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It's Official: New Flexibility for Bikeway Designs!
At the National Bike Summit in March, Secretary Ray LaHood committed U.S. DOT to improving safety for bicycling and reiterated a promise to look at the agency's design guidelines for building bicycling facilities.
Today, Secretary Anthony Foxx assumes LaHood's mantle in a significant way. I am in Boulder, Colo., at the bi-annual Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals conference where the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announces new bikeway design guidance that embraces the "NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide," as well as the more traditional AASHTO bike guide.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), has published two editions of its bicycle design guidelines (available free online) explaining and promoting the most innovate bicycling infrastructure from leading cities around the country. Now, instead of just using the AASHTO design guidelines, FHWA is encouraging state and local governments to plan and implement new bicycling infrastructure design using this best practice manual.
This is a giant step forward to creating safe, effective and cutting edge infrastructure in cities and towns around the country.
State and local governments often look to FHWA approved guidelines before building projects, because following an industry standard helps protect them from liability.
By approving and recommending the NACTO guidelines, FHWA has given cities and states a whole new set of tools with which to create a Bicycle Friendly America.