If the Wisconsin DOT wants to use federal funds for the project, they may have to allow bicycles and pedestrians on the Hoan Bridge. In 2010 the Federal Highway Administration released a general policy statement on including bicycle and pedestrian accomodations in highway projects:
The DOT policy is to incorporate safe and convenient walking and bicycling facilities into transportation projects. Every transportation agency, including DOT, has the responsibility to improve conditions and opportunities for walking and bicycling and to integrate walking and bicycling into their transportation systems. Because of the numerous individual and community benefits that walking and bicycling provide — including health, safety, environmental, transportation, and quality of life — transportation agencies are encouraged to go beyond minimum standards to provide safe and convenient facilities for these modes.
This policy is based on various sections in the United States Code (U.S.C.) and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in Title 23—Highways, Title 49—Transportation, and Title 42—The Public Health and Welfare. These sections, provided in the Appendix, describe how bicyclists and pedestrians of all abilities should be involved throughout the planning process, should not be adversely affected by other transportation projects, and should be able to track annual obligations and expenditures on nonmotorized transportation facilities.
That general policy is backed up with more specific language in Title 23 of the United States Code section §217, which requires that bridges being replaced with federal funds include safe accommodation for bicyclists:
Bicycle Transportation and Pedestrian Walkways
(e) Bridges.‐‐In any case where a highway bridge deck being replaced or rehabilitated with Federal financial participation is located on a highway on which bicycles are permitted to operate at each end of such bridge, and the Secretary determines that the safe accommodation of bicycles can be provided at reasonable cost as part of such replacement or rehabilitation, then such bridge shall be so replaced or rehabilitated as to provide such safe accommodations.ii
23 U.S.C. 217(g) Planning and Design.–
- In General.–Bicyclists and pedestrians shall be given due consideration in the comprehensive transportation plans developed by each metropolitan planning organization and State in accordance with sections 134 and 135, respectively. Bicycle transportation facilities and pedestrian walkways shall be considered, where appropriate, in conjunction with all new construction and reconstruction of transportation facilities, except where bicycle and pedestrian use are not permitted.
- Safety considerations.–Transportation plans and projects shall provide due consideration for safety and contiguous routes for bicyclists and pedestrians. Safety considerations shall include the installation, where appropriate, and maintenance of audible traffic signals and audible signs at street crossings.
Under 23 U.S.C. 217(e), bridge deck replacement and rehabilitation must consider bicyclists:
23 U.S.C. 217(e) Bridges.–In any case where a highway bridge deck being replaced or rehabilitated with Federal financial participation is located on a highway on which bicycles are permitted to operate at each end of such bridge, and the Secretary determines that the safe accommodation of bicycles can be provided at reasonable cost as part of such replacement or rehabilitation, then such bridge shall be so replaced or rehabilitated as to provide such safe accommodations.
There are several examples of shared use paths along or within Interstate or other freeway rights-of-way. Nearly all have obvious barriers (walls or fences) or grade separation between the freeway and the shared use path.
- I-5, Portland, Oregon. There are several locations where there are shared use paths within or adjacent to Interstate rights-of-way in Portland OR, such as the Eastbank Esplanade along the Willamette River, and adjacent to I-5. I-205 in northeast Portland has a separated path for several miles. There are portions of shared use paths along or near other Interstates in Portland. Numerous website links are available through web search engines.
- I-66, Arlington Virginia. A shared use path was built adjacent to I-66 as part of the environmental mitigation. There is always a barrier (usually a sound wall, sometimes a fence) between the Interstate lanes and the path. Crossings over or under the Interstate are grade separated. Where the path is adjacent to the Interstate, it usually (but not always) crosses streets with a grade separation. The portion of I-66 adjacent to the Washington & Old Dominion rail-trail has the Metrorail in the median (a rail-with-highway-with-trail), and provides access to the East Falls Church Metro Station. The Martha Custis Trail provides access into Washington DC.
- I-70, Glenwood Canyon, Colorado. This is a Best Practice for incorporating various uses along an Interstate highway right-of-way through a canyon. See the March/April 2004 edition of FHWA’s Public Roads Magazine.
- I-90, Seattle, Washington: There is a shared use path using the I-90 bridge across Lake Washington on the east side of Seattle. See the City of Seattle Bike Maps website.
The League of American Bicyclists has a list of Interstate Bridges with Bicycle Access. The League also has a very in depth policy guide on bicycles on bridges with suggestions on how to run a grass-roots campaign to advocate for the inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian accomodations on a project.