Design of protected cycle paths | Town of Little Rock


Design of protected cycle paths

A weakness of the Kavanaugh bike lane proposal as originally presented to the public, as mentioned by concerned citizens (question #2), is that the federal guidelines actually call for physically protected bike lanes or to a side path (i.e. buffered bike lanes are not protective enough). Space and budget constraints made a crossroad impractical, and the resurfacing budget had no funds to create physical protection for the bike paths. However, the City applied for and received funding from People for Bikes to create physical protection for the north side bike paths. This is where cyclists feel most exposed to cars coming behind them because they are traveling so slowly (uphill) compared to cars (and where drivers are most annoyed by the speed differential between cars and the bikes). Physical protection is not possible on the south side due to the need for parallel parking. We used US DOT guidance to model the design of the Kavanaugh Protected Bike Path (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Example of a protected bike lane with parking stops from FHWA/US DOT’s Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide (p. 87).

The pad width in the guide is ideal, but Kavanaugh doesn’t have the width for such a wide pad. The protection on Kavanaugh would be closer to the NACTO-recommended minimum width of 18 inches. The installation would therefore look more like Figure 4.


Figure 4. Parking stop and bike lane protected by a bollard with a physical protection width more similar to that proposed on Kavanaugh.

To get closer to what this would look like on Kavanaugh himself, please see the raw representation below (Figure 5).

Streetview of what Kavanaugh looks like now.

Rough rendering of Streetview after the proposed protected cycle paths.

Kavanaugh streetview showing approximate measurements of various elements of the proposed street design.
Figure 5. This is a rough rendering of what the street design would look like before and after installation.

Protected bike lanes can be a wonderful place-making element for neighborhoods, creating a more cohesive and physically and emotionally healthy community by getting people out of their cars and creating face-to-face interactions and encouraging physical movement.

Streetview of a similar facility in Burlington, VT
Figure 6. Similar setup to help visualize. Note that Kavanaugh would remain two-way, bollards would not have green stripes, and parking stops would not be that long. However, it illustrates how frequent breaches of physical protection (due to driveways and side streets) would be handled on the Kavanaugh residential area.

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