sidewalk-level bikeways

Given the issues raised by the need for wider bikeways to accommodate wider devices and passing, the topic of my bike lane widths post, I am starting to think more and more about sidewalk-level bikeways, where the bikeway is at the same level as the sidewalk, and not at street level. The street-edge curb provides a good separation between motor vehicles and bicyclists and walkers (not perfect, drivers do ‘accidentally’ or intentional cross curbs). I am concerned that as street-level bikeways become wider, there will be more and more motor vehicle intrusions.

Here are are two diagrams from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Pedestrian Design Guide (2022), page 28. The first uses a tactile divider between the sidewalk and bikeway, the second a buffer similar to the regular sidewalk buffer, but with reduced width due to the greater separation from motor vehicle traffic as compared to regular sidewalks. Note that the street classification system that PBOT uses is interesting, but probably more than is needed in Sacramento for the Street Design Standards update.

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