What you need to know:
“Can, where, and should…”… read the full article below:
CT BIKEWAY AND WALKWAY PLANNING AND DESIGN GUIDELINES can be found here: http://www.ct.gov/dot/LIB/dot/documents/dbikes/netchapter4.pdf
Of particular note – the following excerpts from the above document:
“Multi-use Paths – Multi-use paths are trails generally located on exclusive rights-of-way and with minimal cross flow by motor vehicles. They should be used to serve corridors not served by streets and highways or where wide rights-of-way exist permitting such facilities to be constructed away from the influence of parallel streets. Multi-use paths should offer opportunities not provided by the road system. They can either provide a recreational opportunity or, in some instances, can serve as direct high-speed commuter routes if cross flow by motor vehicles can be minimized. The most common uses are along highway rights-of way, rivers, oceanfronts, canals, utility rights-of-way, abandoned railroad rights-of-way, within college campuses, or within and between parks. There may also be situations where such facilities can be provided as part of planned developments. Another common application is to eliminate impediments to bicycle travel caused by construction of freeways, or because of the existence of natural barriers. Right of-way widths have to be such that adequate room exists for the separated facilities and physical separation of the modes.”
Multi-use Path Bicycle Route Multi-use paths are trails generally located on exclusive rights-of-way and with minimal cross flow by motor vehicles. Multi-use paths can serve a variety of purposes. For example, a connecting trail between two cul-de-sac streets can provide commuter bicyclists with a shortcut through a residential neighborhood or around a barrier. Located in a park, a multi-use path can provide a wide variety of users with an enjoyable recreational experience. Multi-use paths can be located along abandoned railroad rights-of-way, the banks of rivers and other similar linear corridors. Multi-use paths also can provide access to areas that are otherwise served only by limited access highways closed to bicycles. Appropriate locations should be identified during the planning process.
Separating Paths and Highways When two-way multi-use paths are located immediately adjacent to a roadway, operational problems may occur. The following are some problems with bike paths located immediately adjacent to roadways:
1. They require one direction of bicycle traffic to ride against traffic, contrary to normal rules of the road.
2. When the path ends, bicyclists going against traffic tend to continue to travel on the wrong side of the street. Likewise, bicyclists approaching multi-use paths often travel on the wrong side of the street to get to the path. Wrong way riding is a major cause of bicycle/automobile crashes and should be discouraged at every opportunity.
3. At intersections, motorists entering or crossing the highway often will not notice bicyclists coming from their right, as they are not expecting contra-flow vehicles. Even bicyclists coming from the left often go unnoticed, especially when sight distances are poor.
4. When constructed in narrow roadway right-of-way, the shoulder is often sacrificed, thereby decreasing safety for motorists and bicyclists using the roadway.
5. Many bicyclists will use the highway instead of the multi-use path because they have found the highway to be safer, more convenient or better maintained. Bicyclists using the highway are often subjected to harassment by motorists who feel that in all cases bicyclists should be on the path instead.
6. Bicyclists using the bicycle path generally are required to stop or yield at all cross streets and driveways, while bicyclists using the highway usually have priority over cross traffic because they have the same right-of-way as motorists.
7. Stopped cross street motor vehicle traffic or vehicles exiting side streets or driveways may block the path crossing.
8. Because of the closeness of motor vehicle traffic to opposing bicycle traffic, barriers are often necessary to keep motor vehicles out of multi-use paths and bicycles out of traffic lanes. These barriers can be a hazard to bicyclists and motorists, can complicate maintenance of the facility and can cause other problems as well.
For these reasons, on street facilities, such as wide curb-lanes or bicycle lanes, may be the best way to accommodate bicycle traffic along highway corridors depending upon traffic conditions.
Safety Use Conflicts – Different types of facilities introduce different types of conflicts. On street facilities can involve conflicts between bicyclists and motor vehicles. Multi-use paths usually involve conflicts with other bicyclists and pedestrians on the path, and with moving and parked motor vehicles at street intersections, curb cuts, and driveways. Sidewalk facilities can increase conflicts with pedestrians, motor vehicles at highway and driveway intersections, and fixed objects such as utility poles and guy wires. Accidents – Reducing the number of bicycle accidents along routes is important. The potential for alleviating accident problems through the improvement of a facility should be assessed, as should the potential for introducing new accident problems. When locating bicycle routes, the following guidelines should be followed in order to reduce the potential accidents:
1. The location of bicycle routes should be governed by the principle that the facility should not encourage or require bicyclists or motorists to operate in a manner inconsistent with the normal rules of the road. 40
2. Bicycle lanes should always be one-way facilities and carry traffic in same direction as adjacent motor vehicle traffic.
3. Sidewalks are not a recommended alternative for bicycle facilities
Regulatory Considerations Regulatory considerations generally are applicable only to multi-use paths. If the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funds are utilized, all applicable federal rules and regulations need to be followed. This includes the required reviews and clearances from the appropriate state and federal resource agencies. Sometimes, an environmental study must be prepared to assess any adverse social, economic and environmental factors. Work involving sensitive historic structures or archaeological sites must conform to 41 the Department of the Interior’s standards and guidelines for archaeology and historic preservation. Any property acquisition must conform to the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act. Also, engineering and architectural designs for all facilities must conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Before becoming too heavily involved in a design, it is recommended that a check of all local, state and federal agencies be made to determine potential areas of concern and/or regulatory permit requirements.