Complete Streets in Texas

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recently adopted a policy to proactively plan, design and construct facilities to safely accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians on state maintained roads.

In response to last year’s policy from the US Federal DOT emphasizing an increased commitment to, and investment in, bicycle facilities and walking networks to help meet goals for cleaner, healthier air; less congested roadways; and more livable, safe, cost-efficient communities, a memorandum sent by TxDOT to all district offices says that bicycle and pedestrian access must be taken into consideration for all new projects after August 31 2011. With the new policy, the default is for pedestrian and bicycle access, and district offices need to state the reasons if bicycle and pedestrian access is missing from the plans on new projects.

Work on existing right of way should remove barriers to pedestrian access. For construction in existing right of way with pavement widening or for new construction, lanes should accommodate cyclists either with 14 foot outside lanes or a five foot bike lane. For pedestrians, work should also include adding or rebuilding sidewalks and crossings to ensure a continuous ADA compliant route.

The TxDOT bicycle facilities memorandum also adds a requirement for a five foot shoulder on bridges when they’re replaced or rehabilitated.

TxDOT’s memorandum points to the AASHTO Bike Guide and also points out that the gutter is not included as part of the usable lane width for cyclists. It also notes the dimensions are minimum values: “Where traffic volumes or speeds are high, wider lanes for bicycles may be needed.”

Via Bike Texas.

More at KHUF Houston Public Radio: Bike/Ped Accommodations a Must For New Road Projects, and similar story at Transportation Nation.

3 Comments

  • April 5, 2011 - 9:20 pm | Permalink

    OF course, if Texas is anything like Illinois, it looks very nice on paper but our district’s IDOT folks smile and ignore them. When our local planners applied for grant funds to make things happen, they sabotaged them. Still, it’s a bit of progress.

  • April 5, 2011 - 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I hope Texas delivers on it’s good intentions.

    Darryl

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