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Monday, December 6, 2010

New Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy at TDOT

On the heels of a successful meeting with Governor Elect Bill Haslam's staff on this past Friday, Bike Walk Tennessee advocates were pleased to read that the Tennessee Department of Transportation has recently strengthened its bicycle and pedestrian policy.  The entire policy can be viewed here, but this is a list of major improvements to the policy:
TDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy (2010)- Summary of key changes
· 2010 policy now applies not only to TDOT employees and consultants and contractors, but also to local governments managing transportation projects with federal funding.
· Former policy separated bicycles and pedestrians into two different sections, the 2010 policy integrates the two modes where applicable.
· 2010 policy adds section on Design Guidance that specifies that Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Shared Use Path design standards have been developed by TDOT and approved by FHWA, and that these standards shall be followed by local, regional, and state agencies when considering including bicycle and pedestrian features on an existing facility or new construction.
Key Changes to Policy Item #’s
· Item # 3 improves on former wording, “The design of facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians shall follow standard drawings designed by the department” by adding “and approved by FHWA, in accordance with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation (AASHTO) “Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities,” and the department’s “Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.”  The former policy spelled out specific guidance in regards to rumble strips and curb lane width, but rather than spell out each item individually, the new policy refers users to follow approved design standards of the Department.
· Item #4- New Item.  States that bike/ped access along corridors served by new or reconstructed roadways shall not be made more difficult by roadway improvements.  If this cannot be avoided, an alternate bicycle/pedestrian route that provides continuity and enhances the safety and convenience of bicycle and pedestrian travel shall be considered.
· Item #5- Adds the word “safe” to the phrase ‘the design of intersections and interchanges shall accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians in a manner that is safe, accessible and convenient.’
· Item #6- New Item.   Specifies that Federal-aid highway bridge replacement and rehabilitation projects not on Interstates or controlled access highways shall include bicycle and pedestrian traffic accommodations, such as minimum shoulders, when the cost is reasonable.
· Item#7-  New Item.  Specifies that if Federal-aid highway bridge replacement and rehabilitation projects are located on routes identified  as a bike and/or ped facility in an adopted local plan, bike/ped traffic accommodations in addition to minimum shoulders shall be considered.  Because these additional accommodations can change the layout and design of the structure, the route must be identified before the preparation of the preliminary bridge plans.
· Item #8- New Item.  States that bike/ped facilities shall be integrated into all phases of implementation of federal and state funded transportation projects that involve air, rail, marine, and public transportation, including public parking facilities, and included in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program when federal funds are being used.
· Item #9- New Item.  States that while it is not the intent of pavement preservation projects (resurfacing projects) to expand existing facilities, opportunities to provide or enhance bicycle facilities identified in an adopted local government plan shall be considered.
Key changes to Exceptions
· Item #2 adds that the 20% figure used to define ‘excessively disproportionate costs’ should be used in an advisory rather than absolute sense, especially in instances where the cost may be difficult to quantify.
· Item #3 previously stated that bike/ped facilities would only be considered on Bridge Replacement/Rehabilitation projects funded with state funds or Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program funds if they had been identified in a plan advanced to the stage of having engineering drawings.  New policy states that this is still an exception, but wording is changed to indicate that consideration will be given to provide bike/ped accommodation if (a) the bridge is part of a route identified in an adopted local government plan as a bicycle or pedestrian route and (b) the cost of providing bicycle and pedestrian accommodations is less than 20% of the project cost.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Tennessee! This is a great win and just another reason for supporters of biking and walking to join Bike Walk Tennessee!
    - Jeffrey Miller / Alliance for Biking & Walking