Monday, March 14, 2016

USDOT report shows how transportation agencies can integrate bikeways into their resurfacing program

One of the tenets of complete streets (which takes into account the needs of all road users when streets are designed, built, operated and maintained) is "doing it right the first time". There is no more cost-effective time to make bike/ped improvements than during resurfacing. Since 2009 with the adoption of Lee County's first complete streets policies (MPO and BoCC), BikeWalkLee has advocated for incorporating bike/ped design improvements concurrent with the reconstruction, rehabilitation, and resurfacing of roadways. From the County's 2010 Complete Streets Implementation Plan to the MPO's Bike/Ped Safety Action Plan in 2013, to the 2015 USDOT Secretary's Mayors Challenge for Safety, there have been recommendations to change the current planning and budgeting processes for resurfacing projects so that this cost-effective approach can be implemented. However, this approach has yet to come to fruition in any Lee County jurisdiction or agency.
Last week USDOT's FHWA issued new guidance regarding bikeway development with resurfacing projects, and encourages the practice to be commonplace.  The guide provides Lee County jurisdictions with useful case studies and best practices for how to reinvent the resurfacing process so that bike/ped facilities can be integrated into their resurfacing program.  As jurisdictions continue the journey to implement their adopted complete streets policies, we hope that they will focus on implementing this important and cost-effective recommendation.
Report by Darla Letourneau
On March 7, 2016, FHWA issued a report entitled "Incorporating On-Road Bicycle Networks into Resurfacing Projects"  This workbook provides recommendations for how roadway agencies can integrate bikeways into their resurfacing program. By installing bicycle facilities during resurfacing projects, agencies can create connected networks of bicycle facilities in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

The report's press release states, "FHWA supports a flexible approach to roadway design that can allow the installation of bicycle facilities on many roadways when they are resurfaced. There should be continued education targeted at design practitioners to emphasize the flexibility that exists within current design guidance, and the strong support of FHWA for using this flexibility to create connected bicycle networks everywhere. These connected bicycle networks provide increased transportation options, enhance access to jobs, schools, and essential services, and increase the utility of our existing transportation network. Providing bicycle facilities when resurfacing roadways is one tool that cities, counties, and States can use to expand their bikeway networks."

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