Bicycle Boulevards

Description

Bicycle boulevard with intersection diverter in San Luis Obispo, California

Streets with low motorized traffic volumes and speeds that have been designated and modified to function as a through street for bicyclists. Bicycle boulevards use signs, pavement markings, and traffic calming measures to discourage through travel for motor vehicles. Bicycle boulevards maintain local access and many of the treatments also help create safer, more attractive local streets. Typical treatments may include traffic diverters, neighborhood traffic signals, wayfinding signs, or shared-lane markings.

Purpose

Utilize local streets to provide low-stress, through routes for bicyclists. Bicycle boulevards can also provide connections between shared use paths, cycle tracks, and bike lanes.

Considerations

  • Bicycle boulevards should provide continuity for the distance of an average urban bicycle trip (about two to five miles). Connectivity is key to the success of a bicycle boulevard.
  • Intersections along bicycle boulevards should minimize delay and improve safety.
  • To reduce conflicts, intersections need traffic control and/or geometric design elements.
  • These routes need signage and marking, especially since they might be less intuitive or visible compared to major parallel streets. Some cities have special branding for their bicycle boulevards.
  • Consider opportunities to include green infrastructure, such as stormwater treatment facilities and street trees. These elements can provide an ecological and aesthetic enhancement.

Cost

Costs vary, but bicycle boulevards offer a cost-effective use of existing roadways that also benefit residents and pedestrians.