They're green, they're rectangular, and they're everywhere. They're called sharrows, and apparently they're here to stay.
The sharrows — a term combining "share" and "arrows" — were installed at points along the Wiggle in the early morning of May 10th, a.k.a. Bike to Work Day. According to SF Streetsblog, the sharrows were inspired by a delegation of Dutch experts who visited San Francisco in September for workshops on calming traffic and improving safety on city streets.
Another product of those workshops with the Dutch: striped crosswalks, also known as "continental" or "ladder" crosswalks. The striped design is considered preferable to traditional crosswalks because, as the Federal Highway Administration notes, "research indicates that it is the most visible to drivers."
Of course, sharrows and crosswalks existed on many of these streets already — but the new paint jobs certainly kick the visibility factor up a notch.
So what do we think about all this? Bikers, are you finding the Wiggle safer and easier to navigate? Pedestrians, are you crossing the street with newfound confidence? Drivers, have you rediscovered your lifelong passion for sharing the road? Do tell.