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  © Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Project Information

RTC Releases New Report on Trail Crossings at Major Roadways

Steve Schweigerdt
Trail Development Manager
Western Regional Office


Across the Arterial
Years: 2011

California Statewide

Prepared for
Healthy Transportation Network

Project Deliverables
Across the Arterial report with case studies and sample designs for trail crossings of multilane streets at mid-block locations.

Project Description
Successful shared-use paths offer a continuous and extended recreation and transportation experience. Avoiding vehicular conflict is a major challenge in urban environments where shared-use paths intersect the roadway network on a regular basis. Many urban pathways follow former rail lines or channelized watercourses that intersect multilane roads well away from signalized intersections, and that often intersect at skewed angles that impact visibility. Geometric constraints, financial resources and incompatible adjacent land uses can require trail planners to contemplate and implement at-grade crossings.

This brief overview of treatments is intended as an introduction for both planners and community members.

Despite the challenges, the studied crossings offer numerous measures that can increase the safety of these at–grade crossings and make crossing major roadways easier for trail users. The improvements fall into the following functional categories, which will be expanded on and are best used together for a comprehensive solution:

  1. Reduce trail users' exposure to traffic and crossing distance.
  2. Increase mutual awareness and visibility.
  3. Manage traffic speed and flow.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037