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Full Speed Ahead: NACTO Releases Second Edition of Urban Bikeway Design Guide

Sep 06, 2012

Download the full Press Release here

Press Contact:
David Vega-Barachowitz
[email protected]

For Immediate Release
September 6, 2012

New York, NY – Transportation commissioners and directors from America’s largest cities have announced the release of the second edition of the Urban Bikeway Design Guide, a toolkit for designing safer streets for bicyclists published by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).

NACTO, an association that shares transportation best practices and experience among its members and represents cities on national transportation issues, launched a comprehensive update to this groundbreaking manual less than a year after U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called the Urban Bikeway Design Guide “an extraordinary piece of work that’s long overdue.” The latest edition, which is accompanied by an interactive online guide, features a new chapter on Bicycle Boulevards—enhanced, low-stress, low-speed streets parallel to major roads, along with additional information on the best practices for green colored pavement. The new edition builds on a body of work that has already reached cities large and small and continues to advance America’s progress towards becoming a more bicycle-friendly nation.

“The NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide has proven that a strong coalition of cities can act swiftly, thoroughly and decisively to improve how streets are designed and built in this country,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner and NACTO President Janette Sadik-Khan. “NACTO offers cities around the country a new toolkit for designing city streets, and we are pleased to see that cities are using those tools to make streets safer and more sustainable.”

The first edition of the guide, released online in March 2011 and in print that October, made major strides in spreading the pioneering work of cities across the country, including New York, San Francisco and Portland. It was the first national guide to offer standards for cycle tracks or protected bike lanes, which provide more separation between cyclists and motor vehicle traffic. Protected bike lanes, which are a ubiquitous feature of cycling capitals like Copenhagen, Montreal and Amsterdam, are becoming more prevalent in the U.S. and provide unprecedented safety not just for bicyclists but for everybody who uses the road.

The Urban Bikeway Design Guide dovetails with the work of transportation agencies and organizations around the country to promote bicycling as a safe, convenient mode of transportation. Users of the guide have access to detailed plan drawings, three-dimensional renderings of the designs and pictures of actual projects built in the United States.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams, who spearheaded NACTO’s nascent Cities for Cycling Project in 2009, expressed his admiration at the pace of change and innovation which has taken place around cycling. “I’m thrilled to see the progress that American cities large and small are making to become bicycle-friendly,” said Mayor Adams. “When Cities for Cycling launched in 2009, we had no idea that transportation innovations pioneered in Portland would appear on city streets from coast to coast within just a few years. The NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide has been instrumental in affecting this change by giving cities the tools they need to make their systems safer and more sustainable.”

“The second edition of the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide will play a significant role in how the city of Phoenix designs and installs its growing network of bike lanes, routes, and boulevards,” said Wylie Bearup, Director of the Phoenix Street Transportation Department. “The Guide provides very useful information to plan and design new streets more effectively as well as retrofit older streets to accommodate bicycling in support of the City’s adoption of a new Complete Streets policy in the near future.”

“Since its release last year, the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide has made a remarkable imprint on Chicago’s streets,” said Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein. “As we plan an extensive network of bicycle facilities throughout the city’s neighborhoods, including next generation bicycle facilities, the guide will serve as an essential blueprint for safe, active, multi-modal streets. The second edition of the guide only builds on the unprecedented progress we’ve made thus far.”

“There is a phenomenal interest in making our cities and streets safer for bikes and better for people,” said Darryl Young of the Summit Foundation. “This guide is visually engaging and technically rich.  Its strength is that it is accessible to a wide audience and will accelerate the pace of change in cities, which is long overdue.  This fills an important need that we’re proud to support.”

Martha Roskowski, who directs the Green Lane Project for Bikes Belong said: “We are delighted that the second edition is providing more information on the use of green on streets. It’s an important and timely contribution to advancing the craft of building dedicated, protected places for people on bikes. The added guidance on bicycle boulevards is also very helpful, as consensus grows that creating networks of safe, protected bikeways on busy streets linked to bicycle boulevards and other slow speed side streets fosters the low-stress environment that encourages more people, young and old, to ride.”

“The NACTO Guide is leading an explosion of green lane projects in cities across the U.S.,” said Randy Neufeld of SRAM Cycling Foundation. “The first edition provided permission and inspiration. The second will move us towards mainstream practice.”

“The Second Edition of the Urban Bikeway Design Guide reinforces NACTO’s mission to help city officials build vibrant and attractive cities where economic activity can thrive through investments in safe, efficient and sustainable transportation,” said NACTO Executive Director Ron Thaniel.

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 The print edition of the NACTO Guide may be ordered at

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


NACTO is an association of 15 major US cities formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. Members include Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC.