Materials & Design
The initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced traffic volumes, which allows traffic engineers to use a wider palette of materials in reconfiguring streets. In addition, narrowing or re-assigning motor vehicle lanes typically results in slower speeds, enabling engineers to use lighter separation materials. Cities should align materials to project duration, maintenance and stewardship capacity, and key conditions, such as observed speeds. Lighter materials can be used for temporary implementation. More durable materials should be examined for lengthier deployment.
In the months or years prior to development and widespread distribution of a reliable treatment or vaccine, it may be in the public interest to transition some projects from short-term or pop-up into interim or permanent by using more durable materials as needed and adjusting designs to reflect evaluation results, evolving virus mitigation strategies, and more robust community dialogue. Cities should consult existing design guidance including NACTO’s Transit Street Design Guide, Urban Street Design Guide, Urban Bikeway Design Guide, and Global Street Design Guide.
Placement & Visibility
• Place barriers and signs at the points along the street where drivers and riders need to do something new.
• All-conditions visibility and reflective surfaces can be provided by conventional construction zone material or temporary traffic control devices.
Signs & Markings
• Signs can be made of paper, coroplast, or other temporary material and can be combined with plywood or metal regulatory signs (such as “Local Traffic Only”) if available.
• Spray paint, acrylic latex, spray chalk, or traffic tape can be used create a temporary lane line if needed or otherwise outline expanded/altered space for walking, cycling and merchant or public transport.
• Consult local guidance and state/provincial/national standards for official colors, signs, and symbols. Standards documents may be insufficient for pedestrian and bicycle needs but can be helpful for familiar motor vehicle traffic control.
• Light separation: for visibility and to emphasize the new edge of the motor vehicle roadway. Light separation can also be used for projects that are limited to specific times of day or days of the week. Light separation includes: traffic cones, freestanding delineator posts, traffic barrels, sawhorses, movable parade barricades (“French barricades”), small planters, and traffic control barricades such as A-frames.
• Heavy separation: for the most sensitive locations such as the beginning of lane closure on high-volume streets. Heavy separation includes: water-filled barriers, concrete barriers, filled barrels, large planters, flexible posts and delineators, and armadillos.
• Spray-chalk or spray-paint the preferred locations of barriers to ease implementation.