Angie Schmitt in Streetsblog notes the reluctance of the ‘establishment’ engineering profession to get with it :
Cities around the country are trying out new street design treatments that put walking, biking, and transit first. What makes this new wave of street design all the more impressive is that city Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have to do it without much guidance from the nation’s transportation engineering establishment.
The bibles of American street engineering still don’t recommend designs like protected bike lanes. If these industry standards ever do catch up to modern practice, the pace of change would accelerate, as more engineers feel comfortable designing multi-modal streets. But so far, guides like the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which lays out rules for pavement markings and traffic signals and signs, have been slow to adapt.
The engineers who control the manuals are in no rush to embrace change. Following the emergence of more city-friendly street design guides published by National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which publishes the MUTCD, established a “task force” to investigate “interest groups that may not be part of the NCUTCD” and propagate street designs that don’t conform to their rules.
Old-school American engineers like to say that NACTO-endorsed street designs are unproven and need more study before their safety can be certified. Meanwhile, traffic deaths in the United States are soaring while countries with street design philosophies closer to NACTO’s continue to achieve safety gains. …
These engineering manuals are like bibles; adherents are very reluctant to depart from received scripture. Fortunately, as Angie mentioned, there are other testaments from the National Association of City Transportation Officials :
NACTO’s site also offers a Case Study Finder for up-to-date examples around North America. But the only example in Vancouver is from the “Transit Street Design Guide” – Granville Mall:
Vancouver’s pioneering work in protected bike lanes and the new design of the Burrard Bridge intersections should surely be included.