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Bicycle Path Entry Control

Ed Cox, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, City of Sacramento, CA
Maggie O'Mara, Senior Transportation Engineer, California Department of Transportation


More Slides!

RETURN TO PART I

Given the opportunity, fold-down posts will be misused.

Photo of bollard locked in folded down position with hinge and padlock, protruding about six inches high into path

  • Even in up position the hinge and lock mechanism is a crash hazard
  • Agency staff hould have raised bollard after they accessed path
  • Should not have locked it down. Unlocked would have allowed it to be raised out of harm's way by anyone.

What's the likelihood of unauthorized entry?

Photo of one bollard in center of path in folded down position

  • We need guidance for applying bollards
  • Is there really a serious vehicle entry threat?
  • Unnecessary bollard now creating a crash hazard
  • Is the risk to users worse than the threat of vehicle entry

Consider user travel path

Photo of path meets sidewalk , middle bollard of three folded down

  • Trails not lined up
  • Present configuration prevents vehicle entry so why add hazard
  • Bollard not up! Hazard for NO benefit.
  • Ed's observation: small percentage of bollards are returned to vertical.

Avoid forcing bicyclists onto sidewalk

Photo of path entrance at sidewalk., street on other side of sidewalk blocked by non standard metal barrier with signs: left hand sign says Use Crosswalk and has left pointing arrow, right hand sign says No ped bike crossing. path has wooden post on grass approximately ten inches from path on either side, one bollard in middle of path

  • No vehicle entry potential
  • Requires bicyclists to turn onto sidewalk but turn doesn't meet mandatory design speed standards
  • Bike path should connect directly to road
  • Misguided attempt to make bicyclists 'behave' by putting up barrier
  • Barrier not high visibility

Not designed for two-way traffic. Is barrier needed?

Photo of bike path with street on left side and approximately one foot hight post and chain fence on right side. swivel barrier in perpendicular position is closer to post and chain fence side of path than it is to the street side and divides path into one third and two thirds.

  • Yet another type of device. Is this overkill?
  • Not mentioned in guidance, but not forbidden; doesn't serve primary users.
  • Dark, no delineation, no lane assignment

Swivel allows authorized vehicles, but needs pavement marking

Left hand photo shows swivel gate in center of path, in perpendicular to path position. Right hand photo shows same swivel gate in parallel to path position

  • Better, but no striping, high visibility or reflectivity
  • Better than removable or fold-down bollards

Barriers too short, in travel path, not marked, opening too narrow for two-way travel

Photo shows bike path with short square curb, intersecting with another bike path or sidewalk. Overhead decorative metal arch. Two large planters, over a foot in diameter each, are place on either side of path. Approximately six inch clearance between planter and each curb. Clearance between planters approximately fifty percent of total path width.

  • Without clear guidance anything is possible
  • No violation of standards other than lack of delineation.
  • Not high visibility, confusion about lane assignment, short height not as visible, no delineation

Don't put barriers where they can be defeated

Photo of bike path at sidewalk and street. three bollards between path and sidewalk, area on side of path completely open, tire tracks in the grass clearly indicate a vehicle has circumvented the bollards

  • Effort to put in bollards serves no purpose when maintenance vehicles just drive around them.
  • Hazard without benefit

Don't put barriers where they can be defeated

Photo of one bollard in the middle of path where path meets street. Approximately twenty feet beyond the street a high chain link fence with closed gate completely block the path

  • Path on master plan but operator of pump station put in massive gate
  • Barbed wire at top
  • Motorists can drive around, and have
  • For good measure put in bollard
  • Leaving bollard down would be icing on cake

Don't put barriers where they can be defeated

Photo of bike path at sidewalk and street. choice of crossing sidewalk / street, or making left turn and remaining on path. yellow painted center line of path follows turn, does not mark choice to cross sidewalk / street. Single bollard shown at path and sidewalk

  • Bollard doesn't stop vehicles.
  • Needs to be redesigned as T intersection and to visually narrow access point.

Too many posts, bad spacing, no delineation

Photo of path meeting sidewalk, then street, pedestrian crosswalk on street, shows sidewalk on opposite side of street and bike path continuing. on near side five silver poles, arranged in a non-linear fashion, are on path at sidewalk , on far side one yellow square shaped post sits in the middle of the path at sidewalk

  • Excessive number
  • In path of travel
  • Nonstandard clearance
  • Enough width for gate next to path with single fixed or no bollard or pivet
  • Might be wide to double duty as drainage swale

A disaster in so many ways.

Photo of bike path meeting sidewalk and street where street curves approximately ninety degrees. five yellow bollards on path at the sidewalk, a curb causes a drop between path and sidewalk for eighty percent of path width. one of the five bollards is bent slightly

  • Vertical curb between path and sidewalk, yet bollard spacing implies it's the path entry.
  • Path of travel where path meets sidewalk flush has vertical curb at gutter.
  • Turn from path to sidewalk and from sidewalk to curb ramp doesn't meet design standards for paths
  • Standards should clarify that bike path/road transition point is where path meets street, not sidewalk, so path users can cross or turn onto street without bicycling on a sidewalk.
  • Plans and standards should clearly show that path ends at flow line not back of sidewalk

Consider curves and downhill sightlines

Photo shows bike path intersecting with bike path or road. silver pole at very edge of path on either side and single yellow bollard in center of path at intersection.

  • Cyclist coming down from levee on curve, and bollard is at bottom
  • If bollard is last resort can't it be at top?
  • Is this a candidate for a separate access gate for maint and a 8' path with a single fixed bollard?

Provide ramps for direct access

Photo shows from nearest to farthest: perpendicular bike path on road, square curb, approximately five inches high, cement apron, sidewalk parallel to road, bike path perpendicular to road continueing into the distance. one yellow bollard in center of path at sidewalk, open area on either side of path.

  • Nice concept, houses open to path.
  • Beautiful path, gates open to path. Lots of effort in area beyond bollard.
  • But... forgot objective #1!
  • Not routed to city bike coordinator for review
  • Simple fix - add ramp, signs
  • If vehicles clear curb bollard won't stop

Coordinate trailhead and accessibility design

Two photos each show bike paths intersecting with roadway where the road curves. Neither path has a barrier of bollard of any type.

Recommendations

  • Provide best practice examples
  • Modify existing guidance.
  • Educate path designers.
  • Entry control objectives: meet user needs, keep out or discourage access by unauthorized motor vehicles , while allowing access by emergency services
  • Questions:
  • How can entry control meet user needs?
  • How extreme should vehicle access controls be?
  • How can service/emergency access the path?

Guidance Needs to Address:

  • Needs of path users.
  • Different path interface types
  • Function of design elements
  • Procedure for applying elements

Four Basic Interface Types

Mid-block Cul-de-sac or Roundabout
Drawing shows bike path perpendicular with and ending at a road Drawing shows bike path ending at top end of cul-de-sac
T-intersection Intersection
Drawing shows T shaped bike path. bottom leg of T points toward pedestrian walk in roadway, long leg of T runs parallel to the roadway Drawing shows bike path ending at intersection in roadway with four crosswalks. bike path hits intersection at diagonal

  • Undesirable to route path to intersection crosswalks - safety and legal issues.
  • If intersection is a roundabout, path can be one leg of roundabout, clearly marked/designed to deter unauthorized vehicle entry

Design Elements

  • Pavement
  • Curbs and curb ramps
  • Delineation
  • Fences
  • Signs
  • Barriers -height, diameter, color, reflectivity, clearance,number, location
  • Path crossing of roadway
  • Traffic signals/other controls
  • No projections from bollards like Folsom dam posts

Photo shows bike path crossing sidewalk, apron, street with pedestrian walkway, apron, sidewalk and bike path continued. broken painted line in center of path on both sides of street, no bollards or barriers are evident. bicyclist shown approaching street on far side

  • Wisconsin
  • Good example

Best Practices/Guidance

  • Accessible curb ramps (ADA)
  • 3-Step Approach:
    • signs
    • path entry design
    • barriers
  • When barriers are used:
    • out of path of travel.
    • no fold-down/sleeve bollards on paved path.
    • gates should not encroach on path when open - consider swing direction.
    • maintain minimum clear openings.

Best Practices/Guidance

  • 3 Step approach for vehicular controls

Publication from Santa Barbara Bicyclists Coalition. Title is Posts on Bikepaths. Subtitle is: survey of posts on bikepaths in Southern Santa Barbara County, California.

  • SBBC recommends a graduated approach
    • Signs first
    • Don't make it look like vehicle entry or design path to discourage intentional entry
    • Bollards and gates properly applied

3 Step Approach

1st step: Signs

Photo of sign that says in large letters motor vehicles prohibited. in small letters except by special permit

Photo shows two bike path signs with various directives, for example, no alcohol, yield to horses, no motor vehicles, no camping, bicyclists and skaters travel single file in right lane except when passing, etcetera.

  • Signs are design elements that can influence behavior.
  • Do all of the rules on the right meet user needs?

Photo of sign for the jedediah smith national recreational trail. sign intends to show user location, but red indicator dot is missing form the sign.

  • Intent to meet user needs but fails - dot faded or came off - need to maintain or something more permanent.

3 Step Approach

2nd step: Path Entry Design

  • Split path discourages vehicle entry

Photo shows bike pathe at intersection entering a choice of two pedestrian crosswalks. no bollards or barriers are present.

  • No bollards required
  • Some defects that could be fixed: width of sidewalk and ramp too narrow, turn too tight - don't meet design standards.

3 Step Approach

2nd step: Path Entry Design

  • Split path

Photo shows large light pole in center of bike path where it meets the street. the solution shown splits the bike path in half, each direction must make two sharp turns to cross the street.

  • T intersection
  • Beginning of split path concept but need to provide larger radius curves so bicyclists can turn from ramp to one-way path and turn onto two-way path at reasonable speeds
  • Entry too narrow - doesn't meet minimum width for one way bicycle path
  • Probably should move light pole. Creates crash hazard and we already have raised curb to deter vehicle entry.

3 Step Approach

2nd step: Path Entry Design

  • Shouldn't look like vehicle entry

Photo shows bike path connecting to pedestrian crossing on roadway

  • Correction: ramp needs to be 8'

3 Step Approach

3rd Step: Barriers

  • Provide Separate access for authorized vehicles

Photo shows bike path approaching sidewalk, then street without pedestrian crosswalk. four bollards, all in folded down position are present. two are on the bike path, two are to one side of the path where the space is open. the other side of the path has a hard curb, approximately six inches high.

  • This was fixed to remove 2 bollards on path, center a new one, and leave fold down or removable sleeves on other two
  • Never saw fold down bollards in up position

3 Step Approach

3rd Step: Barriers

  • Provide Separate access for authorized vehicles

Photo shows a vehicle entrance adjacent and parallel to a bike path and separated by a high curb. vehicle entrance is blocked by closed gate on swing arm. bicycle path has a bollard in the center and a bollard on side opposite vehicular roadway

  • Example of separate vehicle access but is the post really necessary
  • American River path at entry to Ethan
  • Path too narrow, gate should have been mounted on other post, the curb narrows the usable width, creates maintenance issues, creates obstruction

3 Step Approach

3rd Step: Barriers

  • Separate access for authorized vehicles

Photo shows a vehicle entrance adjacent and parallel to a bike path. vehicle entrance is blocked by closed gate on swing arm. bicycle path has three bollards, one in center with yellow painted diamond on asphault. traditional stop sign in between at-grade bike path and motor vehicle roadway

  • Just needs more space on either side

3 Step Approach

3rd Step: Barriers

  • Separate access for authorized vehicles

Photo shows a vehicle entrance adjacent and parallel to a bike path. vehicle entrance is blocked by closed gate on swing arm. path has two bollards, one in middle another opposite side of swing arm. bollard in center with yellow painted diamond on asphault. high privacy fence runs along side of bike path opposite roadway

  • Just needs more space on either side of pole and use cylindrical poles coated with yellow epoxy instead of square metal posts. Add edge line next to fence.

3 Step Approach

3rd Step: Barriers

  • Integrated vehicular gate at path entry

Photo shows bike path crosses roadway in pedestrian crosswalk. as path approaches roadway it widens considerably. a diamond shaped median is delineated in center of wide portion by three high posts, with two cross posts and one bollard

  • Almost there but needs refinement to avoid confusion

3 Step Approach

3rd Step: Barriers

  • Integrated vehicular gate at path entry

Photo shows bike path between railroad tracks and high chain link fence. railroad has raised gravel bed parallel, approximately two feet wide. as the path widens, two high posts holding two cross posts block the center of the path. bicycle passage on either side of this structure. one bollard between structure and railroad tracks at edge of bike path

  • Just needs more space on either side

Revise MUTCD Section 9C-101(CA)

  • Change title to "Entry Control for Bicycle Paths"
  • Discuss hazards that barriers pose to bicyclists
  • State that barriers may be considered only when
    • Other measures don't control unauthorized entry, and
    • The danger posed by unauthorized users exceeds the safety risk posed to bicyclists by barriers
  • Establish standards for post and gate dimensions
  • Provide figures for entry control layouts

Revise MUTCD Section 9C-101(CA)

three photos, top show sign reading no motor vehicles, middle photo shows bike path crossing pedestrian crosswalk, bottom photo shows bike path adjacent to utility vehicle roadway.

Describe 3-step approach to entry control:

  1. Install signs identifying path and prohibiting vehicle entry
  2. Design path entry to discourage vehicle access.
  3. Use barriers only if vehicle entry risks exceed barrier risks to bicyclists. If possible provide separate authorized vehicular access.

Note: second photo not ideal. Ramp width doesn't meet width standards for bicycle paths and intersection with road would be better away from intersection, at its own intersection.

Revise MUTCD Section 9C-101(CA)

Barrier posts or gates:

Photo shows raised metal sleeve with missing bollard
Photo shows single bollard
Drawing of aerial view of bike path shows three bollards, one on each side of path, one in the middle. Five feet separate each bollard. Drawing shows diamond around middle bollard and two cyclists one traveling in each direction

  1. If removable, leaving a flush surface
  2. Permanently reflective for nighttime visibility and made of or coated with bright color for daytime visibility
  3. 5' clearance face to face, not center to center

Revise MUTCD Section 9C-101(CA)

Drawing of aerial view of bike path. Shows single bollard placement in center of path with yellow diamond around it. Shows one bollard on either side of the paved path, separated from pavement by two feet.

Barrier posts or gates:

  1. On pavement, place posts only on lane line or center line
  2. Off pavement, placed 2' min from pavement edge or 2' outside edge line of all-paved path
  3. Keep existing diamond marking guidance per MUTCD Fig 9C-2

Revise MUTCD Section 9C-101(CA)

Barrier posts or gates:

Two drawings, top drawing shows four examples of signs: two examples of each: divided path and obstacle ahead. Image notes that these are not MUTCD signs, conceptual only. Bottom drawing aerial view of bike path entrance from a curve.

  1. Use special advance warning signs or pavement markings where sight distance is a concern.
  2. Set backs for pull-in clearance
    • 10' to 30' from end of path
    • 5' to 10' from bridge.
  3. Spaced with enough clearance for trailers, adult tricycles turning onto path

Revise MUTCD Section 9C-101(CA)

Barrier posts or gates:

Two photos, top photo shows a vehicle entrance adjacent and parallel to a bike path. vehicle entrance is blocked by closed gate on swing arm. bicycle path has a bollard in the center and bollard on side opposite vehicular roadway. Swingarm functions as third bollard. bottom photo shows a vehicle entrance adjacent and parallel to a bike path. vehicle entrance is blocked by closed gate on swing arm. bicycle path has three bollards, one in center with yellow painted diamond on asphault. Ttraditional stop sign in between at-grade bike path and motor vehicle roadway

  1. Outside of highway clear zone
  2. Single non-removable post on path centerline with separate gate next to path for authorized vehicle access, and gate swing away from path, instead of multiple removable posts.

Revise MUTCD Section 9C-101(CA)

Photo of six posts, approximate diameter of chain link fence post, block path at sidewalk. creates six openings of approximately 12 inches, seventh opening approximately twenty four inches
Photo of bollard locked in folded down position with hinge and padlock
Photo of two lengths of chain link fence, perpendicular to the path require bikers to make two immediately consecutive hair pin turns in the middle of the path just as path meets sidewalk and street

  • Prohibit barriers that prevent motorcycle entry
  • Prohibit fold-down posts within paved part of path
  • Prohibit use of barriers to force bicyclists to slow down or stop

Revise California Highway Design Manual and AASHTO "bicycle guide":

  • Add geometric design standards and guidance to HDM and guidance to AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities.

Institute a Training Program

  • Include in transportation engineers and planners professional development programs.
  • Outreach to landscape architecture professional development programs.
Updated: 02/10/2014
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