Continued Efforts to Make It Safer for Cyclists and Pedestrians

Green Bicycle Sharrow Boxes and Crosswalks Improvements

Town of Chapel Hill public works teams are busy painting green sharrow boxes on roads in areas marked as high-risk for bicycle traffic. They are also changing busy mid-block crosswalks to flash only when activated by pedestrians.

Shared lane pavement markings or “sharrows” are bicycle symbols carefully placed to guide bicyclists to the best place to ride on the road, avoid car doors and remind drivers to share the road with cyclists. Unlike bicycle lanes, sharrows do not designate a particular part of the street for the exclusive use of bicyclists. They are simply a marking to guide bicyclists to the best place to ride and help motorists expect to see and share the lane with bicyclists. Sections along Ransom, Church and Rosemary streets have been selected to receive the upgrades first.

The goal of the upgrades is to increase awareness by using thermoplastic green paint, which can withstand natural elements and traffic for the lifetime of the pavement. The paint will not become slippery when wet.

What do sharrows mean for motorists and bicyclists?

• Expect to see bicyclists on the street
• Remember to give bicyclists three feet of space when passing
• Follow the rules of the road as if there were no sharrows

• Use the sharrow to guide where you ride within the lane
• Remember not to ride too close to parked cars
• Follow the rules of the road as if there were no sharrows

On Thursday, Nov. 13, public works crews will begin installing push-button activated flashing lights at four un-signalized mid-block pedestrian crosswalks on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and on East Franklin Street. The current system that uses a continual flashing light will be changed to better alert motorists. They will flash only when pedestrians are using the crosswalks.The first crosswalk lights to be changed with new lights system were completed along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Piney Mountain Road on Thursday, Nov. 13. The other three crosswalks will be changed as soon as possible, weather permitting.

To raise awareness about road safety laws and pedestrian safety the Town of Chapel Hill has organized awareness and enforcement activities that are taking place each month. People may receive helpful information, warnings about infractions, and in some cases, tickets for traffic violations. Officers may cite motorists for failure to yield to pedestrians within the crosswalk and cite pedestrians for crossing against the signals or crossing outside the crosswalk. Fines and court costs for these violations begin at $213. Police officers will be stationed from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, on West Franklin Street to conduct the public outreach, education and enforcement.

Chapel Hill is working to make the community safer for pedestrians and cyclists. For more information, visit: