City of Redmond Bicycle Design Manual Review
Updated: Jun 1, 2022
The manuals that are being reviewed are available on the Bicycle Infrastructure Manuals website for viewing.
Title: City of Redmond Bicycle Design Manual
Publisher & Jurisdiction: City of Redmond, Washington, United States of America
Publication Year: 2016
Page Count: 48
Rating (out of 5 stars)
Innovation – Process ☆
Innovation – Design ☆☆☆
Document layout & figures ☆☆☆
Impact Factor / Adoption ☆☆☆
Innovation - Process
How is this design manual innovative in terms of processes? Does it include consultation with
users of bicycle infrastructure and also integration of marketing, planning, and design
This manual does not directly cite any consultation of users of bicycle infrastructure nor does it mention the integration of marketing, planning, or design professionals. It does mention that “Cities across the country have experienced significant improvements in bicycle ridership by implementing [these] facilities”, but goes no further into which cities they are referencing or building ideas off of. The manual refers to itself as being a supplement to national bicycle design guides (like those provided by NACTO), and incorporates or defers many signage and design details from/to the MUTCD.
Innovation - Design
What innovative designs are in this manual? More importantly, is this manual promoting designs that are known to be unsafe or uncomfortable for cyclists? Where innovative designs are found, where has these designs been implemented? What will it take to implement these innovative designs within the jurisdiction of the manual?
The Bicycle Design Manual has had many improvements compared to its predecessors. The addition of “comfort” ratings from the cyclists perspective and the acknowledgment that “comfort is typically determined by the worst facility on a bicycle route” places an importance on designing a complete bicycle network, and is a welcomed change coming from a smaller North American city.
This new edition also includes in-street separation (bollards, planters, etc), curb separated, raised, through bike lane (on curb line), and protected intersection designs that significantly improve safety and the cycling experience. It also includes elevated driveway crossings with bicycle ramps, bicycle boxes at intersections, signaling with lead interval for cyclists, and right turn on red restrictions for different scenarios or conditions.
The manual does include designs that are unsafe for cyclists, such as traditional bicycle lanes without buffers from parked car door zones, shared lane markings (sharrows), and a variety of transition areas into right-turn only lanes that have cars traveling across the bike lane. Lastly, the 2016 manual also removes a section detailing special provisions for the accommodation of bicycle traffic during construction operations.
As of this writing, the city’s bicycle route maps do not include any of the high comfort designs indicating that none have been implemented.
Source: City of Redmond
Jurisdictional Context & History
Where and when was this manual conceived. What is the history and its predecessors? What national and provincial laws does this manual operate within? Where are the biggest influences from?
This manual comes out of the “Bicycle Capital of the Northwest”, Redmond, a small city of about 70,000 people slightly northeast of Seattle in Washington, USA. It has been created to replace the 2009 and updated 2012 editions, bringing in a noticeable amount of improvements and new features compared to the previous release. In referencing NACTO, this edition is an example of the impact of adding national level guidelines on bicycle infrastructure and how it is being incorporated into smaller city's manuals. This manual acknowledges facilities promoted by the NACTO guides that are being implemented around the country, and are adopting them to help achieve their 5% bicycle modal share goal.
Document layout & figures
Comment on the aesthetic and functional qualities of the manual. Does this manual provide
guidance in a useful and user-friendly layout for designers?
This new version of the manual improves on more modern design direction and examples in fewer pages, while also improving the quality of the renderings and overall layout of the manual. Both the previous editions as well as the current 2016 version are quite brief, coming in at less than 60 pages, and might be better titled “guidelines” instead of manuals. The bicycle parking facilities sections appear to have not received as much attention as street design, but it is good that they are still included.
Source: City of Redmond
Does this manual reference where their ideas come from? Does this manual reference research studies?
This manual does not explicitly include references, but does acknowledge it is a detailed supplement to the NACTO and AASHTO guides. It does not reference any research studies.
Impact factor / adoption
To what extent has this manual impacted the landscape of bicycle infrastructure design? Where has the ideas of this manual been adopted, both in vertically (National -> provincial -> city) and horizontally, (cross-city transfer of ideas, or Dutch to North America). Has other infrastructure manuals followed suit?
In the context of a smaller North American city, this manual could be considered an indicator of how much progress has been made at improving general knowledge transfer and adoption of safer infrastructure for all road users. With the inclusion of modern and safe bicycle facilities, we can see the downstream effects of national level guidelines.
While a big improvement over previous editions in both presentation and content, the 2016 Bicycle Design Manual lacks concrete steps to create a complete network, does not include any references to other professional institutions or input from bicycle users, does not give sufficient attention to auxiliary network facilities such as parking, transit connections, or construction detour requirements, and still promotes unsafe infrastructure designs. The addition of cyclist comfort rankings as well as true separated and protected bike infrastructure do make up for some of those deficiencies, bringing the total rating to 2 stars.
Design manuals give best practices. Do you want to know the mechanics behind why some cycling infrastructure works while others will not be used? BUX teaches urban mobility professionals this in our courses. We also advise organizations looking to transform their street design approach.