NACTO GUIDE ENDORSEMENT, CALIFORNIA TRANSPORTATION COULD BE CHANGING ….. FAST
In an announcement Thursday night at the NACTO Road Show in Oakland, Malcolm Dougherty announced that Caltrans will be the third state to endorse the NACTO guide! Reported on Twitter by the National Association of City Transportation Officials and on Facebook by Fremont Public Works Director Bryan Jones, the head of the country’s largest highway department said his agency will officially endorse NACTO Urban Streets Design Guide, a document that tracks the best practices for adding protected bike lanes and other human-oriented infrastructure to U.S. streets. More, they issued a memo to every “manual holder” (i.e., engineer who abides by the Highway Design Manual) reminding them of the importance of being flexible with design. California became the third state to endorse the NACTO Urban Streets Design Guide in this dramatic announcement in Oakland last Thursday.
“It’s a permission slip for cities, for engineers and planners, to do the good, well-vetted, proven work that we know we can do to make our street safer,” said Ed Reiskin, president of NACTO and director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. “It’s only a first step — ultimately, we’d like to see the changes in the Highway Design Manual to see it actually integrated into Caltrans documents. But this is a huge step forward, and great leadership from Malcolm, Secretary [Brian] Kelly, and Governor [Jerry] Brown,” who commissioned a report that recommended Caltrans adopt the NACTO guide.
Received with enthusiastic applause from the crowd of bike advocates, city officials, and planners, Dougherty is quoted saying: “We’re trying to change the mentality of the department of transportation, of our engineers, and of those that are doing work in and around the state highway system. Many cities around California are trying to be forward thinking in terms of alternative modes, such as bike and pedestrian, as well as the safety of the entire system, and the very least we can do as the department of transportation for the state is to follow that lead, to get out of the way, and to figure out how to carry that into regional travel.”
This move sets the stage for a decisive victory in the “better design” prong of the CalBike’s Better Bikeways campaign. The next step is to amend AB 1193, The Protected Bikeways Act, to include a provision explicitly freeing local agencies to rely on the best available guidance from around the world, not just Caltrans guidance. With this free and official endorsement of the NACTO guide, protected bikeways, bike boxes, and other innovative treatments expected to be included in the frequently updated NACTO guide will soon be in the toolbox of local planners and engineers across the state.
CalBike’s members made this happen. Two key factors were the pressure of The Protected Bikeways Act and the persistent professional education of Caltrans officials and other stakeholders in the Governor’s administration. The “Better design” prong of the two-pronged Better Bikeways campaign is close to victory. After we win The Protected Bikeways Act, the work will shift to focusing on promoting the benefits of protected bikeways and other innovations to spread them across the state. Sign CalBike petition to show your support for protected bikeways today. “More funding” is the next prong. CalBike is looking forward to working with the more bike-friendly Caltrans in finding innovative ways to provide the funding for bike infrastructure that’s necessary to triple biking by 2020.
Join the conversation. Join CalBike’s social media blast supporting protected bikeways set to go out May 8th, many of the state’s bike to work day. In Los Angeles it is different – more on that later.
More here on StreetsblogLA Caltrans Endorses the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide
by Melanie Curry
It remains to be seen how this endorsement will shape our cities and streets, but Caltrans certainly earns points for its effort to adopt reforms recommended by the State Smart Transportation Initiative. In the short time since the SSTI issued its report in February, Caltrans has already acted on several of its most urgent recommendations:
- Develop a new mission statement: Check.
- Modernize state transportation design guidance by endorsing the NACTO urban design guidelines: Check.
- Work to ensure success of S.B. 743, which calls for Automobile Level of Service to be replaced with transportation planning metrics that better accommodate the needs of all street users: Dougherty says meetings on this effort are currently in progress.
- Organize teams to develop action plans and performance measures: eight teams have been formed and are in the process of being staffed and readjusted.