GlossaryGlossary

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Advance Boxessearch for term

Advance boxes allow cyclists to wait in front of motorists at a red light and then enter the intersection first after the signal changes. Generally, they are well-marked by paint. Advance boxes are quite popular in Europe and have been piloted in several American cities including Davis, California and Portland, Oregon. They are often accompanied by an exclusive bicycle signal (see Bicycle Signal Heads) that turns green a few seconds before the signal for motorists. Advance boxes work best in locations where:

* Well-used bike lanes or Bike/Walk Streets (aka: Bicycle Boulevards) exist;
* The street to be crossed is busier than the street with the advance boxes; and
* A large number of the cyclists using the advance boxes will be turning left. This gives cyclists extra time to move from the bike lane to the proper side of the travel lane to make a left turn.

Advisory Bike Lanessearch for term

With Advisory Bike Lanes the center line has been removed from the road in order to have room to stripe “advisory” bike lanes. The dashed lines (as opposed to solid) allow motor vehicles to occupy that space when a bicyclist is not using it. Without the center line striping, motorists are encouraged to travel slower and move more to the left when overtaking bicyclists.

Advisory bike lanes are very common in Northern Europe, not only on urban streets, but on the lesser traveled rural roadways. They are used when there are fewer than 6,000 cars a day (but more than say 1,000, when bike lanes are not really necessary) and when there is not enough width to stripe both the bike lanes and travel lanes (and parking lane, when that is desired).

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Bicycle Parking Facilitiessearch for term

Studies show that a lack of bicycle parking facilities is a significant barrier to bicycle use. Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Project (NTP) funds can be used to purchase bike racks at locations like schools, shopping centers, workplaces, libraries, post offices, recreational areas, and other centers of activity. Racks placed on private property must be available for the general public. Grid bicycle racks will not be funded. Racks should be located in highly visible locations near the front entrance of an establishment and closer to the building than motor vehicle parking. A number of cities (including Palo Alto, California and Madison, Wisconsin) require that all new developments provide adequate bicycle parking and specify that the spaces “cannot be farther away than the closest car parking space.”

Bicycle Signal Headssearch for term

Bicycle signal heads are stoplight signals that give cyclists a few seconds of a head start in passing through the intersection. They are especially useful when used in conjunction with Advance Boxes, and are also recommended in places where a right turn lane for motorists crosses a side bicycle path. Right-turning vehicles receive a red arrow signal during the green phase for bicyclists. Such bicycle signals have worked successfully in Davis, California and are common in Europe.

Bicycle Signal Headssearch for term

Bicycle signal heads are stoplight signals that give cyclists a few seconds of a head start in passing through the intersection. They are especially useful when used in conjunction with Advance Boxes, and are also recommended in places where a right turn lane for motorists crosses a side bicycle path. Right-turning vehicles receive a red arrow signal during the green phase for bicyclists. Such bicycle signals have worked successfully in Davis, California and are common in Europe.

Bike Lanessearch for term

Bike lanes are on-street facilities at least 5 feet wide for each-way travel consistent with the flow of traffic and generally on the right side of the travel lane(s). Applicants are encouraged to provide as much width as possible for bike lanes and consider novel treatments to make lanes more inviting and conspicuous (such as colored asphalt). On streets that are one-way for cars, consideration should be given to providing a contra-flow bike lane in addition to a bike lane going with traffic. (See Contra-flow Lanes). Two-way bike lanes (not separated) are inconsistent with AASHTO standards and will not be funded.

Bike lanes are generally marked with a painted line, although some bicycle lanes have physical barriers between motorized traffic and bicyclists. (See Raised Bike Lanes)

Bike Paths or Multi-Use Trailssearch for term

Most bike paths are shared-use facilities that accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians, and skaters. When possible, pedestrians should be separated from the bicyclists on bike paths and multi-use trails. These off-street facilities are often located along rivers, railroad corridors, utility easements, and canals, or through parks and other open space. In such places, bike paths and multi-use trails should safely allow for two-way travel with a minimum total width of 10 feet (12 feet when shared with pedestrians). Two-way trails adjacent to urban streets (side paths) are not recommended due to the high number of intersections and driveway crossings. Rather, one-way on-street bike lanes for bicyclists (see Bike Lanes) and sidewalks for pedestrians are recommended. If “side paths” are deemed the only suitable solution, one-way trails should be placed on both sides of the roadway for bike travel in the same direction as motorized traffic. Such trails should be a minimum of seven feet wide and well marked with one-way directional arrows. Generally, two-way side paths will not be eligible under the NTP program because of safety concerns.

Short bike paths and trails that allow bicyclists and pedestrians to travel between cul-de-sacs or dead end streets and other roads or destinations are strongly encouraged. These short paths should be well-marked as part of the”Dead End” signage in order to maximize use. (See Shortcuts).

Bike Routesearch for term

The term ‘bike route’ may denote any corridor recommended for bicycle travel. For planning purposes, the term is limited to roads marked with bike route signs. There is no uniform or consistent methodology to determine which roads are suitable for such a designation. As a result, many bicyclists believe that designated “bike routes” do more harm than good, since they mislead motorists into believing that cyclists shouldn’t travel on roads without such signs. Bike route signs can help cyclists navigate gaps that exist in the bikeway network. In such situations, the signs should also include information directing cyclists to the nearest Bike Path or Bike Lane.

Bike Stationssearch for term

Bike stations are facilities where people can park bikes, rent bikes, get bikes fixed, obtain maps, rent lockers, and sometimes even take a shower. Most bike stations, especially in Europe , are connected to a train station or other major transit hub, allowing for convenient multi-modal travel. Full-service bike stations with sheltered parking for 3,000 or more bicycles can be found in Germany , Japan , Denmark , and the Netherlands . Neighborhoods are encouraged to partner with nonprofit organizations and other civic groups to create local bike stations where bike riding and repair skills are taught to the public and where reconditioned bikes can be made available for rent or purchase at a low cost.

Bike/Walk Streetssearch for term

Although bike boulevards or bicycle streets can be located anywhere, they are generally located on a low-traveled street (less than 3,000 cars a day) that is parallel to a nearby arterial street where bike lanes are not feasible. To attract bicyclists who want to travel at a steady pace, Bike/Walk Streets (aka: Bicycle Boulevards) must be properly designed and engineered. Typically, many stop signs are removed to give priority to bicycle movement. Other features of Bike/Walk Streets (aka: Bicycle Boulevards) or bicycle streets include:

· Minimal delays at stoplights

· Restricted automobile access (aside from local traffic)

· Traffic calming measures to reduce motor vehicle speeds and through trips

· Special pavement markings denoting a Bike/Walk Street (aka: Bicycle Boulevard)

· Reduction of speed limits to 25 miles per hour or lower

· Installation of alternating one-way blocks or periodic closures for motor vehicles (when necessary to improve cycling conditions)

Synonyms: Bicycle Boulevards
Bridges/Overpassessearch for term

NTP funds will not be used to construct an overpass where a suitable at-grade (ground level) crossing is possible. Studies show that most pedestrians and bicyclists will avoid an overpass if an at-grade crossing is available. Not only do overpasses and bridges cost far more to build, but they also take more time to use and demand more exertion from users. Techniques to reduce delays and increase the safety of non-motorists at major intersections should be fully explored before an overpass or Underpass is considered (see Signal Improvements, Trail Crossings, and Traffic Calming ). Special bike and pedestrian facilities bridging rivers, creeks, rail yards, or freeways are eligible for funding, but they must demonstrate cost-effectiveness.

Bump-outs or Curb Extensionssearch for term

These features (also known as "neck-downs“) shorten the distance a pedestrian must walk to cross a street by, as the name suggests, bumping out the sidewalk into the intersection. Bump-outs increase the visibility of pedestrians to motorists and slow down right-turning motorists. They also promote safety by shortening the amount of time a pedestrian is in the line of vehicle traffic. Bump-outs work especially well on busy collector streets and minor arterials where on-street parking is allowed. . Bump-outs do not curtail the use of Bike Lanes and are shown to be compatible with Bike/Walk Streets (aka: Bicycle Boulevards).

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Contra-flow Bike Lanessearch for term

Special lanes allowing bicyclists to travel in the opposite direction of motorists on one-way streets have been successfully piloted in Minneapolis and other cities. Since this is an innovative strategy in the U.S., lanes need to be well marked with warning signs at all side streets. (In Copenhagen, Denmark and some German cities, bicyclists have two-way travel on all one-way streets—consequently, no special signs are required). Contra-flow lanes should be located on the side of the street that is consistent with normal two-way movement (e.g., northbound bike lane on a southbound one way street should be located on the east side of the street). To prevent wrong way riding within the contra-flow lane, a regular bike lane (on the opposite side of the street) should also be provided.

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Diverterssearch for term

Diverters are structures (including bollards, landscaped medians, or public art) that compel motor vehicles to turn right or left on a street where bicyclists and pedestrians are free to continue in the same direction. Street markings (preferably colored asphalt) should be used to help non-motorists safely cross a street and move through the diverters. This Traffic Calming approach is quite useful in creating Bike/Walk Streets (aka: Bicycle Boulevards).

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Four to Three Lane Conversionssearch for term

see “Multiple Lane Conversion/Reduction Projects"

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Incentive Programssearch for term

To encourage more people to walk and bike, many cities have started incentive programs. All city employees in Olympia, Washington , for instance, receive $2 per day if they walk, bike, or use public transportation to get to work. In Arlington, Virginia , city employees who ride or walk to work at least three times a week receive an extra $35 per month. The City of Westerville, Ohio, devised a program that provides employees with an extra 15 minutes of vacation time for each day they bike or walk to work (one day of vacation roughly every six weeks for full-time bikers and walkers). These cities say that the incentives pay for themselves through savings in parking costs, health benefits, and increased productivity at work.

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Lane Narrowingsearch for term

It’s commonly assumed that Bike Lanes, wider sidewalks and other improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians will require wider roads and more right-of-way. Experience in Minnesota and elsewhere, however, shows that significant improvements can be made without widening the current roadway. By re-striping travel lanes or reducing the number of travel lanes (often called a “road diet“), pedestrian and bicyclist needs can be accommodated without widening the street.

· For sidewalks. Consider the following example: A residential street is built to a 44 foot (or greater) standard in many communities. If the street is has a curb, an additional curb can be built over the existing surface, six feet (+/-) in from the existing curb, and a sidewalk can be placed between the two curbs. Some adjustments to drainage inlets will have to be made.

For residential streets. It is not uncommon for local streets to be as narrow as 28 feet with parking on both sides. These are called queuing streets, since two vehicles cannot pass side-by-side when cars are parked on both sides. These have been demonstrated to be as safe (or safer) than wider streets, and they provide ample room for sidewalks while still preserving the landscaping. Many wider residential streets could be safely narrowed to these dimensions.
For collector streets and arterials. Where traffic volumes allow (generally under 20,000 ADT), consideration should be given to reducing travel lanes from four to two lanes with a shared center lane for left turns to allow space for Bike Lanes on both sides of the street (see Multiple Lane Conversions). Less popular, but possible in many areas, is the elimination of parking from at least one side of the street. Reducing travel lane widths to 10 feet or lower (which requires a variance) especially on streets with four or more lanes, can also make room for bike lanes. Even if enough space for a regulation Bike Lane can’t be achieved on both sides, simply having a wider curb lane can significantly improve the cycling environment. Many U.S. cities (including Madison, Wisconsin and Chicago) have reduced lane widths on urban arterials to 10 feet in order to add space for bicyclists.

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Medians/Refuge Islandssearch for term

Medians can become a refuge for pedestrians and bicyclists trying to cross a busy roadway. With a safe haven in the middle of the street, bicyclists and pedestrians only need to negotiate half of the motor traffic at a time. This is especially important to elderly and disabled people as well as to those traveling with small children. To create a useful median, the median needs to have a curb cut and be at least six feet wide. For a median to be useful for cyclists pulling trailers, 10 feet is the minimum width.

Mid-block Crossingssearch for term

Mid-block crossings are often safer than intersection crossings because they are free of vehicle turning movements. These crossings are especially useful in areas with high levels of jaywalking, since they provide clear places to cross the street at often-jaywalked locations. Mark ed mid-block crosswalks should be accompanied by signs and/or special signals to ensure motorist compliance and pedestrian safety. Mid-block crossings (and trail crossings) on roads with more than two lanes should always be signalized or provided with Medians/Refuge Islands .

Multiple Lane Conversion/Reduction Projectssearch for term

A preliminary assessment conducted by Transit for Livable Communities indicates that numerous four-lane streets in Minneapolis and adjoining communities could be converted to three lanes with negligible impact on the level of service for motorists. Four to three lane conversions provide a single lane for each direction of travel, but allow for left turns from the center lane. These conversions typically free up enough space for Bike Lanes to be added on both sides of the street and to improve conditions for pedestrians. There is also considerable potential for six to five lane conversions and, on many one-way streets, three to two lane conversions. Four to three lane conversions have been successful even on major arterial roads with annual average daily traffic (AADT) greater than 25,000.

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Parking Benefit Districtssearch for term

Special parking districts can be instituted to provide dedicated funding for non-motorized travel improvements in a business node or corridor. The fees paid by motorists to park in such a district can be earmarked for new sidewalks, transit enhancements, lighting, Signage, police enforcement, and other costs. Highly successful examples of this strategy are described in the The High Cost of Free Parking by Donald Shoup (2005, APA Planners Press). The best known example of a parking benefit district is on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California.

Pedestrian Districtssearch for term

Special pedestrian zones offering wide sidewalks, public spaces, benches, scenic landscaping and other amenities can increase the safety of pedestrians and boost the spirit of community in an area. People will walk more regularly and interact with one another more frequently in a pleasant place away from the roar of traffic. A pedestrian district can range from an expanded sidewalk in one spot to a full-fledged Pedestrian Plaza or mall, which transforms life along an entire street.

Pedestrian Plazassearch for term

Pedestrian plazas are sections of business districts that are closed off to cars, or allow motorized access only for deliveries and loading. Such projects significantly boost the number of walkers. They often become lively gathering spots for the whole community and are common in many European South American cities. Notable American examples include: Santa Monica, California; Boulder, Colorado; Iowa City, Iowa; Burlington, Vermont; and Charlottesville, Virginia.

Pedestrian Scale Lightingsearch for term

Pedestrian scale lighting provides illumination for the sidewalk not just the roadway. It discourages crime and makes it more inviting to walk at night. Many communities find these streetlamps create a pleasant atmosphere that boosts pedestrian use even during the day.

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Raised Bike Lanessearch for term

Also known as “cycle tracks,” these on-street facilities are typically separated from motorized traffic by a parking lane. A rise roughly equal to half the usual curb height prevents cars in the parking lane from occupying any part of the bike lane. Raised bike lanes should be a minimum of seven feet to allow for riding two abreast and be built in one-way configurations on both sides of the street. In many ways, raised bicycle lanes provide the security of off-street Bike Paths without the high costs for a separate right of way and without the inherent safety problems at crossings.

Road Narrowingsearch for term

It’s commonly assumed that Bike Lanes, wider sidewalks and other improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians will require wider roads and more right-of-way. Experience in Minnesota and elsewhere, however, shows that significant improvements can be made without widening the current roadway. By re-striping travel lanes or reducing the number of travel lanes (often called a “road diet“), pedestrian and bicyclist needs can be accommodated without widening the street.

· For sidewalks. Consider the following example: A residential street is built to a 44 foot (or greater) standard in many communities. If the street is has a curb, an additional curb can be built over the existing surface, six feet (+/-) in from the existing curb, and a sidewalk can be placed between the two curbs. Some adjustments to drainage inlets will have to be made.

For residential streets. It is not uncommon for local streets to be as narrow as 28 feet with parking on both sides. These are called queuing streets, since two vehicles cannot pass side-by-side when cars are parked on both sides. These have been demonstrated to be as safe (or safer) than wider streets, and they provide ample room for sidewalks while still preserving the landscaping. Many wider residential streets could be safely narrowed to these dimensions.
For collector streets and arterials. Where traffic volumes allow (generally under 20,000 ADT), consideration should be given to reducing travel lanes from four to two lanes with a shared center lane for left turns to allow space for Bike Lanes on both sides of the street (see Multiple Lane Conversions). Less popular, but possible in many areas, is the elimination of parking from at least one side of the street. Reducing travel lane widths to 10 feet or lower (which requires a variance) especially on streets with four or more lanes, can also make room for bike lanes. Even if enough space for a regulation Bike Lane can’t be achieved on both sides, simply having a wider curb lane can significantly improve the cycling environment. Many U.S. cities (including Madison, Wisconsin and Chicago) have reduced lane widths on urban arterials to 10 feet in order to add space for bicyclists.

Roundaboutssearch for term

Roundabouts, widely used in Europe and on the East Coast, offer an innovative solution for busy, problematic intersections and can benefit all road users when properly designed. Potential danger points for pedestrians and bicyclists can be greatly reduced, and crossing distances are also shortened. Roundabouts need to be designed to move traffic at no more than 18 miles per hour through the intersection. Bike Lanes can be part of a roundabout, but it is actually safer to encourage cyclists to take up the full traffic lane to avoid crossing conflicts. All pedestrian crossings need to be well-marked, with prominent signs reminding motorists that pedestrians have the right of way. Recommended features include a landscaped center island, patterned concrete truck apron (a gradually sloped, flat curb), and a splitter island (an island in the roundabout that separates entering and exiting traffic) at each approach, which deflects traffic to the right and serves as a refuge for pedestrians. Some of the best examples of effective roundabouts are located around Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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Shortcutssearch for term

Shortcuts are popular with bicyclists and pedestrians. When enough people discover a shortcut, they often make what is sometimes called a ‘cow path’ in a vegetated area. Planners look for these unofficial public paths (often through parks or schoolyards, across railroad tracks, or from dead-end streets) for opportunities to add sidewalks or trails. Creating more designated shortcuts is a proven way to encourage people to walk or bicycle. Sometimes right-of-way or easement needs to be negotiated. Because of short distances, shortcuts are generally quite cost-effective.

Signal Improvements for Pedestrianssearch for term

Any projects that result in shorter waits at stoplights for cyclists and longer walk lights for pedestrians are encouraged. The conversion of push-button walk lights (which do not operate unless punched by the pedestrian) to fixed-time signals (offering an automatic walk phase) is an example of an eligible project under the NTP category of Operational Improvements. The funding of pedestrian pushbuttons will be considered only in locations where pedestrian traffic is intermittent and there is currently no walk phase as part of the traffic signal. Quick response to the pushbutton should be programmed into the system and the pushbuttons need to be easily accessible to pedestrians in wheelchairs and people with visual disabilities.

Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) systems give pedestrians a walk signal at a traffic light before the motorists get a green light. This makes pedestrians more visible to motorists, and motorists more likely to yield. This is especially recommended where there are two lanes of turning traffic. LPI systems need to be accompanied by an audible signal (during the walk phase) to accommodate the visually impaired.

Exclusive Pedestrian Phase systems at a stoplight halt motorized traffic in all directions so that pedestrians can cross unhindered. This may be preferable to the LPI at intersections where there are high volumes of turning motor vehicles. E xclusive pedestrian timing has been shown to reduce vehicle-pedestrian collisions by 50 percent in downtown locations where pedestrian traffic is especially heavy. Since this system results in longer delays for pedestrians unless the length of vehicular phases is reduced, applicants will need to specify their plans to ensure that the wait between walk signals will not be lengthened.

HAWK signal only turns on when activated by a pedestrian or bicyclist. When wishing to cross the street, they press a button and the signal begins with a FLASHING YELLOW indication to warn the approaching drivers. The FLASHING YELLOW is then followed by a SOLID YELLOW indication, advising the drivers to prepare to stop. The signal is then changed to a SOLID RED indication at which time the pedestrian is shown a WALK indication. The beacon signal then converts to an ALTERNATING FLASHING RED, allowing the drivers to proceed when safe, after stopping at the crosswalk.

Signs and Signagesearch for term

All traffic control signs should conform to the Manual for Uniform Control Devices (MUTCD). New and innovative signs will be considered if an applicant is willing to apply to MUTCD for experimental study status. Distance/Destination signs, which provide information about distance to particular destinations, are an effective way to promote walking and biking and should be considered as part of any bikeway or walkway project. In Portland, Oregon, signs include estimated riding times to key destination points!

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Traffic Calmingsearch for term

Traffic calming encompasses a series of measures that improve pedestrian safety and comfort, as well as helping motorists understand that they share the road with walkers and cyclists. There are numerous traffic calming strategies, including changing the geometry of a street, installing Diverters or Medians, planting trees within the right of way, elevating crosswalks, adding Bump-outs or Bike Lanes, Road Narrowing, using creative graphics, installing speed bumps, or markings on the roadway, and locating businesses and homes close to the street. The goal of traffic calming is to reduce vehicular speeds and make a corridor more pleasant and safe for pedestrians, bicyclists, and all road users.

Trail Crossingssearch for term

There is considerable confusion among public officials and the public on the use of traffic control devices (including crosswalk markings) in spots where multi-modal trails cross streets and highways. Because trails are public right-of-ways, and because bicyclists are defined as operators of vehicles, a crosswalk (whether marked or unmarked) legally exists wherever a Bike Path or Multi-Use Trail intersects the roadway.

Bicyclists have the rights and duties of pedestrians when they enter a crosswalk. Minnesota State Law provides that motorists must stop for a pedestrian or bicyclist within a crosswalk. Any signage and markings on the roadway and trail way should conform to the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

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Underpassessearch for term

Underpasses are not recommended where suitable at-grade crossings are feasible. When underpasses are necessary, they should be designed and constructed in a way that allows maximum light to shine in, and the entrances should be clearly visible from the street level. These measures will reduce personal safety concerns. (See Bridges/Overpasses). Minimizing the slope will increase safety and convenience.