In 2019, the City of Lancaster, in cooperation with Lancaster County and the Lancaster Intermunicipal Committee, completed an Active Transportation Plan which set out to create a safe and convenient interconnected network of bicycle, pedestrian and transit facilities that promote healthy living and economic vitality. The Lancaster City Bike network is a combination of on-street and off-road bicycling facilities connecting neighborhoods, parks, schools, and places people work, shop and visit. Facilities include shared streets and bike boulevards, conventional and separated bike lanes, multi-use paths, bike parking, and bike share. It is designed make to both the daily commuter and the casual cyclist feel comfortable and safe.
“A Bike Lane is defined as a portion of the roadway that has been designated by striping, signage, and pavement markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists. Bike lanes enable bicyclists to ride at their preferred speed without interference from prevailing traffic conditions and facilitate predictable behavior and movements between bicyclists and motorists.” From NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, April 2011
A sharrow is a shared lane marking placed in a travel lane that uses a bicycle symbol and two chevrons to indicate the direction of travel. “Shared lane markings help convey to motorists and bicyclists that they must share the roads on which they operate. The markings create improved conditions by clarifying where bicyclists are expected to ride and by notifying motorists to expect bicyclists on the road.” From Evaluation of Shared Lane Markings. FHWA Publication No.: FHWA-HRT-10-044
“Bicycle boulevards are low-volume and low-speed streets that have been optimized for bicycle travel through treatments such as traffic calming and traffic reduction, signage and pavement markings, and intersection crossing treatments. These treatments allow through movements for cyclists while discouraging similar through trips by non-local motorized traffic. Motor vehicle access to properties along the route is maintained.” From Fundamentals of Bicycle Boulevard Planning & Design, Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation, July 2009
A separated bike lane is an exclusive facility for bicyclists that is located within or directly adjacent to the roadway and that is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic with a vertical element. Separated bike lanes are differentiated from standard and buffered bike lanes by the vertical element. They are differentiated from shared use paths (and sidepaths) by their more proximate relationship to the adjacent roadway and the fact that they are bike-only facilities. Separated bike lanes are also sometimes called “cycle tracks” or “protected bike lanes.” From Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide, U.S. Department of transportation, Federal Highway Administration, May 2015
No. Pennsylvania law does not require bicyclists to use bike lanes. Bicyclists are encouraged to ride where they feel safest and most comfortable.
There are currently no restrictions on who may use bike lanes, however, pedestrians shall walk on sidewalks if they exist. For personal safety people walking should not use bicycle lanes.
No. There are currently more than 120 miles of streets in the City and less than 10.0 miles include bike lanes.
Separated bike lanes include, at a minimum, a painted buffer to separate the bicycle traffic from moving and parked motor vehicles. They could also include flexible vertical post or other moveable or immovable objects for physical separation. The flexible posts, also called delineators, are reflective to increase visibility at night. They are often used as lane dividers at intersections and merge areas, and are widely used in other cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and New York.
Source: NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, April 2011
Separated bike lanes offer improved safety over conventional bike lanes. Research shows that many people who would like to bicycle but don’t, are concerned about potential vehicle-bicycle conflicts. This research shows that cities with separated bike lanes see a significant decrease in sidewalk cycling along those corridors. These will allow more Lancastrians to use a bicycle for transportation and recreation. The research referenced above can be found at the People for Bikes website at http://peopleforbikes.org/our-work/statistics/statistics-category/?cat=protected-bike-lane-statistics
Yes. Separated bike lanes are proposed for Walnut Street and Chestnut Street.
The Walnut – Chestnut Separated bikeway is a combination of on-street bicycle facilities within the street rights-of-way of Walnut and Chestnuts Streets. The facility types proposed include separated bike lanes, conventional bike lanes, and shared lanes. The separated bike lanes will run in the same direction as the streets for approximately 4 miles in total length. The bikeway will extend along both Walnut and Chestnut Streets from McCaskey Avenue in the east to College Ave in the west.
On most streets receiving new bike facilities, there should be no significant changes to on-street parking.
However, parking restrictions near intersections would be enforced to maintain clear sight distances. As used here, sight distance is how far a driver (and someone walking or riding a bicycle) can see as they are entering a street from a cross street or driveway.
On streets where the parking protected separated bike lanes will be installed, on-street parking will be moved away from the curb to accommodate a bike lane and painted buffer area. Some on-street parking spaces could be lost to improve sight distance at intersections and driveways and to provide vehicle turning lanes where needed.
With parking pulled off the curb for separated bike lanes, would cars be able to park in front of fire hydrants or closer to the intersections?
No. All existing parking restrictions would remain in force on streets with separated or protected bike lanes.
The following is from Section 285-15 of the Code of the City of Lancaster:
A. No vehicle shall be parked within 15 feet from any fire hydrant
B. No vehicle shall be parked within 20 feet from any crosswalk at a street intersection
C. No vehicle shall be parked within 30 feet upon the approach to any flashing signal, stop sign, yield sign or traffic-control signal located at the side of a roadway
How will sight distances be handled for cars pulling out of cross streets over the separated bike lanes?
- As with making a turn at any intersection, drivers should be aware of pedestrians, bicycles and other vehicles. The same is true for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing a street. According to NACTO:
- If the cycle track is parking protected, parking should be prohibited near the intersection to improve visibility. The desirable no-parking area is 30 feet from each side of the crossing.
- For motor vehicles attempting to cross the cycle track from the side-street or driveway, street and sidewalk furnishings and/or other features should accommodate a sight triangle of 20 feet to the cycle track from minor street crossings, and 10 feet from driveway crossing.
- Color, yield lines, and “Yield to Bikes” signage should be used to identify the conflict area and make it clear that the cycle track has priority over entering and exiting traffic.
Currently, there are no proposed changes to trash and recycling collection on streets with existing or proposed bike lanes. However, all deliveries on streets with bike facilities, especially Chestnut and Walnut Streets, will be evaluated carefully and changes could be made if warranted. For example, trash pickup could occur before rush hour or between peak travel times – late morning, early afternoon. Alternatively, if trash pickup were fully coordinated with street cleaning, trash trucks would have pull-off space due to an empty parking lane.
Oil trucks and other delivery vehicles should park always park in loading zones, if available. According to Chapter 285 of the Code of the City of Lancaster, it is unlawful for any vehicle to park or stand in a travel lane that blocks traffic. Options could be explored for creating additional daytime loading zones and establishing procedures for residents to acquire “no parking” signs prior to deliveries and other activities that would block the street.
Emergency access to homes or businesses would be no different on a street with a separated bike lane than streets without a bike lane or with a conventional in-street bike lane. If barriers, such as delineator posts are used, they would be moveable and/or flexible and would not create an obstacle or barrier in the event of an emergency.
Street Cleaning would continue to clean the curb and gutter area as is the current practice. The City is currently exploring options for snow clearance in the proposed separated bike lanes to allow for year-round use by commuting bicyclists.
During snow emergencies, parked vehicles must be removed from all snow emergency routes. Streets with bike lanes would be no different from other snow emergency route streets where the entire street is available to emergency vehicles and snow plows.
Existing bus stops have designated pull off areas where parking is prohibited. There are no proposed changes to existing bus stops. RRTA’s current policy for stopping to pick-up/drop-off is to not to stop in a travel lane but to pullover to the curb, berm or dedicated bus pullover. The duration of a typical stop is usually under a minute.
The length of a typical pull-over stop is generally 40-45 ft. for far side stop (at intersection, stop after crossing street); 75-80 ft. for nearside stop (at intersection, stop before crossing street); and 100 ft. for mid-block stop.
The lift on the paratransit vehicles can drop down to either the road surface or curb/sidewalk. A safe, accessible path to and from the vehicle is important for any location where the lift is deployed. It generally takes 5-6 minutes to pick-up/drop-off a wheelchair when a lift is used. It may be 4-5 minutes on a bus with a ramp.
The following widths of passenger vehicles includes mirrors: 2015 Ford F150 XL regular cab – 6’ 7.9”; 2015 Chevy Suburban LS – 6’ 8.5”; 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe – 6’ 0.5”.
The widest Lancaster FD vehicle is 9’ 11” mirror to mirror.
More than just trash trucks use the street – oil delivery vehicles, UPS and Fed Ex, construction vehicles etc., of all makes and models. The following is representative of some of the largest, mirror to mirror widths:
- Kenworth T800 is 113” (9’ 5”); International ProStar+ 6×4 is 115.5” (9’ 7.5”).
- Maximum width of semi freight trailers is 102” (8.5’).
- A typical full-sized bus is 102” (8.5’) wide.
- 102” (8.5’) is the maximum width of all commercial vehicles established by federal statute, excluding mirrors and certain safety devices. 23 CFR Part 658; 49 USC 31111, 31112, 31113, and 31114.
The safety of all users – people walking, driving and bicycling – of the street is the most important factor in designing facilities to safely accommodate bicycling. All facilities will be installed using the latest design standards from NACTO and FHWA. A study of New York City’s protected bike lanes (Protected Bicycle Lanes in NYC, New York City Department of Transportation, September 2014) showed that total injuries – pedestrians, cyclists and drivers – dropped by 20% after protected bike lanes were installed, without reducing travel times. As part of the study process during the development of the FHWA Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide, a safety data analysis was conducted showing separated bike lanes reduce the likelihood of crashes (Rothenberg, H., D. Goodman, and C. Sundstrom, “Separated Bike Lane Crash Analysis”). Furthermore, a combination of nationally approved signage and pavement markings would be installed and maintained in accordance with the FHWA Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
A Transportation Research Board study showed that where lane widths were narrowed to below 12 ft., accident rates were reduced or unchanged. (Effective Utilization of Street Width on Urban Arterials, NCHRP Report 330, Transportation Research Board, 1990.) The TRB study as well as similar research consistently show narrower lane widths reduce travel speed, which in turn increases safety and dramatically reduces crashes involving injury and death (SRTS, NACTO, ITE, CITE).
There is no clear correlation between street width and fatalities in Lancaster, though most reports of pedestrian being hit are on major streets with wide lanes. Between 2012 and 2017, 2 pedestrians were killed in collisions with motor vehicles, out of a total of 462 reported crashes involving pedestrians and bicycles.
Road diets and other traffic calming techniques including bike lanes, are intended to slow traffic. The posted speed limit on Chestnut St is 25 mph. With the wide lanes, vehicles tend to exceed the speed limit. A recent traffic analysis showed that over one half of all drivers were exceeding 25 mph as they entered Chestnut St from the College Ave intersection, with about 15% driving faster than 31 mph. Additional traffic volume and speed analysis will be done prior to implementing the separated bikeways.
A report by the U. S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (DOT HS 809 021 October 1999, Final Report) on speeds and pedestrian injuries found that “only 5 percent of pedestrians would die when struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 miles per hour or less. This compares with fatality rates of 40, 80, and nearly 100 percent for striking speeds of 30, 40, and 50 miles per hour or more, respectively.”
At this time, bike lane speed limits are not proposed. The average cyclist rides less than 15 mph.
At this time, speed bumps are not proposed.
We do not know how many bicycles will use any bike facilities in the City. Since 2014, the Lancaster County Planning Commission staff organized annual bicycle counts in accordance with National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. On average, more than 600 bicyclists have been counted each year. We will continue to analyze ridership in the City to monitor the effectiveness of bike lanes. For studies of ridership increases go to http://peopleforbikes.org/our-work/statistics/statistics-category/?cat=protected-bike-lane-statistics#if-you-build-it-people-will-ride
Extreme caution should be exhibited when backing out of driveways on any street regardless of the presence of bike lanes or not.
The following is from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide, 2015
- Parking should be prohibited at least 20 ft. from the edge of a driveway, dependent on vehicle speeds and volumes. Paint alone may not be enough to keep vehicles from parking in prohibited spaces without frequent enforcement efforts. Additional elements such as delineator posts, parking stops, or concrete curb extensions can be included to ensure that this area remains clear. (Note: Section 285-16 of the Code of the City of Lancaster prohibits vehicles from parking in front of any public or private driveway or garage entrance, but does not set a distance.)
- To avoid separated bike lane encroachment of vehicles exiting driveways into the street, landscaping and other street-side elements that obscure sight distance should not be included within 15 ft. of a driveway edge.
- Floating parking design downstream of driveways on one-way streets do not require parking restrictions for visibility since no conflicting traffic is approaching.
- A variety of pavement marking treatments can be used to improve the visibility of the separated bike lane and reinforce expected bicyclist behaviors toward motorists. For further guidance on paint and striping in conflict areas, see page 114.
- Signs on side streets or driveways can alert drivers to expect bicycle traffic, especially on one-way streets.
- A delineator post may be placed on the centerline between the two directions of bicycle travel.
Section 285-16 of the Code of the City of Lancaster prohibits vehicles from parking in front of any public or private driveway or garage entrance.
The City of Lancaster will do its best to educate the public – walkers, bikers, drivers – on how to properly use streets with separated bike lanes.
The following basic instructions are from the Seattle Department of Transportation:
Riding a bike
Yield to pedestrians and wheelchair users who may be crossing the road and protected bike lane and give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.
Watch for turning vehicles when approaching intersections, driveways and alleys.
Be alert for passing bicyclists within the bike lane and for pedestrians crossing the bike lane to access parked motor vehicles.
Be aware that the bike lane may weave as it approaches intersections to make bicyclists more visible to motorists.
Stay to the right and allow faster users to pass safely.
Watch and listen for protected bike lane users traveling from either direction just as you would when crossing a street.
Cross protected bike lane at crosswalks.
Be alert for nearby cyclists when crossing a protected bike lane to access a parked vehicle.
Using a wheelchair
Travelers in wheelchairs can use bicycle lanes and public roads that have speed limits below 35 miles per hour. Individuals determine what is most comfortable and must follow the same rules as other protected bike lane users.
Park in the marked lane between the travel lane and the bike lane in instances where on-street parking is available.
Take extra caution and look both ways before turning across the bike lane at intersections, driveways and alleys, especially when the barrier protected bike lane is protected by on-street parking.
Watch for people on bikes traveling in both directions in two-way protected bike lanes.
Remember bicyclists have the right-of-way at uncontrolled intersections, driveways and alleys.
Don’t drive in a protected bike lane. You can turn across a protected bike lane, but must yield to people riding bicycles.
Lancaster is far from the first community to set out to become more bike-friendly. Check out the successes happening in other cities!