Metropolitan Planning Organization for the La Crosse, Wisconsin and La Crescent, Minnesota Area 

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2035 Coulee Regional Bicycle Plan


Goals for the Plan
Chapters and Appendices
Vision, Goals and Objectives
Recommended On-Road Treatments (Maps and Summary Tables)
La Crosse Area Bike Route Maps
Types of Bicycle Accommodations

Types of Bicycle Accommodations

Bikeway: A generic term for any road, street, path, or way that in some manner is specifically designated for bicycle travel, regardless of whether such facilities are designated for the exclusive use of bicycles or are to be shared with other transportation modes [American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Bikeways may be delineated on/by: 

b  Paved shoulder.
Shared lane.
Bike lane.
b  Shared bike lane / parking lane.
b  Sharrow.
Wide outside lane.
Shared-use path/trail.

Paved Shoulder:

        Definition: The area to the right of the right-most through traffic lane used to accommodate stopped vehicles, emergency use, and other uses. Paved shoulders are useful for bicycle travel in rural areas.

        AASHTO Guidance: 4-ft minimum when designed to accommodate bicycle travel.

        Example: USH 14/61 between West Channel Bridge and La Crescent and on Theater Road in Onalaska:


Shared Lane:

        Definition: Streets and highways with no special provision for bicyclists and are not designated as a bikeway. Lanes are typically 12 feet wide or less with no shoulders. Vehicles must cross the center line to pass bicyclists safely.

        AASHTO Guidance: Usually adequate in residential areas with low traffic volumes and operating speeds (less than 30 mph), and the lane width is at least 12 ft.

        Example: Most of our urban local roads:



Bike Lane:

        Definition: A portion of the roadway that has been designated by striping, signing, and pavement markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists. Bike lanes may be present to the left of parking when there is sufficient roadway width.

        AASHTO Guidance: 5-feet minimum, with at least 4 feet to the left of the gutter pan seam.

        Example: Ranger Dr; 12th Ave S; Ward Ave:




Shared Bike Lane and Parking Lane:

        Definition: An outside lane used for a bike lane and parking.

        AASHTO Guidance: The minimum width is 12 ft from face of curb (11 ft without curb). A width of 13 ft is recommended where there is substantial parking or turnover of parked cars is high.

        Example: 12th Ave S in Onalaska (no pavement markings, however):



        Definition: Bicycle symbols (shared lane pavement markings) that are placed in the roadway lane indicating that motorists should expect to see and share the lane with bicycles. Unlike bicycle lanes, they are not for the exclusive use of bicyclists. Motorists may drive on sharrows; whereas, motorists may not drive on bicycle lanes.

        AASHTO Guidance: None yet. Recommended by the U.S. National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for inclusion in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The new MUTCD will be available at the end of 2009. Current use requires FHWA approval for experimental use.

        Example: None here. Seattle; San Francisco; Chicago; New York City:




Wide Outside Lane:

        Definition: The right-most through traffic lane that is substantially wider than 12 feet.

        AASHTO Guidance: 14-ft minimum from lane stripe to edge of gutter pan.

        Example: Lang Dr.; Copeland Ave:



Shared-Use Path/Trail:

        Definition: A facility for non-motorized users that is physically separated from a roadway by an open space buffer or physical barrier.

        AASHTO Guidance: 10-ft minimum paved width for two-way bicycle traffic, 12-ft if bicycle and pedestrian use is expected to be high.

        Example: STH 16 sidepath; Pammel Creek (33rd St) Trail; 3 Rivers Trail:





        Definition: That portion of a highway between the curb lines, or the lateral lines of a roadway, and the adjacent property lines, constructed for use of pedestrians.

        AASHTO Guidance: Not recommended. By state statute, bicyclists are not allowed on sidewalks in business districts unless the local municipality passes an ordinance allowing such activity. AASHTO does not recommend using sidewalks as bikeways except in specific instances such as on long, narrow bridges.

        Example: East sidewalk along Lang Dr between La Crosse St and Monitor St:





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La Crosse Area Planning Committee
400 North Fourth Street
La Crosse, Wisconsin  54601
Tom Faella, Executive Director
(608) 785-5977

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