Sharrows are first step toward bicycle safety in Metuchen

An image of a sharrow on Amboy Avenue in Metuchen.

METUCHEN — Bicyclists and motorists are now sharing the road through sharrows on Route 27.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation [DOT] has been placing sharrows — line markings in the middle of motor vehicle lanes that indicate the road needs to be shared by vehicles and bicyclists — as part of the Route 27 repaving project, which began on March 2.

“Although sharrows are not the answer, they serve as an important first step toward signaling to our drivers that roads must be responsibly shared with bicyclists,” Mayor Jonathan Busch said. “Great job by our Borough Administrator Jay Muldoon, the council members, and the members of the Metuchen Traffic and Transportation Committee, each of whom worked hard to make this happen.”

The $3.3 million federally-funded Route 27 paving project will resurface approximately three miles of Route 27 in both directions between Bridge Street in Metuchen and Frederic Street in Edison.

The project rehabilitates the existing pavement, which is exhibiting various types of cracking and deterioration. In addition, seven signalized Route 27 intersections within the project area — Bridge Street, Lake Avenue/Central Avenue, New Street, Main Street, Grove Avenue, James Street and Parsonage Road, and Evergreen Road/County Route 657 — will receive safety improvements.

The project is expected to be completed later this year.

Discussions on ways to enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety have occurred over the last few years with an array of tactics and initiatives from signaled crosswalks to the orange flags. With that came concerns that despite the markings, the sharrows do not protect the bicyclist.

Muldoon has said borough officials are not necessarily saying the sharrows protect bikers, but officials do believe part of the overall strategy, the sharrows communicate that roads are to be shared.

Busch and Muldoon have said the implementation of the sharrows is an initial step towards making Metuchen safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@newspapermediagroup.com.

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