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Infrastructure Policy, Planning And Design Digest





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Bicycle Facilities Planning

Designing good bicycle facilities can be more complex than it first appears. Depending upon the characteristics and number of cyclists, the characteristics of the motor vehicle traffic (speed, volume, size), the road geometrics, adjacent land use, where the various use of the corridor cross paths and other factors, it may be safer to have on-road bicycle facilities that off-road bicycle facilities. We can't tell you from here which is best. That usually requires field study.  We are happy to try to answer questions ("ibike@" our domain name), and the publications in the next item will bring you up to speed on the general issues to consider.

Bike Paths, Lanes and Route Planning and Design Manuals

A very good comprehensive sources of planning and design information for bike paths, lanes and route and other infrastructure elements is the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) "Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, 3rd Edition" (1999).  It is available in the bookstore on their website.  The best online manual for planning and design of bicycle facilities is the State of Oregon's Bicycle Programs Bicycle Planning Manual (PDF).

Congested Streets

Contested Streets is a video about reclaiming cities for people and social activity, by Transportation Alternatives in New York City.  Click on the link to see a five minute trailer.

Bicycle Facility Technology

Cross Alert System warning system for recreational path and public road intersections using wireless, solar and infrared sensor technology.
Biketrack High Density Polyethylene flooring can be used as a substitute for concrete. Recyclable and ecologically friendly material.
Bicycle Technology Institute Bicycle sidepaths, not every idea works.
Bicycle Counters Radio beam bicycle counter, the latest way of counting bicycles on a path.
Design of Traffic Areas

Royal Words

The Prince of Wales, addressing the European Community Conference on the Urban Environment, considered how city planning has given "scour to such an extraordinarily voracious beast" as the automobile. His references to the ravages of the motor car, "which has tended to disfigure our cities more than anything else since the second world war", certainly demonstrates part of his position on environmental issues. [London Times]

Auto-Free Cities

The head of Volvo said, "In the future, there will be one solution: to ban cars from cities." (Montreal Gazette, 4 Aug 1990)
Cities which have major policies to reduce auto traffic include: Oslo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Groningen, Gothenburg, Rome, Milan, Florence, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Krakow, Mexico City, Munich and Budapest. Note: For information on groups around the world advocating policies of auto-free cities contact the International Bicycle Fund.

Cycle Policy For England

The British government has issued a new cycling policy. It has major implications for local authorities. Here are the main points:

  • cycling use has been suppressed;
  • need for a change in perception on the importance of cycling;
  • need to discourage short trips by car and use bikes;
  • Councils are encouraged to increase spending on cycling to improve safety and convenience.

For a synopsis of the policy write to: Cycle-Wise, Bicycle Assoc., Stanley House, Easton Road, Coventry, CV1 2FH, UK

UK National Cycling Strategy

Britain’s first National Cycling Strategy (NCS) has been launched by the Secretary of Transport. The NCS should mark a shift from words to action. Most significantly, targets have been set to double bike use by 2002 and quadruple it by 2012.

The NCS focuses on the potential to transfer short trips from other modes of transport to bicycle. This focus is based on the fact that half of all trips are below 2 miles in length and 60% of car trips are less than 5 miles. Coupled with the fact that cycling in Europe is primarily a practical form of daily transport, the NCS focuses on ‘utility’ cycling and routes within urban areas.

Safe Routes Get Children on to Their Bikes

By Will Bramhill

"Safe routes to schools" is set to become a buzz-phrase in the U.K., not just among planners but with parents, too.  Researchers found that traffic calming not only increases safety but also the perception of safety, so that mums and dads allow their children more freedom — more children cycle and walk under their own steam.

In one study, the number of children allowed to travel independently to school rose from 22 per cent to 33 per cent, and the number allowed to visit local shops rose from 27 per cent to 33 per cent.

The DOT set aside £31 million to put in more 20mph zones and reduce child casualties. One target is the busy A27 in Fareham, Hants, which is being narrowed to one lane each way.  They hope for results like in Winchester where traffic calming cut speeds in two shortcuts near schools from 45mph to an average of 12mph.

The government is also to put more emphasis on drivers responsibilities, encouraging them to be more aware of children. The charity Sustrans believes that once the success of its various pilot schemes is proven then there will be a huge demand from schools nationwide for Safe Routes.

As a guide for parents and teachers wanting to see if their route is suitable, Sustrans published a 7-point checklist:

  1. Safe routes should follow those used currently by pupils as far as possible. Savings in distance and time are as important for children as adults.
  2. Reducing conflict with traffic is crucial; with traffic calming or traffic-free routes, or a combination of the two.
  3. Routes should be as wide as possible. Children prefer to travel in company and the short times of peak school travel means pavements and cycle lanes are likely to be crowded.
  4. Measures which deter cars from using safe routes tend to make safe routes safer and also serve to reduce school escort trips.
  5. The location and design of specific safety measures should take into account children's and parents' fears.
  6. Routes need to be continuous and extend far enough from the school in several directions to serve the majority of pupils.
  7. Routes should be designed to permit secondary and older primary school pupils to walk or cycle along them unaccompanied.

Further information:  Sustrans homepage:

[Source: The Bicycle News Agency, Editor Ernst Poulsen]

U.S. Cycle Policy - NOT

The US government has issued its National Transportation Policy. Bicycle and pedestrian are included! Page 100 says, "It is federal transportation policy to promote the increased use of bicycling, and encourage planners and engineers to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian needs in designing transportation facilities for urban and suburban areas."

Subsequently, the US government issued its National Energy Policy. The transportation implications of the documents are insuring the oil supply to facilitate increased motorization at all levels of travel.

Bicycle Friendly Community

"Bicycle Friendly Community" is a project of the League of American Bicyclists, The purpose is to increase awareness and acceptance of bicycling as a means of transport, recreation, and fitness, and to promote bicycle safety both on and off the road.

The program achieves its purpose by:

  • Encouraging local governments to make a continuing commitment to developing and maintaining safe on and off street bicycling facilities.
  • Requiring communication between local government and the bicycling community on cycling related issues.
  • Promoting bicycling events and bicycle safety.
  • Recognizing communities meeting bicycling related criteria.

For the complete program description and qualification process contact:  LAB, 1612 K St NW #401, Washington DC 20006 USA. Email:  Internet:

Copenhagen Presents First Bicycle Balance Sheet

By Ernst Poulsen [Bicycle News Agency]

For years the concept of green accounting has been discussed and developed. Now Copenhagen pushes the concept further. The city - which is a member of both the "Cities for Cyclists"- and the "Car-Free Cities" clubs - has presented the worlds first bicycle balance sheet, the newspaper Berlingske Tidende reports.

As all normal balance sheets - the bicycle balance sheet is to be presented once a year - with the clear aim of achieving better and better bottom lines.

This first year, 63% of the cyclists found Copenhagen to be a good or fairly good city for cyclists, 54% are satisfied with the number of bicycle paths, but only 26% find the maintenance of the bike paths to be anywhere near good. A similar low number of cyclists find the snow clearing in winter-time satisfactory.

Moving Right Along: Lessons From Transportation and Healthy Communities Advocates

As advocates, we spend much of our time and energy sustaining the daily momentum of Campaign work. We could strengthen our efforts, if only we had more time to research the lessons learned by colleagues who are striving toward similar goals. "Moving Right Along," is a series of case studies that details how advocates have been effective, and what has not worked so well in their struggle for healthier communities with cleaner, more efficient transportation systems that serve all people equally. For a copy of the series, send $2.50 to the Gas Guzzler Campaign, c/o International Center for Technology Assessment, 310 D St. NE, Washington, DC 20002 USA. .

Model Bicycle Plan

Ben Gomberg recently prepared a "Model Bicycle Plan" to assist towns preparing or revising their plans. The plan gives suggestions for bicycle-friendly policies relating to; planning, engineering, encouragement, education and enforcement. For your free copy write to: Ben Gomberg, 601 William St., London, ON N6B 3G1 CANADA.

Comprehensive Bicycle Policy

The Government Affairs Committee, Cascade Bicycle Club in Seattle has written a "Comprehensive Bicycle Transportation Policy and Advocates Handbook." The book covers more than eighty topics that affect bicycling from Air Quality to Zoning Codes. The advocacy section of the handbook gives tactics, instructions and a comprehensive list of local contacts essential for success with local government. IBF is a consultant on the project. Copies ($5 plus postage) are available from CBC, PO Box 31299, Seattle, WA 98103-1299 USA.

Don't Drive Zimbabwe To A Halt

The Zimbabwe Ministry of Energy & Water Resources & Development has been running a series of large newspaper advertisements addressed to "Dear Motorist" with the banner "Don't Drive Zimbabwe To A Halt". The text of the ad suggests bicycling, public transportation and ridesharing. For motorists who must use their cars they suggest ways to reduce fuel consumption. In Parliament, Elliot Mujana, called on the government to buy more bicycles, instead of cars. Generally in Zimbabwe demand has shot up. The factories can't keep up with demand because the aren't allocated the foreign exchange to buy a few essential components. With the foreign exchange for one lightweight pickup truck, they can import essential parts for 150 bicycles. [The Herald, The Sunday News]

Cycling In Denmark

Danish bicycle activist has produced an eight part slide show about the Danish experience in bicycle planning. The package includes a text, a book and 45 quality slides mounted in frames. The price is DkK500. Contact: Idþv'rkstedet De Frie Fugle, NY Adelgade 5A,3, 1104 Kobenhavn K, DENMARK.

Cycling In Great Britain

May 1991, saw the first ever House of Commons Select Committee on Transportation session devoted entirely to the subject of cycling. The transcript of the session, including the written submissions of the London Cycling Campaign, Cycle Touring Club and the Dept. of Transportation, is available from HMSO, PO Box 276, London SW8 5DT, UK, at þ11.85 under the title "Transport Committee Minutes of Evidence on Cycling (Wed 8 May 1991)

European Cycling Federation Policy

From the 1990 annual meeting of the ECF in Torino:

car fumes are a main contributor to global climate changes which threatens mankind.
car death tolls are far beyond any acceptable numbers.
urban space with mass motoring & parking is not livable.
car noise and fumes reduce urban quality and are a threat to people's health.
car traffic offends and impedes the more social, environmental, economic and futuristic form of travel: bicycle transport.
recreation areas, landscapes and nature suffer from motor vehicle use.

Offered as solutions: the bicycle should be promoted as a major means of transportation; environmentally-oriented tourism must be promoted to create an alternative to car and air holiday trips; worldwide restrictions to car production, use, speed and parking in urban areas should be promoted; and the bicycle and public transport systems must be improved as a substitute private motor vehicle use.

Multimodal Transportation

Pierce Transit (WA) has published a study titled "Non-Motorized Travel Integration Project." Among the reports covers policies, standards and design features which will encourage non-motorized travel, with particular attention to improving access to public transportation. One finding of the study is that people need safe and convenient access to transit before they will use it.

Bike-Friendly Taxis

Taxis in Copenhagen, Denmark, are required to carry bicycle racks.

Bike For A Better Community

An on-street bicycle lane project in San Diego is credited with reducing accidents and crime, and improving property values.

During the 1988-89 school year, nine accidents involving (one fatal) were reported along the affected road. During the 1989-90 school year, after the improvements, just three non-fatal accidents were reported. Also, area residents have reported a decrease in daytime burglaries. A community leader attributes this to the fact that thieves are no longer able to park get-away cars on the street in front of the housing complex. The increase in property value is attributed to the improved appearance of the area. The streets are no longer used for storage of cars and boats on trailers, or as a dump for junk cars and display of cars for sale.

Multi-Use Trails Manual

Certainly if you are new to, and quite possibly if you are a veteran at, planning, designing and/or managing multi-use pedestrian, bicycling, equestrian and/or cross-country ski trails you will be able to improve your project by spending a couple of hours with "Trails For The Twenty-first Century: Planning, Design and Management Manual for Multi-Use Trails." This well written and well illustrated book by Karen-Lee Ryan of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, is a very well organized and systematic dressing down of a large and diverse topic. At each juncture alternatives are presented and pros and cons explained.

Topics include:

  • Conducting a physical and cultural assessment of the trail site
  • Compliance with legislation (i.e. ADA), and design standards
  • Solving difficult design situations, such as road crossings, drainage problems, and sight distances
  • How to design and locate trail support facilities, such as parking areas, restrooms, and benches
  • Strategies for reducing trail user conflicts and liability
  • Methods for successfully marketing a completed trail.

"Trails For The Twenty-first Century" provides the specific information needed to make trails that link neighborhoods to community and cultural resources, small towns to metropolitan areas, and city centers to countryside. $24.95 plus $4 shipping, Rail-To-Trails Conservancy, 1718 Connecticut Ave. #300, Washington, DC 20009. Tel. 202-232-7933.

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The International Bicycle Fund is an independent, non-profit organization. Its primary purpose is to promote bicycle transportation. Most IBF projects and activities fall into one of  four categories: planning and engineering, safety education, economic development assistance and promoting international understanding. IBF's objective is to create a sustainable, people-friendly environment by creating opportunities of the highest practicable quality for bicycle transportation. IBF is funded by private donation. Contributions are always welcome and are U.S. tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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