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Revised Requirements for Sidewalks and Bike Lanes at MassDOT – News

In an effort to prioritize pedestrians in major transportation projects, a new set of engineering guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) “will require traffic engineers to include sidewalks, crosswalks, bus stops, and high-quality bike facilities when they design upgrades for the Commonwealth’s major roadways.” As reported by Christian MilNeil for Streetsblog Massachusetts, the new controlling criteria call for “ADA-accessible pedestrian facilities and high-quality bikeways in state-run road reconstruction projects, plus bus shelters, crosswalks, and transit-priority infrastructure on road projects that affect major transit routes.”

The policy seeks to act on MassDOT’s 2013 Healthy Transportation Policy, which stated that “all MassDOT funded and or designed projects shall seek to increase and encourage more pedestrian, bicycle and transit trips.” Under the new guidelines, “engineers can still request exceptions to the criteria when unusual constraints exist. But those exceptions will need to be thoroughly vetted in a public ‘Design Justification Workbook,’ and they’ll also need to be formally approved by the Secretary of Transportation.” 

MassDOT Chief Engineer Patricia Leavenworth says projects must still balance effective use of space with funding and local constraints. “It’s kind of like a household budget, where you have your list of things you want but you don’t have all the money you need, so you figure out how to compromise to get the things you really need.”

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