Pedestrian and Bicycle Alternatives for Towns and Cities
The guidelines for facility design follow state and national standards set by WisDOT and the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO). These guidelines should be followed for all bicycle facility development within Oneida County, in both urban and rural areas, as they are based on minimum accommodations necessary for user safety. Facility types fall into five basic categories: shared use roadways, wide curb lanes, bike lanes, paved shoulders, and bike paths/multi-use trails.
Shared Use Rural Roadways
On a shared roadway, bicyclists and motorists are accommodated in the same travel lane, so that motorists may sometimes find it necessary to overtake bicyclists by switching into the oncoming travel lane. The volume of traffic on some county and town roads is relatively low, providing appealing routes for adult riders desiring longer distance opportunities. Where traffic volumes are generally less than 1,000 ADT (Average Daily Traffic), cyclists and motorists can share roadways with lane widths ranging from 9 to 12 feet (with or without shoulders) with no additional improvements necessary. In undertaking route mapping or signing, it should be remembered that all roadways are bicycling routes. The mapping or marking of bike routes is done as a "wayfinding" practice and done so on roads where the combination of traffic and pavement width presents favorable conditions for bicycle use. It is recommended that regular roadway maintenance is in place and all hazards to bicycle travel including potholes, bumps and other pavement surface irregularities, and debris is removed before route designation.
Shared Use Urban Roadways
The concept that every street is a bicycling street is even more applicable in an urban street network. An urban street designated as a bike route should have traffic volumes under 2,000 ADT and speeds under 30 mph are low if no extra pavement width is considered for bicycle use. Removal of hazards including wheel-catching drainage grates potholes and debris is important.
Improving shoulders by expanding their width and/or paving may be necessary to establish safe bike routes. This is particularly recommended where traffic volumes exceed 1,000 ADT. Paved shoulders for bicycle use should be four feet wide, the AASHTO minimum standard. WisDOT recommends five foot paved shoulders on rural two-lane state trunk highways. Paved area should be wider at the intersection of gravel Adapted from NCWRPC drives to reduce the amount of loose gravel carried onto the bicycle path. Rumble strips should not be used unless additional paved width is provided for bicycle use. WisDOT bike facility warrants state that when DOT constructs, reconstructs, or finances road facilities it will include suitable space for bicycling where the roadway is on an officially designated bike plan wherever right-of-way permits, or where bicycle use or anticipated use exceeds 25 bicyclists per day, and the average daily traffic is greater than 1,000.
Bicycle lanes are the most effective way of encouraging bicycle travel on roads leading into cities and towns. Bicycle lanes could be considered when it is desirable to delineate available road space for preferential use by bicyclists and motorists and to provide for more predictable movements by each. Bicycle lane markings can increase a bicyclist’s confidence that motorists will not stray into his/her path of travel. Bicycle lanes are delineated by painted lane markings and should be one-way facilities. Bicycle lanes are usually at least 4 – 6 feet wide.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Paths/Multi-Use Trails
Bicycle paths or multi-use trails offer good bicyclist mobility under many circumstances, especially where the paths are isolated from motor vehicles, such as along river grades, greenways, abandoned rail lines, and connections between subdivisions and cul-de-sacs. Caution is always advised when considering a bicycle path adjacent to an urban street, because of the increase in hazards associated with motorists’ turns. Considerations for Designating Bike Routes in Your Town/City:
- Traffic volume
- Road width
- Presence and width of road shoulders
- Quality of road shoulders including smooth stable surfaces or lack of encroachment by vegetation
- Road surface condition and presence of potholes
- Segments of unpaved/gravel road surface and suitability for biking
- Presence of blind curves and hills and in some cases grade
When reviewing route segments or planning improvements on a route, keep these factors in mind and consider ways of mitigating any limitations that are present.