Work zone bicycle considerations

Here are selections from Part 6 on “Temporary Traffic Control Devices” in the 2014 California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which describes the “cone zone” signs, pavement markings, barriers and other “traffic control devices” used in road construction zones.


Bikes May Use Full Lane Tasman Drive Santa Clara

You can refer to this document when writing a nasty-gram to your local road agency in California if you see construction signs obstructing bike facilities, or if a bike facility is temporarily closed due to construction detour signs are completely lacking. Unfortunately, most of the text uses the word “should,” which is considered guidance rather than a standard, giving contractors a lot of wiggle room. Anything with “shall” is a standard and required under state law. Refer to the original document for context and completeness.


Section 6D.101(CA) Bicycle Considerations

Support:
01 There are several considerations in planning for bicyclists in TTC zones on highways and streets:
A. A travel route that replicates the most desirable characteristics of a wide paved shoulder or bikeway through or around the TTC zone is desirable for bicyclists.
B. If the TTC zone interrupts the continuity of an existing bikeway system, signs directing bicyclists through or around the zone and back to the bikeway is desirable.
C. Unless a separate bike path through or around the TTC zone is provided, adequate roadway lane width to allow bicyclists and motor vehicles to travel side by side through or around the TTC zone is desirable.
Guidance:
D. When the roadway width is inadequate for allowing bicyclists and motor vehicles to travel side by side, warning signs should be used to advise motorists of the presence of bicyclists in the travel way lanes. See Section 6G.05 for more details.
Standard:
E. Bicyclists shall not be led into direct conflicts with mainline traffic, work site vehicles, or equipment moving through or around the TTC zone.
Support:
02 Figures 6H-15, 6H-30, 6H-32(CA), 6H-36(CA), 6H-101(CA), 6H-102(CA), 6H-103(CA), and 6H-104(CA) show typical TTC device usage and techniques for bicycle movement through TTC zones.


Detour signs block bike lane *and* sidewalk

Section 6F.03 Sign Placement

8. Sign supports should be located so as to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists in areas designated for their use. A minimum lateral width of 4 feet should be maintained for pedestrian pathways. If the bottom of a secondary sign that is mounted below another sign is mounted lower than 7 feet above a pedestrian sidewalk or pathway (see Section 6D.02), the secondary sign should not project more than 4 inches into the pedestrian facility.

Section 6F.59 Detour Signs (M4-8, M4-8a, M4-8b, M4-9, M4-9a, M4-9b, M4-9c, and M4-10)

10 The Pedestrian/Bicycle Detour (M4-9a) sign (see Figure 6F-5) should be used where a pedestrian/bicycle detour route has been established because of the closing of a pedestrian/bicycle facility to through traffic.
11 If used, the Pedestrian/Bicycle Detour sign shall have an arrow pointing in the appropriate direction.
Option:
12 The arrow on a Pedestrian/Bicycle Detour sign may be on the sign face or on a supplemental plaque.
13 The Pedestrian Detour (M4-9b) sign or Bicycle Detour (M4-9c) sign (see Figure 6F-5) may be used where a pedestrian or bicycle detour route (not both) has been established because of the closing of the pedestrian or bicycle facility to through traffic.


Caltrans 2014 MUTCD TTC diagram

Section 6G.05 Work Affecting Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities

01 It is not uncommon, particularly in urban areas, that road work and the associated TTC will affect existing pedestrian or bicycle facilities. It is essential that the needs of all road users, including pedestrians with disabilities, are considered in TTC zones.
02 In addition to specific provisions identified in Sections 6G.06 through 6G.14, there are a number of provisions that might be applicable for all of the types of activities identified in this Chapter.
Guidance:
03 Where pedestrian or bicycle usage is high, the typical applications should be modified by giving particular attention to the provisions set forth in Chapter 6D, this Chapter, Section 6F.74, and in other Sections of Part 6 related to accessibility and detectability provisions in TTC zones.
04 Pedestrians should be separated from the worksite by appropriate devices that maintain the accessibility and detectability for pedestrians with disabilities.
05 Bicyclists and pedestrians should not be exposed to unprotected excavations, open utility access, overhanging equipment, or other such conditions.

06 Except for short duration and mobile operations, when a highway shoulder is occupied, a SHOULDER WORK (W21-5) sign, a SHOULDER CLOSED C30A(CA) sign, or other similar signs should be placed in advance of the activity area. When work is performed on a paved shoulder 8 feet or more in width, channelizing devices should be placed on a taper having a length that conforms to the requirements of a shoulder taper. Signs should be placed such that they do not narrow any existing pedestrian passages to less than 48 inches.
06a When existing accommodations for bicycle travel are disrupted or closed in a long-term duration project (see Section 6G.02), information and devices contained in Figures 6H-101(CA) through 6H-104(CA), as appropriate per situation encountered, should be used in order to replicate existing conditions for the needs and control of bicyclists through a TTC zone.
06b Except for short durations and mobile operations (see Section 6G.02), when a highway shoulder is occupied and bicyclists would be sharing a lane with vehicular traffic, as a result of the TTC zone, a combination of Bicycle crossing (W11-1) and SHARE THE ROAD (W16-1P) plaque should be placed in advance of the activity area. When work is performed on a paved shoulder 8 feet or more in width, channelizing devices should be placed on a taper having a length that conforms to the requirements of a shoulder taper. Signs should be placed such that they do not block the bicyclist’s path of travel and they do not narrow any existing pedestrian passages to less than 48 inches.
07 Pedestrian detours should be avoided since pedestrians rarely observe them and the cost of providing accessibility and detectability might outweigh the cost of maintaining a continuous route. Whenever possible, work should be done in a manner that does not create a need to detour pedestrians from existing routes or crossings.
Standard:
08 Where pedestrian routes are closed, alternate pedestrian routes shall be provided.
09 When existing pedestrian facilities are disrupted, closed, or relocated in a TTC zone, the temporary facilities shall be detectable and shall include accessibility features consistent with the features present in the existing pedestrian facility.
Option:
10 If establishing or maintaining an alternate pedestrian route is not feasible during the project, an alternate means of providing for pedestrians may be used, such as adding free bus service around the project or assigning a person the responsibility to assist pedestrians with disabilities through the project limits. See Section 6D.01 for details.


Bike path detour

Section 6G.11 Work Within the Traveled Way of an Urban Street

06 If a designated bicycle route is closed because of the work being done, a signed alternate route should be provided. Bicyclists should not be directed onto the path used by pedestrians.

Notes for Figure 6H-6—Typical Application 6 Shoulder Work with Minor Encroachment

14. All advance warning signs should be placed so that the path of travel for bicycles is not blocked, while maintaining visibility for road users.
15. When existing accommodations for bicycle travel are disrupted or closed in a long-term duration project (see Section 6G.02) and the roadway width is inadequate for allowing bicyclists and motor vehicles to travel side by side, the Bicycle
Warning (W11-1) sign and the SHARE THE ROAD (W16-1P) plaque should be used to advise motorists of the presence of bicyclists in the travel way lanes.
16. Except for short durations and mobile operations, when a highway shoulder is occupied and bicyclists would be sharing a lane with vehicular traffic, as a result of the TTC zone, speed reduction countermeasures should be used to reduce traffic speeds in the TTC zone. Refer to Sections 6C.01 and 6D.03.
17. Except for short durations and mobile operations, when a highway shoulder is occupied and bicyclists would be sharing a lane with vehicular traffic, as a result of the TTC zone, before narrowing the outside lane other measures such as widening the outside shoulder to allow bicyclists and motor vehicles to travel side by side through the TTC zone should be considered.
18. If traffic volumes make it feasible, the two left lanes should be merged into one lane to avoid using the shoulder as a traveled way lane and allowing continued use for emergency purposes and bicycle travel.
19. When existing accommodations for bicycle travel are disrupted or closed in a long-term duration project (see Section 6G.02) and the roadway width is inadequate for allowing bicyclists and motor vehicles to travel side by side, a separate path should be considered for bicyclists.

4 Comments

  1. Hi Richard,

    Suggestion for an awesome follow-up post: if we see an egregiously unsafe violation of these rules, exactly where do we report it? That is, who are the local road agencies and how do we contact them?

    In general, if we see dangerous cycling conditions, what are the most effective ways of getting them improved?

    Thanks so much!

  2. I’ve had really good outcomes by just speaking with the contractors on site and asking them if they could rearrange cones and/or signs to safely accommodate cyclists. Ironically, just recently I had to do this in Santa Clara at the work zone on Homestead and Pepper Tree where they were installing sidewalks and bike lane. If you see a city person there, they will approach the contractor’s supervisor for you. Hard to know sometimes whether to call city or county, though.

  3. @Anon, that’s a very very good question with, unfortunately, no easy answer because it depends so much on the project and jurisdiction. In Santa Cruz County, I report these issues via the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission Bicycle and Pedestrian Hazard Report too, with generally good response. Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition has their index of hazard report contacts for various local jurisdictions around here, though finding the right one can be a challenge.

  4. I have had excellent experience with BATS (Bay Area Traffic Solutions) on the Peninsula, who in my experience have done a great job of accommodating cyclists.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.