It doesn’t make much sense to design a street that passes through the center of a community’s downtown the same way we would the 50 mph highway that carries commuters from that city to another.
Currently, local communities and states must adhere to a long list of federal design criteria, or face an arduous and costly process of requesting exceptions to do simple things like line a downtown street with trees or use design cues to slow traffic to the community’s desired design speed and make streets safer for people in cars and on foot.
In a proposed rule, FHWA decided after a thorough review to scrap 11 of 13 current design criteriafor most roads and streets with speed limits under 50 mph. Many of the streets that fit this description often serve as a town’s main street or are where a large share of pedestrian fatalities occur. According to the proposed rule, these criteria have “minimal influence on the safety or operation on our urban streets” and are more useful for designing freeways, highways and higher speed urban arterials.
We agree — do you? FHWA needs to hear that they have strong support. Can you take just one minute to generate a letter that we’ll personally deliver to FHWA for you?
This move will liberate local communities that have been working hard to make their roads safer for everyone that uses them, and rid them of the need to petition FHWA for exceptions to do exactly that. We need to make sure FHWA moves forward with this proposed rule.