Maintain the paved shoulders too!


As a bicycle commuter and recreational cyclist, one of the more frustrating things about riding is the lack maintenance and care given to paved shoulders along roadways. If these are meant to provide some margin of safety and security for bicyclists and pedestrians, then road agencies should repair, repave, clean, and clear paved shoulders just like the rest of the road. Otherwise, what’s the point of paving them in the first place?  All too often I find myself dodging piles of snow, ice, gravel, and roadkill  just because the road agency did not take the time to service the paved shoulder.

In the Federal Highway Administration’s brochure entitled Safety Benefits of Walkways, Sidewalks, and Paved Shoulders,  they note the following benefits of a paved shoulder (my disagreements with some are in parenthesis):

  • Provides a stable surface off the roadway for pedestrians to use when sidewalks cannot be provided.

  • Reduces numerous crash types, including head-on, sideswipe, fixed object, and pedestrian.

  • Improves roadway drainage.

  • Increases effective turning radii at intersections (as long as the paved shoulder is not being used as part of the travelway).

  • Reduces shoulder maintenance requirements (assuming the road agency actually maintains the paved shoulder).

  • Provides emergency stopping space for broken down vehicles.

  • Provides space of maintenance operations and snow storage (I disagree with the second part of this if you are trying to serve all forms of transportation – shove the snow off the entire road).

  • Provides space for variable message signs (at the expense of safety for pedestrians using the paved shoulder).

  • Provides an increased level of comfort for bicyclists.

This entry was posted in Active transportation, bicycling, bike sharing, Biking, Cars, cities, civics, climate change, commerce, environment, fitness, geography, government, health, infrastructure, land use, logistics, placemaking, planning, product design, spatial design, sustainability, transportation, Travel, urban planning, walking and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Maintain the paved shoulders too!

  1. basil berchekas jr says:



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