Designing cycle-friendly corridor feeder routes

Proper traffic management tools, administrative tools and technical knowledge can help local authorities avoid many conflicts between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Aleksander Buczyński, Policy Officer at the European Cyclists’ Federation, illustrates this point with case studies from Luxembourg, Poland, Belgium, France and Hungary.

Traffic management: do you have the necessary signs and signals?

A painted cycle lane or even segregated cycle path on a main road might not always be the best option available, as in some cases parallel local streets offer potential for a higher quality cycle route: more direct, with less traffic lights, less noise and air pollution, but also with less conflicts with pedestrians around public transport stops.

Unfortunately, many countries still do not have legal provisions for allowing contraflow cycling, cycle streets or other cycle-friendly forms of traffic calming. In some, even placing wayfinding elements for cyclists on public roads is illegal!

Signs of one-way street with contraflow cycling allowed, cycle street and regional cycle route 4 in Brussels.

Administrative tools: who is responsible for cycle routes?

In order to optimise the use of limited road space between different transport modes, governance structures also need to adapt. The optimal cycle routes often need to mix and match streets from different levels of the road administration hierarchy, sometimes also making shortcuts through parks, along rivers, canal or railroad lines, and users expect consistent standard of infrastructure, wayfinding and maintenance on the whole route.

Cycling infrastructure needs a level playing ground with roads for cars also in terms of land acquisition or environmental procedures. Even in Flanders, which is generally a cycling region, cycle highways were assigned a status of investments of significant public importance only in 2019!

Know-how: a view from the cycle path

Finally, technical knowledge about cycling and cycling infrastructure is essential. Even with all the tools, plenty of space and funding available it is possible to build cycle paths that are not safe to use or not used at all. Guidance on Urban Corridor Road Design developed in the frame of MORE project explains how to choose the right solution and establish its basic parameters, such as width or clearance. Involving user organisations in the design can also help to avoid costly mistakes.

This cycling path in Warsaw was built as a part of a 0.5 billion euro TEN-T road reconstruction project, but it is not safe to use because of lack of visibility on crossing.