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Jefferson Avenue Sharrows

(photo by Dave Orrick for the Pioneer Press)

This article in the Pioneer Press tells about how the City of Saint Paul painted sharrows along Jefferson Avenue last week, but came back yesterday morning to paint over them with black paint.

“It was a mistake,” department spokeswoman Shannon Tyree said Monday, referring to the first paint job. “We will be doing follow-up with residents to explain what happened.”

Aside from the obvious question of “how did this happen?”, the next most common question people are asking is “if the markings were already in place, why not just leave them – especially if you’re still going to be able to see them through the black paint anyway?”

This is a really good question, and I suspect that it comes down to the need for the City to honor their commitment to the neighborhood.  The article mentions that an agreement was made with the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood that sharrows would not be installed, apparently, because the neighborhood thought that it would encourage too many people to ride bicycles on Jefferson Avenue which would result in unsafe conditions (unsafe for whom is not clear from the article…).

At the end of the day, the St. Paul public works department made the right decision to (attempt to) remove the sharrows.  While I am entirely confused by the neighborhood’s fear of sharrows, the public works department has a responsibility to uphold its commitment to the neighborhood organization.

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