Better Bikeways for all

Better Bikeways for All


California became the third state to endorse the NACTO Urban Streets Design Guide in a dramatic announcement in Oakland last Thursday. “We’re trying to change the mentality of our Department of Transportation,” emphasized Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

We congratulate Caltrans for taking this big leap forward in bikeway design. As in most states, California’s “highway design manual” is written with the priority of moving cars quickly, while NACTO’s guide is written with the priority of making the street work for all users, including people riding bikes. Malcolm Dougherty is showing great leadership in endorsing NACTO’s Guide. “My job at the Department of Transportation is to at least follow [the cities’] lead and not be an inhibitor to what they want to accomplish,” he said. He even produced this video for his employees:


This move sets the stage for a decisive victory in the “better design” prong of our Better Bikeways campaign. Our next step is to amend AB 1193, The Protected Bikeways Act, to include a provision explicitly freeing local agencies to rely on the best available guidance from around the world, not just Caltrans guidance. With this free and official endorsement of the NACTO guide, protected bikeways, bike boxes, and other innovative treatments expected to be included in the frequently updated NACTO guide will soon be in the toolbox of local planners and engineers across the state.

CalBike’s members made this happen. Two key factors were the pressure of The Protected Bikeways Act and the persistent professional education of Caltrans officials and other stakeholders in the Governor’s administration.

The “Better design” prong of our two-pronged Better Bikeways campaign is close to victory. After we win The Protected Bikeways Act, our work will shift to focusing on promoting the benefits of protected bikeways and other innovations to spread them across the state. 

“More funding” is the next prong. We are looking forward to working with the more bike-friendly Caltrans in finding innovative ways to provide the funding for bike infrastructure that’s necessary to triple biking by 2020.

Start the conversation. Join our social media blast supporting protected bikeways set to go out May 8th, most of the state’s bike to work day.


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