Some of the advocates of better facility designs for accommodating bicycling are, in my opinion, overzealous, loose, and somewhat misleading in their promotion of NACTO’s guideline ideas. This recent promotional piece uses the term “endorsed” as though the US Dept of Transportation FHWA accepts NACTO guidelines as standards to be used in place of existing standards. We too want better accommodation, even perhaps prioritization of bicycling over motor vehicles uses in some cases, but I and USDOT and FHWA are actually saying use NACTO for inspiration/vision but not in place of responsible engineering judgement.
This excerpt is quoted from the FHWA document answering questions about “Design Flexibility for Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities.”
Does the [NACTO] Urban Street Design Guide supersede other existing national standards or guidelines?
No. The Urban Street Design Guide can serve as one of many sources to inform the planning and design process, but it does not supersede other existing national standards or guidelines. The Urban Street Design Guide can be used in conjunction with other design resources; however, there are many design details not addressed by this Guide and it is not fully consistent with other guidance. For example, in the area of accessible design, the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards and the Public Rights-Of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG) are the primary source of design and construction details to ensure compliance with the ADA. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) is the national standard for traffic control devices to promote highway safety and efficiency on the Nation’s streets and highways as required by Federal regulation.