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Cities Release Bikeway Design Guide

Mar 11, 2011

New manual reflects spread of innovative street designs in U.S.

A coalition of transportation commissioners from major American cities launched a new design manual for bicycle-friendly streets today, announcing its release in Washington, D.C. at the League of American Bicyclists 2011 Bicycle Summit.

The new “Urban Bikeway Design Guide” is a publication of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), an association that shares transportation practice and experience among its members and represents cities in national transportation issues.

NACTO undertook the project because many of its members found existing design manuals inadequate for their efforts to promote bicycle transportation.

To create the Guide, officials from NACTO cities and a team of top planners and designers conducted an extensive survey of expert knowledge, existing guidelines from countries and cities around the world and innovative projects in the U.S.

“Portland planners, engineers and designers have learned countless lessons creating the streets and bikeways that make our city stand out for cycling. We’ve also looked to other cities and abroad for encouragement and design lessons, and are thankful for the colleagues who’ve helped us along the way,” Portland Mayor Sam Adams said. “The NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide has captured the national cycling expertise in a reference document that will enable cities to have safer and more attractive designs today.”

“NACTO’s Urban Bikeway Design Guide gives American planners and designers the tools they need to make cycling accessible to more people,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City Transportation Commissioner and President of NACTO. “These guidelines represent the state of the art and should be adopted as the new standards around the country.”

“As Philadelphia implements our Greenworks Plan to become America’s greenest and most sustainable City, tools like the NACTO Urban Bicycle Design Guide are a valuable asset for our planners and engineers.  Better accommodating pedestrians and cyclists is especially critical if we are to develop sustainable transportation policies that reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and promote an active and healthy lifestyle for our residents,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter.

Tom Tinlin, Commissioner of Transportation for the City of Boston, said, “NACTO’s Cities for Cycling Urban Bikeway Design Guide is perfect for any city looking to start a bike program at the highest level.”

“Bicycling is not only an important component of a multi-modal solution to congestion, but also makes a statement about the quality of life within a community,” said Howard S. Lazarus, Director of Austin’s Public Works Department. “The perspective from the handlebars is much more personal and connected than that from behind the wheel.”

“The City of Baltimore is proud to have contributed to NACTO’s Urban Bikeway Design Guide,” said Khalil Zaied, Director of Transportation for the City of Baltimore. “Having implemented our Bicycle Master Plan over the past 4 years has helped us learn what bike facilities work and what’s needed to get more citizens to choose cycling over driving.  Baltimore’s Department of Transportation looks forward to utilizing this design guide as we move continue to promote cycling and alternative transportation.”

The focus of the guide is street facilities, including cycle tracks or protected bike lanes, which provide more separation between cyclists and motor vehicle traffic. Guide users can view detailed plan drawings, three-dimension renderings of the designs, and pictures of actual projects from around the country. The NACTO Guide can be adopted by individual cities, counties, or states as either a stand-alone document or as a supplement to other roadway guidance documents.

The Urban Bikeway Design Guide is an interactive document that can be found online at and

Development of the Guide was supported by the SRAM Corporation and the Bikes Belong Foundation.