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What amenities should we consider in designing on-street facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists?

Pedestrians and bicyclists need to feel safe and welcome as they walk or ride along streets and when they cross streets. Specific amenities (facilities and services) usually flow out of pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly streetscape design standards and policies reflecting community aesthetics, values, and history.

Photo: Dan Burden,

www.pedbikeimages.org.

Universally, pedestrians and bicyclists appreciate benches, good directional information, availability of drinking water and public restrooms, calm traffic, and a visually stimulating place to walk or ride. Bicyclists need safe and secure parking. Bicyclists who are commuting to work need indoor facilities such as showers, clothing lockers, changing rooms, secure and covered bicycle parking/storage, etc. Shopkeepers and restaurateurs who want to attract people on bicycles need to provide secure bicycle parking facilities nearby. Innovative bicycle parking options are available, including on-street racks (avoid "wheel-bender" bike racks that fail to support the bicycle frame in two places), covered parking, and attractive looking transparent bike lockers activated using a debit card. (Visit this site for a video on secure bicycle parking: http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/secure-bike-parking-just-cents-per-hour/.)

Amenities that enable pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the street include marked crosswalks, shortened crossing distances achieved through the use of curb extensions, stop bars for motorists located far enough back to provide clear sight distances to motorists of pedestrians in a crosswalk (particularly on multi-lane roadways), and effective signs and signals. Many communities have found that in-street pedestrian crossing signs are effective if they are a part of a comprehensive education and enforcement effort.

For more information about on-street facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists, visit http://www.walkinginfo.org/engineering/ and http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/engineering/.