Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities: Design

Bicycle and pedestrian facilities have grown in popularity within the County over the past decade. The creation and use of bicycle and pedestrian facilities is one of the most effective techniques to reduce traffic and pollution and enhance the quality of life for residents.

"Bicycle facilities" can be defined as any facility or infrastructure that supports and enhances the safety of bicyclists. These facilities include a portion of roadway, shoulder, or right-of-way designed for exclusive or preferential use by bicyclists. "Pedestrian facilities" in this context refers to walkways, sidewalks, paths, and trails that are to be exclusively used by pedestrians only. "Shared Use" or "Multi-Use" refers to facilities commonly used by bicyclists, pedestrians, and other non-motorized modes of travel such as equestrians, cross country skiers, rollerbladers, baby strollers, and those utilizing wheelchairs. These facilities are mostly found within municipal parks or as regional trails such as Chester County's Chester Valley and Struble Trails.

Bicycle and pedestrian facilities, if adequately planned, designed, implemented, and used can play an important role in the overall transportation system of a municipality, as well as provide for recreational opportunities. These facilities provide a safe and alternative way for people of all ages and abilities to travel and reach destinations within a community and are common infrastructure elements associated with healthy and vibrant communities.


Bicycle and pedestrian facilities provide the following advantages:


Promoting bicycle and pedestrian facilities can be challenging due to:


Both bicycle and pedestrian facility planning are commonly thought of as an effort to develop a segregated walking and cycling system to satisfy all the non-motorized travel needs. Separate paths and lanes can augment the existing system in scenic corridors or places where access is limited, but existing corridors that often need only relatively inexpensive improvements must provide for the travel needs of both pedestrians and cyclists. These types of improvements and facilities are the focus of this tool. Bicycle and pedestrian transportation planning is more than creating segregated paths or lanes; it is an effort that should consider multiple transportation alternatives to provide for safe and efficient non-motorized travel.

The following is a brief outline for the steps involved in creating a bicycle and pedestrian network plan for your community. More specific recommendations for how to incorporate these type of improvements into your municipality's ordinances may be found in the 'Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities: Policy' tool.

Develop a Community Bicycle/Pedestrian Network Plan

Bicycle Facilities

These facilities are limited to bicycle use only:

Supplemental Striping and Signage Treatments

In addition to the shared roadway and bike lane facilities, supplemental signage, roadway treatments (striping, coloration, or texture) can be added to these facilities when warranted.

Shared-Use Facilities

These facilities accommodate users of different modes on the same facility:

Pedestrian Facilities

These facilities are limited to pedestrian-use only:

ADA Accessibility

State and Federal laws mandate that all new bicycle and pedestrian facilities must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for design and implementation. While the guidelines may differ slightly depending on the requirements of the funding source and/or proposed location, all new bicycle and pedestrian facilities should be designed and constructed to provide for accessibility to greatest extent possible given site specific conditions. The following are the applicable guidelines commonly accepted for each facility type in Pennsylvania:


Related References

Related Tools