Now you’re probably asking, what’s the MUTCD? The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices sets the standards for striping, signage, and signalization across the country. If a traffic control feature you want is not in there, you’ll have a hard time getting it installed on your road. The US Department of Transportation just released a long awaited new version of this manual that comes with some changes that many complete streets advocates will welcome. Hit up the press release here, and if you really want to delve into it, read the actual manual at FHWA’s website.

Until now, some new pedestrian and bicycle features have been experimental and difficult to install since they weren’t in the old 2003 MUTCD. Here are some of the additions to the roadway designer’s palette in the new manual:

  • 52295531_cd985b82b7_oShared lane use markings, or “sharrows.” These are like bike lane markings in the middle of the traffic lane, for lower speed areas where bicycle lanes don’t fit. That’s one in the picture next to on-street parking.
  • “Bicycles may use full lane” sign, for use with or without sharrows. It’s a white regulatory sign, which carries more weight with police.
  • “HAWK” signals. These are hybrid signals designed for mid-block crosswalks. These will be easier to install than regular signals since they don’t require as much vehicle traffic or pedestrian traffic.

States have two years to adopt the 2009 MUTCD. It may take a few months before Florida adopts it, but projects that are being designed now (to be constructed once we adopt the new MUTCD) may start incorporating them. We hope designers will use the new pedestrian and bicycle features as soon as possible.

6 Responses to 2009 MUTCD Is Here

  1. Mike Lydon says:

    I am glad you posted this John Mark. The Sharrows in particular are a good step forward in raising awareness, encouraging safe lane positioning, right-way bicycling, and general wayfinding. The Miami Bicycle Master Plan that we completed a few months back includes many miles of sharrows. As an inexpensive way to improve the bikeway network, I say get out the paint buckets Miami and Miami-Dade!


  2. Collin says:

    You will see these soon. Now to begin an awareness campaign.


  3. […] symbols on the pavement encourages more cyclists to ride, but shared lane markings as found in the 2009 MUTCD provide similar pavement symbols. So we can’t really count that one. Can you think of […]


  4. […] to take legal action on this corridor and we feel that additional traffic calming measures, plus sharrows andeffective signage could make wide curb lanes on Sunset a safe alternative. Gus Pego said, […]


  5. I work for the city of Los Angeles , Calif. I install a lot of signs throughout the City Parks. I have been doing this for 21 years. As of yet, we do not have a standart hight from the ground to the bottom of the signs. We have checked all over the internet with no luck at all. We say it is 6′ 8″, but you can go lower if the sign is in a planted area where the public can not easily walk into the edge of the sign and get harmed. Or, it can be low if it is out in the wide open space where the public can see it from far away and thus avoid walking into it. If you have standarts for installing signs in city parks, We would like to hear from you soon.We would appriciate your help very much. Sincerely Eloy L. Mendoza 12738 Paxton ST. Pacoima, Calif. 91331-1128 I work for the DEPT. OF RECREATION AND PARKS, For the city of LOS ANGELES


  6. If you or your organization owns or operates a private road that is open to use by the public, all your signs, road markings, traffic control must comply with the MUTCD. -


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