Mega Memo from FWHA
For all but the bravest or most experienced road cyclist, bicycle infrastructure is necessary when it comes to improving our comfort level and overall feeling of safety on the road.
For many, protected bike lanes or paths provide an experience far superior to cycling on a road with fast moving cars and little or no safe shoulder. However, they have been slow to be adopted, despite mounting evidence that they improve safety.
All of that, I hope, is poised to change. In a recent memo from the FWHA (Federal Highway Administration), transportation engineers were told that the FHWA supports a “flexible approach” to bike/ped facility design. It urges transportation engineers to use, as their primary resources, two guides as they plan, design, operate, and maintain bicycle and pedestrian facilities. They are the Urban Bikeway Design Guide issued by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NAACTO) and Designing Urban Walkable Thoroughfares from the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE).
NACTO, an association of 15 major U.S. cities formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues, features in its guide protected bicycle lanes and other innovative best practices routinely seen in Europe but not so much here.
The FHWA’s support for the NACTO guidelines gives cities and states a usable toolkit to help them provide safe and effective infrastructure that better serve pedestrians and bicyclists. The blessing of the FHWA makes all the difference since U.S. transportation engineers generally hesitate to use designs that aren’t officially sanctioned. My hope is that this memo creates great forward movement.
The FWHA memo makes this a good time for me to toot the horn of Trailnet staff who’ve created our new piece – Streets for Everyone. It’s a guide that’s easy for the layperson to understand while providing valuable information and insight to planners and city and municipal leaders.
Take a look. I believe this kind of infrastructure is now attainable. Change happens!