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Old 03-16-10, 08:16 AM   #1
donheff
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DOT's new bike policy

Ray LaHood announced the US DOT's new Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations.

This is a very strong statement. Here is a summary on the announcement from the WashCycle blog:

Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.

We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

To set this approach in motion, we have formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities:

* Treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.
* Ensure convenient access for people of all ages and abilities.
* Go beyond minimum design standards.
* Collect data on walking and biking trips.
* Set a mode share target for walking and bicycling.
* Protect sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected (for example, snow removal)
* Improve nonmotorized facilities during maintenance projects.
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Old 03-16-10, 08:20 AM   #2
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Great policy statement. I hope it can actually turn into reality and not get bogged down in partisan fighting like most things seem to do nowadays.
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Old 03-16-10, 08:47 AM   #3
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thanks for the heads up and the link
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Old 03-16-10, 08:57 AM   #4
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Great news, how will it be paid for?
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Old 03-16-10, 09:01 AM   #5
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higher taxes of course! you don't expect the pencil pushers to take a cut in their perks do you? just being a cynical old git, but hopefully the new attitude will spill over the border into here.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:19 AM   #6
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Great news, how will it be paid for?
Should be a net savings.
Does it cost more to build roads that accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians than to build roads that accommodate more cars? Does it cost more to maintain roads used by fewer cars and more bicyclists and pedestrians?
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Old 03-16-10, 09:29 AM   #7
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Should be a net savings.
Does it cost more to build roads that accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians than to build roads that accommodate more cars? Does it cost more to maintain roads used by fewer cars and more bicyclists and pedestrians?
Just building bicycle paths will make no difference to the size and quality of the roads. I think that we are a long way from having a significant number of people using bicycles to get to work. That ROI is probably decades away.
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Old 03-16-10, 10:42 AM   #8
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After our almost finished winter, I really like this one:

"* Protect sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected (for example, snow removal)"

Since most snow removal in this area consists of a plow pushing snow onto the sidewalks and bike lanes, any consideration is an improvement.
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Old 03-16-10, 11:11 AM   #9
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My worrying point on this is the first point

* Treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.

Will you now have dedicated Cycling lanes now put to Dual use with walkers.?

Along the seafront at Eastbourne We have just such a path. There is a dedicated Cycle lane but walkers just wander along it. Then in other places we have Sidewalks that have been constructed to be wide enough to accomodate Cycles and Walkers. Walkers own the damn thing although it is a designated cycle path.

Can see lots of Ambiguous Statements being interpreted in lots of different ways

Have Fun.
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Old 03-16-10, 11:21 AM   #10
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No wonder the only job growth in the past year is the Federal Government!

I like the links to the state coordinators. For my state(PA) anyway this is the same agency that gave the job of laying out bicycle routes to a person that has never ridden a road bike. This is a true statement. If you look at an official road map the bike routes are there, if you ride some of them you will say what the @#$#@$!
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Old 03-16-10, 12:46 PM   #11
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Just building bicycle paths will make no difference to the size and quality of the roads. I think that we are a long way from having a significant number of people using bicycles to get to work. That ROI is probably decades away.
Maybe. But who said anything about building bicycle paths?
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Old 03-16-10, 01:45 PM   #12
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No wonder the only job growth in the past year is the Federal Government!

I like the links to the state coordinators. For my state(PA) anyway this is the same agency that gave the job of laying out bicycle routes to a person that has never ridden a road bike. This is a true statement. If you look at an official road map the bike routes are there, if you ride some of them you will say what the @#$#@$!
Those sorts of jobs were never intended to be filled by people who might be competent. They are prizes to be given to political supporters.
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Old 03-16-10, 03:04 PM   #13
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Looking forward to it's implementation. Glad there are some recognition for the bicycling community.
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Old 03-16-10, 03:29 PM   #14
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Maybe. But who said anything about building bicycle paths?

They can put the bicycles on the road too, but that's not going to save any money. I was only commenting that it probably wouldn't show any net savings.
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Old 03-16-10, 04:14 PM   #15
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I was gonna make a comment about how political a thread like this could become, in terms of people expressing a range of view about taxes, partisan fighting, the competency of elected officials, etc. But I think I'll go for a ride instead.
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Old 03-16-10, 06:30 PM   #16
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Nice "recommendations" . . . "implementation" and enforcement would be even nicer!!!!
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Old 03-16-10, 07:07 PM   #17
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Incredible News, bikes are under valued as transportation and fun. My end of town has made tremendous gains already.
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Old 03-16-10, 08:14 PM   #18
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They can put the bicycles on the road too, but that's not going to save any money. I was only commenting that it probably wouldn't show any net savings.
I disagree.

It really doesn't take a lot of money to make roads more usable by other modes of transportation besides cars, not compared to what they spend to making roads wider and faster for more and more cars. It would only take a very small portion of what is being spent to make things worse to make good progress toward making things better.
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Old 03-16-10, 08:40 PM   #19
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I was already a LaHood fan because of his strong opposition to cell phone yakking while driving. We are getting some much-needed attention, and if even a little good comes out of the political posturing, then we are making progress. I want to see some serious traffic calming of high-speed intersections and recognition that the right to travel safely and efficiently under one's own power is unalienable.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:14 PM   #20
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The DOT thing looks good. Pray that OSHA doesn't get involved. Bikes would have five wheels, three chains, a seat belt, warning labels, warning buzzers, warning lights, roll bars, roll cage, an automatic governor/brake to prevent speeds in excess of 5 mph, and would weigh at least 473.97 pounds per government edict.

Last edited by doctor j; 03-16-10 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 03-18-10, 08:03 PM   #21
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The DOT thing looks good. Pray that OSHA doesn't get involved. Bikes would have five wheels, three chains, a seat belt, warning labels, warning buzzers, warning lights, roll bars, roll cage, an automatic governor/brake to prevent speeds in excess of 5 mph, and would weigh at least 473.97 pounds per government edict.
Don't even need OSHA -- look what CPUC did to bicycles.
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Old 03-18-10, 10:41 PM   #22
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I disagree.

It really doesn't take a lot of money to make roads more usable by other modes of transportation besides cars, not compared to what they spend to making roads wider and faster for more and more cars. It would only take a very small portion of what is being spent to make things worse to make good progress toward making things better.
+1... this policy is very good news and will be seen as support for progressive desgin work by local traffic engineers.
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Old 03-18-10, 10:47 PM   #23
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Around these parts almost every new road and major repaving project, adds a bike lane on both sides of the road. There are more and more roads with bike lanes every year.
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Old 03-19-10, 06:11 AM   #24
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I disagree.

It really doesn't take a lot of money to make roads more usable by other modes of transportation besides cars, not compared to what they spend to making roads wider and faster for more and more cars. It would only take a very small portion of what is being spent to make things worse to make good progress toward making things better.
I like knocking out a parking lane on one side of a street and using curbing blocks or plastic pylons to set off a two way bike lane. They did that in Seville to create a bike thoroughfare around the central city. Costs next to nothing and the displaced cars chocking the central city can park in a commercial lot.
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Old 03-19-10, 06:42 AM   #25
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Should be a net savings.
Does it cost more to build roads that accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians than to build roads that accommodate more cars? Does it cost more to maintain roads used by fewer cars and more bicyclists and pedestrians?
If the motor vehicle capacity of the road is expected to decrease, the space (i.e. number and width of MV lanes) can be decreased, and that space re-allocated to bikes and peds. If not, more real estate will be required to add space for peds, bikes, and cars that do not interfere with each other. More land implies more money. Constructing added "carriageways" for bikes and peds adds cost in addition to the land.

If I was a road planner, I wouldn't know how much the vehicle traffic will decline due to added bike use, and if I was engineering a road for a locale that has significant snowfall or cold, the winter demand would be the same as it was before modding a road for bikes/peds. I'd probably have to assume the required capacity has not decreased due to addition of bikes, based on insufficient data and on considerations of weather.

Bottom line, in any part of the US with a cold winter, I think the cost of roads will probably go up, at least until the impact of these new road types can be assessed.
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