New Better Bikeway Designs Due by December

About 70 people gathered in Sacramento last week to advise Caltrans on design standards for protected bike lanes. Caltrans held the summit to fulfill a requirement of the Protected Bikeways Act of 2014 that it establish standards for cycle tracks by the end of 2015. The Protected Bikeways Act, sponsored by your California Bicycle Coalition, and authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting, defined a new kind of bikeway, a “class 4 cycle track,” separated from traffic with a barrier. Our goal in pushing for this bill was precisely to expedite the development of these standards, and to give local agencies the freedom to apply best practices in bikeway design, so that California’s communities can have great protected bike lanes where they need them.

caltrans summit photoCaltrans Design Chief Tim Craggs convened the meeting with a personal story about recently taking up bicycling. He gained a whole “new perspective on bicycling,” he said, and is very eager to find ways to protect bicycle riders from speeding traffic. He will review existing guides, like the just-released Federal Highway Administration Protected Bike Lane Design Guide as well as guides from Copenhagen and Amsterdam, which lead Europe in bikeway design. Mr. Craggs was primarily there to listen, though, and the participants sure had plenty to say.

Your California Bicycle Coalition was there, and argued for the highest possible “default” standards that nevertheless offer flexibility when necessary. We were glad to see the diversity of interests represented, especially people with disabilities and pedestrians. We will continue to work with Caltrans as they come up with standards over the next six months.