Signs and Etiquette for Shared-use Urban Trails

Encouraging different types of users to share the trail is just as important on urban trails as it is on backcountry trails.

by Stuart Macdonald, Trail Consultant, American Trails

In many urban trail corridors the sheer amount of use creates some difficulties for sharing the trail. Wider trails are one solution. But how wide do you want to make the trail? And does a single surface material satisfy all trail users? In many cases, the better solution is to provide two or even three pathways or trail treads with different surfaces. Other treatments seek to make the separation of treads more clear. The two treads may be adjacent or some distance away. The secondary tread may even be an informal path made by mountain bicyclists or horse riders. Signs or pavement markings may also be provided to clarify the separation.

About the Author

Stuart Macdonald spent 19 years as Colorado's State Trails Coordinator. He is the editor of American Trails Magazine. During 1998-99, he represented State Trail Administrators on the national committee that proposed regulations for accessible trails. He chaired the National Recreational Trails Committee, which advised the Federal Highway Administration in the first years of the Recreational Trails Program. Stuart grew up in San Diego and his main outdoor interest besides trails is surfing. He has a BA in English from San Francisco State and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from Utah State.

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