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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

It just got easier to add bike lanes on Tampa Bay roads



The U.S. DOT is easing regulations for federal roads with speeds of less than 50 mph that would allow for more design options, such as introducing bike lanes. 

“This proposed policy change will give states and communities the opportunity to be more innovative in designing their local projects,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “It will help us to build more quality projects that will not only provide more travel options for people, but also support and unite communities across America.”

The first step: a reduction in the number of design criteria from 13 required elements to two. On roads with speeds of 50 mph or more that carry larger traffic volumes and trucks, the number of criteria could be reduced from 13 to 10. The 13 criteria were introduced in 1985 by the Federal Highway Administration to address safety and operations concerns. 

"All projects must still be designed properly for speed and structural capacity, but now design criteria can include other factors," the U.S. DOT said in a release this week. "For example, engineers can use professional judgment to determine appropriate lane widths and facilities to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, bus stops, or landscaping for more livable communities, without needing approval from FHWA. This will enable planners and engineers to more easily design roadways in ways that enhance their community."

“This change is a part of a major push at the agency to give engineers more autonomy in highway design so they can implement transportation projects that better connect with their communities,” said Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “We are always seeking new ways to improve our highway system, and today is a great step forward.”

Now, the question is: Will Tampa Bay planners and engineers adjust, or keep designing roads that are the second most dangerous in the nation for pedestrians?

[Last modified: Thursday, October 8, 2015 11:49am]


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