The National Association of City Transportation Officials’ Urban Bikeway Design Guide was 20 years in the making, and already it’s having an impact, says the organization’s Mia Birk.
Bringing together transportation officials from 20 major cities to discuss progress on bikeway designs in the U.S. produced quite a few “aha moments,” said Birk. For one, transportation officials learned that many of the bikeway innovations they had been adopting from Europe aren’t as innovative as they had thought.
For example, Birk said, 20 American cities use bike boxes, one of the design features that isn’t specifically endorsed by the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and the American Association of Highway Transportation Officials’ design guide.
“It’s not like it’s some fringe thing anymore,” Birk said.
She added: “There’s a comfort in knowing that your colleagues are on the same wavelength.”
Conversations throughout the course of the NACTO guide development process also revealed that federal officials aren’t as unfriendly to new bike treatments as many city-level transportation officials had expected. Federal transportation officials have indicated that many of the 20 bike treatments recommended by NACTO are allowable within federal guidelines — while not explicitly endorsed — and therefore eligible for federal funding, Birk said.
“They’ve basically green-lighted a few of them a yellow-lighted a few others,” she said.
Birk described the conversations with federal transportation officials as “really effective and positive.”