New Years Better Bikeways Update
CalBike’s Better Bikeways campaign for safer design standards is on the verge of a breakthrough in 2014. With the leadership of Assemblymember Phil Ting and the support of Senator Mark Leno, we’re proposing legislation that would require Caltrans to update its bikeway standards to include minimum safety criteria for protected bikeways or “cycle tracks.” AB 1193 would define cycle tracks as a facility in the roadway but separated from car traffic with some physical barrier. Distinct from bike lanes, cycle tracks would not be compulsory like bike lanes (under certain conditions).
California Secretary of Transportation Brian Kelly, who spoke at our California by Bike summit, has often cited sustainability as a key priority of the California Transportation Agency. He’s learning that state regulations are impeding local agencies’ ability to encourage more bicycling through better design and is working closely with us to figure out how to get the state out of the way of local agencies who want to build protected bikeways and other safer designs.
One proposal is to require local agencies to designate design manuals for use in implementing their bikeways but eliminate the requirement to use Caltrans’ standards. Cities could adopt the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, for example. Caltrans standards would still apply to Caltrans-owned bikeways, but design controls for locally-owned bikeways would be on par with design controls for locally-owned streets.
Three might be the lucky number for bicycle safety in California. The Three Feet for Safety Act finally passed on the third attempt. This is the third year that we’ve tried to implement a significant reform in bikeway design in California. Follow the campaign by signing up for our email blasts.