Everett bike lanes’ white curb, paint confuse drivers on Madison

Bike lanes have come to Madison Street in Everett.

The city chose to restripe the pavement after having the asphalt redone this summer. Skinnier vehicle lanes and some other changes made room for bike lanes in each direction on both sides of the road. Like most things that change, it hasn’t been universally popular.

At some intersections, the green paint on the roadway stands out. In others, a white line marks the boundary between bike and vehicle lanes.

When the bike lanes reach Evergreen Way, they’re further separated by a short curb. But the white curb caught at least one driver by surprise.

Russell Beckley of Everett said he appreciates the new bike lanes but questioned the curbs, especially since they’re the same color as the line striping.

“The barrier is already black from so many tires hitting this barrier,” Beckley wrote to The Daily Herald. “It blends in so well with the pavement painting.”

In addition, he worried that bushes at KeyBank obscured the view of traffic for people turning south onto Evergreen Way.

The curb must be white.

A car turns west onto Madison Street from Evergreen Way on Thursday, July 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices dictates the curb’s color, Everett Public Works spokesperson Kathleen Baxter said.

The federal document sets standards for road markings, signals and traffic signs. It’s why highway signs are green in any state across the country and interstate markings have the shield shape with a blue field, white letters and a red top.

In this case, the curb separates lanes of traffic in the same direction. So, similar to other white striping on a roadway, the curb is white.

Public Works staff plan to install “flexible delineators,” which look like posts but bend if hit. They offer some warning to people on the road, but aren’t meant to physically stop a vehicle like a bollard.

After reading about Beckley’s concerns over the bank’s bushes, Baxter submitted a service request for the city’s streets maintenance crews to check it out. If there’s an issue with the vegetation, they can send the property owner a letter.

If people have similar concerns about plants, shrubs or trees that hang over, impair or obstruct public use of a sidewalk or street, they can submit a service request at everettwa.gov/servicerequest or call 425-257-8821.

Have a question? Call 425-339-3037 or email streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your first and last name and city of residence.


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