John Hourdos, Melissa Duhn, Peter Dirks, Greg Lindsey
Separated bicycle lanes (SBLs) are bicycle facilities that employ both paint and a vertical element as a buffer between vehicle traffic and bicycle traffic. In recent years, the installation of SBLs has increased in the U.S. as planners and engineers seek to reduce crash risk, increase safety and foster demand. In turn, public demand for these facilities has continued to grow. This project conducted a thorough literature search to identify knowledge gaps and aspects of design not addressed in depth in existing guides. In collaboration with the Local Road Research Board and MnDOT, the study identified which design elements were of the greatest local interest or missing from the guidance altogether. The identified subject areas were explored with the help of three major knowledge gathering approaches: interviews of industry professionals from local agencies currently operating SBLs, interviews with leading bicycle advocates representing the local cycling community, and an ambitious and lengthy online survey of people who cycle in Minnesota. As noted by several existing guidance documents and corroborated by the information collected and analyzed in this project, the SBL is one of the highest quality bikeway facilities available. This report adds to the existing guidance regarding the planning and operation of SBLs by refining the discussion and taking into account individual aspects of separate design elements and their implementation alternatives, as well as their influence and limitations on maintenance needs, especially in winter. The guidance identifies multiple considerations for each of the selected structural elements and maintenance considerations to inform the choices made during the design process.
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