The state of Connecticut has updated its Complete Streets Design Criteria, rules for how street construction and surrounding infrastructure are to be built, to increase access for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation.
Announced Thursday by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), the update would require pedestrian facilities, bicycle facilities, and transit provisions on all projects that meet the defined criteria.
“While this change may sound technical, it is a big deal for improving the safety of our transportation network. I am incredibly proud of our Bureaus of Engineering and Construction and Policy and Planning for tackling the challenge I posed to them and developing these new Complete Streets design criteria for all of our future projects,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto in a statement. “We are doing everything we can break down barriers to transportation and make Connecticut roadways more accessible for everyone.”
Sidewalks, shared-use paths, or side paths are required on both sides of any roadways in “urbanized areas, urban clusters, rural town centers, or pedestrian safety zones where pedestrians are legally allowed.” These are required to be at least five feet wide.
Additionally, the rules require crosswalks anywhere there are traffic lights, illumination of those crosswalks, and No Turn on Red signs wherever a right turn at a red light would cross a crosswalk while the Walk signal was illuminated. These would be electronically controlled and turned off when the Don’t Walk signal was illuminated.
Outside shoulders, bicycle lanes, separated bicycle lanes, buffered bicycle lanes, side paths, or shared-use paths, meanwhile, must be built on “all roadways where bicycles are legally allowed, except roadways that are functionally classified as local.”
For most of these facilities, it’s the buyer’s choice, except in a single case. Paved outside shoulders cannot be used on roadways with a speed limit of over 40 miles per hour or a traffic volume greater than 18,000 vehicles per day.
Transit provisions don’t involve adding additional services. Rather they are focused on providing more and safer access to those services already in effect. Under the new guidelines, “accessible pedestrian access” has to be provided on both sides of a roadway within 400 feet of any transit stops, existing or proposed. Meanwhile, shelters or benches are required at those stops with either high levels of boarding or low frequency of transit, and all transit stops must be illuminated.
The new provisions for street construction have a number of exceptions from some or all of the criteria. Resurfacing, pavement preservation, and preventive maintenance projects would require approval of planned pedestrian and bicycle services but not transit services. Areas where bicycles or pedestrians aren’t legally allowed would not require those services. Additional exceptions are also listed.
The new criteria goes into effect on September 1st.