Friday, June 27, 2014

Flexibility in Designing Bicycle Infrastructure

Buffered Bike Lane Exampl
Photo from San Francisco
The approach to street engineering design should be different depending on the context. One challenges of  uniformity is that it attempts to treat every street the same. As I have mentioned before, the speed of the street roughly determines whether the street is urban or rural in the MUTCD. Yet, these two examples for streets represent unique situations that present a unique situation not currently covered in the MUTCD. The double white lines shown at right means to the highway engineers that a person on a bicycle is not allowed to leave the facility and the vehicles are not allowed to cross. The use of the double white is currrently described for freeway applications, not currently used on urban streets.

The second example of a "new" type of facility for the MUTCD to consider is G Street NE from Washington, DC (provided by Bill Schultheiss of Toole Design Group). The challenge with this type of facility is that it presents a different interpretation of the use of double yellow lines than what's commonly used. The double yellow lines are intended to separate the directions of traffic and insure that the previously one way traffic is not in the path of the cyclist. The challenge with this sort of situation is the on-street parking on the right hand side of the picture. This raises concerns where high speeds on the facility exist. This sort of a facility is a low speed condition where the needs are quite different than in a rural condition. This is continued dialogue that needs broader consideration.   

The good news is that the FHWA is leading the charge to encourage flexibility in the design of pedestrian and bicycle facilities, citing both the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, the ITE Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach as examples of documents that provide useful treatments that can be applied to further walking and cycling in our communities.


MikeP said...

Your buffered bike lane photo is actually from San DIEGO! I know, I couldn't believe it either.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,
The photo on top is not of a bikeway in San Francisco. I think it may be San Diego, but am not certain.