possible!

  4. Glad to see RVA News picked this story up. Originally reported in March (with budget notes, see page 12 of PDF handouts):

  5. @David Huntsman, Thanks for the correction, we’ve updated the article.

  6. NoFreeRides on said:

    It is about time some attention is paid to bicycle users. Now maybe the state can find a way to tax them like everyone else that uses the public roadway systems. While at it, tax mopeds as well. Maybe start handing out fines to the riders for not stopping, yeilding, riding on sidewalks or using proper hand signals.

  7. It’s legal to ride your bike on sidewalks in Richmond.

  8. David Huntsman on said:

    @NoFreeRides, the right to access public rights-of-way (‘roads’) is not related to the payment of taxes. Never has been, never will be. Pedestrians, equestrians, cart-pushers and cyclists generally get to use the roads with little restriction – because they pose little harm to each other. Motorists, on the other hand, pose an outrageous threat to other road users – and to the road itself (hence the need for pavement, signals, lane markings and curbs…) – and therefore are subject to licensing and vehicle registration requirements and fees. And I’ll bet you a donut that the last time a cyclist showed up on your radar for committing one of the offenses you complain of, you were in the midst of doing the same (or worse) in your car…

  9. mike on said:

    The entire program of attempting to integrate bike and cars is just plain dumb.

    Integrating the system is just not gonna happen unless we bankrupt ourselves into not being able to afford to drive gas/elec cars… it is just too dangerous to mix a 180lb vehicle/rider with a 3000 lb combo. Silly argument drive by emotional non-thinkers.

    Only way to seriously do this is to create separated bike lanes with their own protections and right-of-ways, but that is in sanely expensive to retroactively add to the existing system unless @C. Gehman has the money to foot the bill.

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