Caltrans Looking to Join Push for Better Bikeway Standards

Despite the demand for better bikeways protected from speeding traffic, Caltrans’ design rules prevent local governments from building the best possible designs. But that is changing. We are working directly with the Governor’s appointed Transportation Secretary and enjoying a new mindset at Caltrans whose Director Malcolm Dougherty is cooperating with our work to reform those design rules. Prospects look good this year for approval of protected bikeways, the most important design in the Urban Bikeway Design Guide of the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

Missoula Protected Bikeway

Assembly Bill 1193 will add protected bikeways, called “cycle tracks,” as a “class 4 bikeway” to the three types of bikeways currently defined by the Streets & Highways Code — “bike paths” completely separate from the roadway, “bike lanes” that are part of the roadway, and “bike routes” that merely indicate a road designated as a preferred route for bicycling but not necessarily with improvements. Authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting from San Francisco,the bill also requires Caltrans to come up with standards for developing cycle tracks, ensuring that they will be added to the toolbox for engineers and planners.

Assemblymember Phil Ting of San Francisco is working to bring protected bikeways to all of California.

Assemblymember Phil Ting of San Francisco is working to bring protected bikeways to all of California.

Creating a new class of bikeway distinguishes a protected bikeway from a regular bike lane, ensuring that the requirement to use a bike lane if present will not apply. The bill has also started a conversation about the role of Caltrans in controlling design standards at the local level and what Caltrans can do to promote modern designs that will attract more people to biking.

AB 1193 has passed the Assembly with a 58-16 vote. From here it goes to the Senate where CalBike will take advantage of the growing momentum for better bikeways to do even more with the bill.

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One thought on “Caltrans Looking to Join Push for Better Bikeway Standards”

  1. CindyCyclist says:

    So-o-o great to read of CalTrans’ cooperative attitude toward broadening bike infrastructure standards! The photo illustrates so well what is possible. Kudos to Malcolm Dougherty and staff for desiring to improve cycling, and to Dave Snyder and staff for creating a good working relationship with them. Long may it continue. For the first time, I’m optimistic about what can be achieved.