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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.
Washington, D.C. 20590
November 19, 2012
In Reply Refer To: HOTO-1
Alan H. Borock, P.E.
Director of Signal and Street Lighting Engineering
City of New York
Department of Transportation
34-02 Queens Boulevard
Long Island City, NY 11101
Dear Mr. Borock:
Thank you for your letter of May 8 requesting an official interpretation regarding the options for how divided roadways can be analyzed under Section 4C.05 — Warrant 4, Pedestrian Volume. In particular, you are asking if the following sentence that appeared in Item B of Paragraph 2 in Section 4C.05 of the 2003 MUTCD is still applicable even though the sentence does not appear in the 2009 MUTCD: "Where there is a divided street having a median of sufficient width for pedestrians to wait, the requirement applies separately to each direction of vehicular traffic."
Please note that the sentence in question in the 2003 MUTCD that allowed the requirement to be applied separately to each direction of traffic was related only to the determination as to whether there were fewer than 60 gaps per hour in the traffic stream, and was not related to the determination as to whether a vehicular volume requirement was met. In fact, the pedestrian volume warrant in the 2003 MUTCD did not specify a vehicular volume threshold for meeting the warrant criteria.
The 60 gaps per hour criteria for the Pedestrian Volume warrant was first introduced in the 1988 MUTCD and was carried forward into the 2000 and 2003 editions of the MUTCD, along with the option to apply it separately to each direction of traffic if a median of sufficient width for pedestrians to wait was present.
The three editions (1961, 1971, and 1978) of the MUTCD that immediately preceded the 1988 edition had a criterion in the Pedestrian Volume warrant regarding the minimum traffic volumes on the major street. In all three editions the criterion that needed to be satisfied was 600 or more vehicles per hour on the major street (total of both directions) unless a raised median island 4 feet or more in width was present in which case the criterion was increased to 1,000 or more vehicles per hour on the major street (total of both directions). Thus the presence or absence of a median affected the vehicular volume criterion.
Based upon our review of the previous versions of the Pedestrian Volume warrant, it is the FHWA's official interpretation that Paragraphs 2 and 3 in Section 4C.05 of the 2009 MUTCD should include the option to apply the major-street traffic volume criterion in Tables 4C-5 through 4C-8 separately for each direction of major-street traffic on a divided roadway if a raised median that is wide enough to serve as a pedestrian refuge area is present. Please note that roadways that have narrow medians, painted medians, or two-way left-turn lanes separating the two directions of traffic would not qualify for this option.
For recordkeeping purposes, we have assigned the following official ruling number and title: "4(09)-25 (I) — Application of the Pedestrian Volume Warrant on Divided Roadways." Please refer to this number in any future correspondence regarding this topic.
Thank you for your interest in improving the clarity of the provisions contained in the MUTCD.
Original signed by:
Mark R. Kehrli
Director, Office of Transportation Operations
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration