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Caltrans Really Is Becoming More Bike and Walk Friendly

News flash: California has become only the third state to endorse the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (NACTO) Urban Street Design Guidelines to enable more walk and bike friendly projects such as protected bike lanes.
April 12, 2014, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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La Citta Vita

"With their statewide endorsement, Caltrans becomes the third State Department of Transportation to officially endorse the [Urban Street Design Guide and Urban Bikeway Design Guide] following Washington state DOT’s endorsement in December 2013 and Massachusetts state DOT’s endorsement in early April 2014," writes Corinne Kisner.

Emma Shlaes, Advocacy Coordinator at Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, explains how the endorsement simplifies bike and pedestrian planning in California. "This means that cities will now able to implement innovative bicycle infrastructure without going through the Caltrans design exception process," she emailed in an alert to all SVBC members.

The endorsement follows January's independent Caltrans review that called for "sweeping reforms of the department to improve mobility in the face of environmental challenges and a decline in the number of miles driven by Californians."

Malcolm Dougherty, Director of Caltrans, made the surpise announcement at NACTO’s Cities for Cycling Road Show in Oakland on Thursday, April 10.

“California’s transportation system must be multimodal and support bicycles and pedestrians as well as automobiles,” said Dougherty. “Caltrans’ endorsement of these innovative street design options is an important part of modernizing our approach to improving transportation for all Californians.”

Melanie Curry of Streetsblog LA writes that while the announcement wasn't a total surprise to bicycle advocates, it was welcomed by all who had gathered at the Oakland event. Now the ball lands in the court of city transportation planning staffs and walk and bicycle advocates to plan for the "many innovative bicycle infrastructure designs, including bike boxes, and separated, protected bike lanes" that are included in the NACTO guides.

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