Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Federal Highways Approves Green Bike Lanes

Here's some cool news from the government (and how often do you get anything exciting from the government?); the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued an Interim Approval for the use of green coloring in bike lanes, much like the one in this picture from San Francisco.

Citing multiple experiments that demonstrated positive operational effects for both bicycle riders and other road users, and no notable negative effects, this approval allows states to apply for approval to use coloring in bike lanes. This Interim Approval does not make the use of green-colored pavement mandatory however.

For more information on this decision, and the research that went into it, check out the post on the Spokane Regional Transportation Council blog.


John Speare said...

That's a great solution for Spokane, where the lanes tend to get destroyed quickly by studded tires. There's clearly a higher up-front cost to laying down a colored pavement for lanes, but long-term, I assume this pencils out.

Jonathan Eberly said...

One of the things I notice when traveling is how different cities deal with bicycle infrastructure. I have ridden on these green lanes in Portland and they seem to cause traffic to pay much more attention to the fact that bicyclists may be around.

After all the whining last year of fiscal irresponsibility when the city painted sharrows downtown, I can only imagine the uproar this will cause if and when Spokane does plan to implement the green lanes. No one bats an eye about the six hundred million dollar North South corridor that most people wont use, but paint a bike line and suddenly everyone freaks out.

Rachel said...

Well, it's because bicyclists don't pay taxes, dontchaknow.

SRTC Staff said...

Yeah, cause no one who rides bikes happens to ALSO own a car or a home or buys things, right? That argument always cracks me up when I'm at public meetings.

This will add another layer to the funding issues that all the local government agencies struggle with each year. If/when we decide to start implementing green bike lanes, there will be a big discussion about where to get additional money. That's already going on with transportation in general though. The good news is that paint is pretty much the cheapest thing you can invest in when it comes to transportation, but it can have a big impact, depending on how it's used.