Global Street Design Guide

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Table of Contents

Global Street Design Guide

Use the following list of elements as a checklist to ensure a comprehensive approach to designing safe and comfortable environments for cyclists.

Cycle Facilities

Cycle facilities are spaces specifically designed for the movement of cycles. There are two main types of cycle facilities: dedicated facilities and exclusive facilities. Dedicated facilities are portions of the roadway assigned to the preferential use of cyclists. They are generally called cycle lanes or bike lanes. Exclusive facilities are physically separated from the main carriageway through vertical elements and can solely be used by cyclists.

Marked Buffers

At-grade, marked buffers are painted spaces parallel to cycle lanes that separate them from adjacent motor vehicle traffic. They improve comfort and safety for cyclists while discouraging motorists from entering the cycle lane. Buffers should be 1 m wide and can also be used next to parking lanes to prevent cyclists from being hit by opening car doors.

Constructed Buffers

Constructed buffers are barriers built into the roadbed that provide a physical separation to a cycleway. They improve cyclist safety and prevent intrusion by cars and trucks. Planted buffers also present the opportunity for beautification and integration of green infrastructure. The adjoining cycleway should be designed to drain well and be wide enough to allow cyclists to pass each another.

Segmented Concrete Dividers

Segmented concrete dividers create physical separation of a cycle lane to prevent intrusion of cars and trucks while allowing cyclists to exit the cycleway. They are a relatively narrow, easy-to-install way of increasing cyclist safety and comfort. Cycleways with segmented concrete dividers should be wide enough to allow cyclists to pass each other.

Traffic Diverters

Traffic diverters are street elements that prevent cars from traveling straight, while allowing cycles to do so. They can help maintain low vehicle volumes and reduce vehicle speeds on cycle streets. Some diverter configurations provide opportunities to add vegetation and green infrastructure.

Advanced Stop Bars or Cycle Boxes

Advanced Stop Bars (ASB) provide designated areas ahead of stop lines for vehicles at signalized intersections. They allow cyclists to get ahead of queued vehicles during a red light. They help cyclists make turns across traffic and avoid being hit by vehicles turning across the cycle lane, while reducing cyclist and driver delay. ASB should be at least 3 m deep, allowing cyclists to maneuver into them and face forward. ASB can be deeper to accommodate higher cycle volumes.

Two-Stage Turn Queue Boxes

Two-stage turn queue boxes are painted waiting spaces that allow cyclists to safely make a turn across oncoming traffic using two signal phases. They are designed to move the cyclist out of the travel path for the first stage of the turn, usually in line with a parking lane, a buffer, or in front of the opposing traffic lane. Once the light changes, the cyclist using the turn queue box can continue in the second direction.

Corner Refuge Islands

Corner refuge islands are concrete barriers at intersection corners with a curved space for cycles between the sidewalk and the roadway. They also provide protected waiting space for cyclists and facilitate two-stage turns. Corner refuge islands, with small turn radii, reduce vehicles speeds and increase cyclist visibility.

Cycle Signals

Cycle signals are traffic signals designed specifically for cyclists. They can be used at any intersection, especially on high volume streets and cycle streets. Cycle signals improve safety and confidence for cyclists at places with large volumes of vehicular traffic or conflict. Cycle signals—particularly those associated with protected facilities—should be part of the normal signal cycle. If signals are actuated, use automatic detection. Avoid the use of push-button activation in urban settings.

Wayfinding, Signages and Markings

Wayfinding, signage, and markings are elements that identify cycle routes to reach major destinations or connecting cycle facilities. These include signs with directions, specially designed street signs, and markings on the road. When well-designed and comprehensive, they serve cyclists at a level similar to transit wayfinding and highway signs. They increase confidence and signal to drivers that they are on a cycle route and should exercise caution.

Cycle Share Stations

Cycle share stations are special cycle racks that act as places to pick up or drop off cycle share bicycles. In many cases, these are connected sets of docks with significant physical presence. Cycle share stations can be an integral part of cycle-friendly streets, allowing for spontaneous trips, and serving as traffic calming measures or providing additional protection from motor vehicles. They should be placed near cycle infrastructure and be clearly visible to pedestrians.

Cycle Bridges and Underpasses

While at-grade facilities for cycles are strongly preferred, sometimes bridges or underpasses can provide direct access for cyclists to cross a waterbody or a rail-road track. They also can improve cycle comfort in climates with extreme temperatures. These should be well-designed, well-lit, and properly maintained to ensure that they are a useful part of the cycle network. Grade changes at bridges should be kept to a minimum. If grade change is substantial, underpasses are preferred for high volume routes since they allow acceleration upon descent.

Cycle Racks

Cycle racks are inexpensive street elements that allow cyclists to securely park their cycles. While there are many designs, they are generally made of metal tubing and are bolted to a concrete surface. They are most useful when placed near major destinations or in commercial areas, and should be placed at least 0.75 m apart. While they create opportunities for unique designs, the functionality and safety of the rack should not be compromised for visual appeal.

Cycle Corrals

A cycle corral is a row of cycle racks placed on the street that occupies space in the parking lane. Existing parking spaces can be used efficiently as cycle parking, which helps free up space on the sidewalks. The cycle racks in the corral should be protected from parked cars by a plastic delineator or parking stops.

Cycle Parking Structures

Cycle parking structures are high-quality cycle parking facilities providing a large amount of cycle parking protected from other street elements. They are installed at transit stations or major destinations such as shopping centers, and often use multilevel cycle racks to maximize storage. These structures should be easily accessible by nearby cycle routes and should be paired with wayfinding and signage that directs cyclists.

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.

Cycle Facilities

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Cycle Facilities