Pedestrian paths provide design insights

Posted in: Bridges, Highways, Municipal

Bike-Lane_body-300x200When planning a roadway project, engineers try to design with all types of end users in mind. This is especially important in city environments where motorists, pedestrians and cyclists share the roadway.

As more city residents look to cycling as a commuting option, engineers must take bicycle safety into consideration. Street design that lacks accommodations for bicycle travel is often dangerous for cyclists. Wider lanes are often favored by engineers for a number of reasons, and in theory this idea might seem viable as it creates more space on the road for both vehicles and bicycles to “share the lane.” However, research suggests that wider lanes encourage speeding in vehicles, making the situation incredibly risky for cyclists.

The Ohio Department of Transportation took this matter to the streets with representatives of Yay Bikes!, a bicycle advocacy group focused on cycling use and safety. Yay Bikes! took engineering staff from ODOT on a cycling trip around Columbus to show ODOT what issues they encounter when making their daily commute around the city. The three-hour ride took the cyclists through a number of locations highlighting both well designed and less desirable bike infrastructure.

Experiencing what works best for cyclists and pedestrian allows engineers to create better designs that accommodate end users. More pedestrian-friendly infrastructure not only keeps these users safe, but also encourages motorists to yield for cyclists.

Mead & Hunt has designed a number of pedestrian-friendly projects, including the Duck Creek Bridge and the USH 12 and Park Street Interchange in Wisconsin as well as the Fire Tower Parking Lot for Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. These projects provide a wide variety of travelling options for commuters while upholding safety.

Mike Ciotola, PE

About the Author

Mike Ciotola, P.E., ASSOC. DBIA, makes sure safety is woven into complex transportation projects. In his more than 25 years of experience, Mike spent 13 years with the Ohio Department of Transportation. He gets the project done, whatever it takes. Mike helps clients design interchange modifications, roundabouts, and other roadway and bridge improvements, including work on multiple Safety Design Task Order contracts. Mike says “Safety is always integral to projects. We improve the quality of people’s lives by helping our clients to design safe roads.”

Read more posts by Mike Ciotola, PE

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