Are NACTO’s guidelines new standards?

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.

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About Jim Baross

I bicycled across the USA from East to West in 1976 leading groups of bicyclists for the “Bikecentennial ’76 “event and again in 2007 riding this time from West to East with my two sons. I was first certified as an Effective Cycling Instructor in 1986 by the League of American Bicyclist and have been an active League Cycling Instructor for the League since then. In 2002 I gained acceptance as a Cycling Instructor Trainer and since then have conducted 11 training seminars for certification of League Cycling Instructors held in San Diego, San Jose, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Sacramento, Morgan Hill, Fairfax, and Palo Alto. I completed the San Diego Police Bicycle Skills Menu Course in 2003 and I have been an expert witness for bicycling crash incidents. I presently serve on several bicycling advisory committees and advocacy organizations. Chair - Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Working Group for the San Diego regional association of governments since 1995 Vice Chair - California Bicycle Advisory Committee for the State Dept of Transportation, a member since 1992 President - California Association of Bicycling Organizations Board member - California Bicycle Coalition California State Ambassador – League of American Bicyclists Co-Chair California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Challenge Area 13, Improving Bicycling Safety Conferences, seminars and similar events at which I have attended and presented bicycling safety information and training include the following: Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety, Summit “What to do about all these bicycles in Traffic”, 2009 ProWalk-ProBike Conference, Seattle WA., 2008 Attendee/Speaker, League of American Bicyclists, Bike Education Conference, Wisconsin and New York City, 2002 & 2007 Velo Mondial, Amsterdam. 2000 Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety’s Summit “A Vision for Roads to Traffic Safety”, 2000 Speaker Autovation conference, San Diego 2005 Chair, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, #13 - Improve Bicycling Safety Presenter, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan Summit, 2008 Anaheim Attendee, League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Summit, Washington, DC, 2006 & 2008 Presenter, Walk/Bike California Conferences, Oakland 2003, Ventura 2005, Davis 2007 Speaker, Making the Connection International Trails and Greenways Conference Presenter, Safety N Kids, Conference, “Children Learn Best by Good Examples From Those They Trust”, 2006 Speaker, ITE Conference 2006 Dana Point, Calif., “Engineering for Bicycling, From a Bicyclists Point of View” Exhibitor/Speaker, Lifesavers, National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, 2004 References familiar with my bicycling background and experience include: Kathy Keehan, Exec Director San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Ph: 858-487-6063, Email: Stephan Vance, Chair Calif. Bicycle Coalition and SANDAG Senior Planner, Ph: 619-595-5324, Email: Ken McGuire, Chief Bicycle Facilities Unit, California Dept of Transportation, Ph: 916-653-2750, Email: Preston Tyree, Director of Education, League of American Bicyclists, 1612 K St., NW, #800, Washington, DC 20006, Ph: 202-822-1333 x 227, Email: