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Interpretation Letter 9(09)-50 (I) — Pavement Markings for Designated Bicycle Routes

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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.
Washington, D.C. 20590

April 18, 2014

In Reply Refer To: HOTO-1

Mr. Tim Logue
City Transportation Engineer
Office of the City Engineer
108 East Green Street
Suite 202
Ithaca, NY 14850-5690

Dear Mr. Logue:

Thank you for your April 2 letter requesting an official interpretation of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) regarding pavement markings for designated bicycle routes. Your letter expresses two issues.

First, Item A of your letter inquires if shared lane markings can be treated similarly to Community Wayfinding signs in order to provide appropriate text or graphics for navigational guidance. Paragraph 1 of Section 3A.02 prohibits the use of a pavement marking inconsistent with its meaning as established in the MUTCD. Navigational guidance for the bicyclist is provided through Bicycle Destination (D1-1b, D1-1c, D1-2b, D1-2c, D1-3b, D1-3c) signs. Section 9B.20 of the MUTCD and the Federal Highway Administration's Official Interpretation "9(09)-20 (I) — Modified Bicycle Destination Signs" dated July 29, 2011 contain more information on Bicycle Destination signs.

Second, except for the non-standard pavement marking arrow in Figure 4, it is our Official Interpretation that any of the pavement marking alternatives provided in Figures 3 through 5 of Item C in your inquiry can be used to supplement signing on an established bicycle route. Paragraph 2 of Section 3B.20 provides for the Option to use pavement word markings and symbols to supplement signs and/or to provide additional emphasis for regulatory, warning, or guidance messages. Because the pavement markings alone would be insufficient to communicate the purpose of a designated bike route of this type, appropriate Bike Route Guide signs should be considered.

If the Bike Route Guide sign (D11-1) is used, the pavement marking should also implement a ROUTE pavement word marking rather than a BLVD marking to be consistent with the message disseminated from the sign system. Paragraph 3 of Section 9B.20 provides for the Alternative Bike Route Guide (D11-1c) sign. The pavement word marking used should allow the road user to associate the pavement marking with an established sign system in order to achieve a greater understanding of the bicycle route.

Paragraph 5 of Section 9C.04 is a provision that can be applied to the bike route system in order to avoid the overuse of either the sign or the pavement marking.

We appreciate the opportunity to clarify the intentions of the provisions of the MUTCD and trust that this interpretation will address your concerns. For recordkeeping purposes, we have assigned your request the following Official Ruling number and title: "9(09)-50 (I) — Pavement Markings for Designated Bicycle Routes." Please refer to this number in any future correspondence.

Sincerely yours,

Original signed by:

Mark R. Kehrli
Director, Office of Transportation Operations