AASHTO generally does not recommend sidepaths along roadways for a variety of reasons, including issues with contraflow movements, proximity to roadway traffic, intersections, etc. Where they are used, AASHTO recommends a path 10ft wide, with a 5 ft or greater separation from the roadway. Where that amount of separation is not available, AASHTO notes that the installation of a “physical barrier or railing should be provided between the path and the roadway” (AASHTO Guide, 5-11). Narrower path widths are permissible in constrained situations.
AASHTO’s guidelines for sidepaths along roadways acknowledges that while a sub-optimal solution, they may be appropriate where:
- “the adjacent roadway has relatively high-volume and high speed motor-vehicle traffic that might discourage many bicyclists from riding on the roadway”
- “the sidepath is used for a short distance to provide continuity. . .”
- “the sidepath can be built with few roadway and driveway crossings”
- “The sidepath can be terminated at each end onto streets that accommodate bicyclist, onto another path, or in a location that is otherwise bicycle compatible.”
AASHTO is further clear that “provision of a pathway adjacent to the road is not a substitute for the provision of on-road accommodation such as paved shoulders or bike lanes, but may be considered in some locations in addition to on-road bicycle facilities” (AASHTO Guide 5-8).
The Kittery Sidepath Project includes a number of deviations from standard AASHTO design guidelines that the BCM agrees are justifiable due to the constraints of the project. The proposed project we are commenting on includes:
- Changes to Rt. 1 that would narrow the travel lane to 11 feet, with a 4 foot shoulder
- A sidepath not less than 8 ft wide, with an esplanade of not less than 2 feet, extending fromnear the Memorial Traffic Circle to Adams Road.
- Shared Lane Markings on Adams Road spaced no further than 250 ft apart, as per MUTCDguidelines.
- A multi-use path around the Memorial Traffic Circle of not less than 8 ft wideThe Bicycle Coalition of Maine supports these design components, which include exceptions to AASHTO standards, because the roadway in its current state:
- is not inviting to bicyclists
- has discontinuous, inconsistent accommodation for bicyclists and pedestrians
- does not have an excessive number of driveway and roadway crossings
- will connect to another bicycle facility at one terminus, and to a low volume street on the other.
It is the BCM’s position that even though the Kittery Sidepath Project will not meet optimal recommended AASHTO standards, it will nonetheless significantly improve the level of service for bicycles and pedestrians along this stretch of roadway.
- BCM strongly recommends that, as per AASHTO guidelines, a low fence or other form of physical barrier be put on the road side of the path where the separating esplanade is less than 5 ft wide.
- BCM recommends that a short sidewalk be constructed around the radius of the landscaped berm on the north side of the intersection of Adams to provide continuous pedestrian access onto Route 1.
- BCM recommends that a bicycle corral be considered at the intersection of Adams Road and Route 1 in order to provide convenient bike parking at the point where the road conditions become less safe for bicycle riders, to encourage riders to park and access the Outlet area by food.
- BCM recommends that the MaineDOT consider a future road-diet lane reduction treatment for Route 1 from Adams Road northbound (AADT <17000) in order to create space for better bicycle accommodation.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments. We are happy to offer additional comments as needed.