Breaking news! Rogue sharrows the reason for Lariviere firing

We would like to fill you in on some previously unreported details regarding the firing of University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere — thanks to a letter recently acquired by the dogged reporting team at Eugene Bicyclist, reprinted here as follows:

Dear President Lariviere:

We the members of the state Board of Higher Education face no choice but to terminate your contract.

We simply will not allow a dangerous loose cannon to continue rolling about the deck of the good ship S.S. Kitzhaber.

The time has arrived for us to open up the gunwale and let you zip right through. As you plunge defiantly toward the sea, Mr. Lariviere, we hope you will reflect, especially, on this latest instance regarding the sharrows.

Do you not know about the M.U.T.C.D., sir? To us, it would seem not. The M.U.T.C.D., in case you really don’t know, is the “Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.” It spells out — in minute detail — how road signs and pavement markings are to be made and installed.

Have you bothered to even peruse these 863 pages? At all?

We call your attention to Section 9C.07 — the directive on the styling and use of the “Shared Lane Marking,” know by close friends as the “sharrow.”

Here is how a proper sharrow shall be painted on the asphalt, shown clearly in Figure 9C-9, Page 815 of the M.U.T.C.D.:

Now, let’s consider one of the new sharrows on University Street, near the Student Recreation Center, a sharrow for which you will be held accountable:

What’s with the cockeyed extra chevron, Mr. Lariviere? Do you see any cockeyed extra chevrons on the M.U.T.C.D. diagram? We don’t.

Just because you sometimes wear a skewed fedora, does not mean pavement markings — which are property of the state of Oregon lest you have forgotten — should look as though they are tipping their caps.

But we think the most egregious breach here is not that you have changed the appearance of the marking willy-nilly. It is that you have changed the spirit and meaning of the marking for your own selfish purposes.

The purpose of a sharrow is, and we quote from the M.U.T.C.D., “to assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in a shared [with cars] lane.”

It is clear you are using these sharrows as route-finding or wayfinding symbols — to direct cyclists where to turn off of University Street to access the bike path behind the library.

What you are doing — you are not fooling us, sir — is trying to create a new kind of traffic marking entirely. We have reminded you repeatedly, and we will point out again — in case it really has escaped your notice — that there is a well-defined procedure by which things get done in large, unwieldy organizations.

That procedure is not taking matters into your own hands and making shit up.

No, the “Process for Incorporating New Traffic Control Devices into the M.U.T.C.D.” (found way up on Page 8, where you couldn’t possibly have missed it had you even cracked this manual at all) looks like this:

Is that really so difficult for an educated man like yourself?

Your rogue sharrow-ification of campus will not be tolerated. With that, consider yourself notified that your services as UO president are no longer required, although we do hope you have an enjoyable holiday season.

Cordially yours,

Chancellor George Pernsteiner and the rest of the gang at the state Board of Higher Education

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2 thoughts on “Breaking news! Rogue sharrows the reason for Lariviere firing

  1. Yeah, but why are there sharrows in the first place? Last I checked the regs, bicycles are vehicles who can take the lane whether some asshole in a fedora slops some paint down or not. Sharrows are a terrible idea, right up there with green “skid zones” painted on the roadway and “bicycle only” traffic lights. They serve to confuse cyclists and motorists alike, and reinforce the notion that cyclists should stay the hell out of the way. Grrrrrr….

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