Quick-Build Bikeway Networks for Safer Streets
Delivering safer streets in weeks or months instead of years
This resource was prepared in partnership with Alta Planning + Design.
WHY QUICK-BUILD? WHY NOW?
Biking is up in many communities in California, including those that started with low rates of bicycling, as people seek out healthy and safe transportation and recreation. Californians are discovering they can be healthier and happier simply by getting out on two wheels.
Meanwhile, agency budgets are down. Plans to spend millions on infrastructure may no longer be realistic. More than ever, the public demands that transportation projects are equitable and responsive to the needs of neglected communities.
Quick-build is a method of building bike and pedestrian safety improvements—protected bike lanes, pedestrian crossings, slow streets, parklets, and more—now, within your budget. In challenging times, quick-build projects are crucial to building trust in the government’s ability to deliver public benefit. And quick-build infrastructure can engage the public better than ever, and be more inclusive and equitable than traditional infrastructure.
Quick-build projects need a “chief” (usually city staff) tasked with project facilitation, keeping the momentum going, establishing lines of communication, and accepting and evaluating feedback.
Because evaluation and adjustment are essential for successful quick builds, make sure community leaders are on board from the beginning. Look to businesses, residential associations, places of worship, and nearby schools. Bring in bike/ped advocacy organizations and other CBOs, including those based in disadvantaged communities and led by people of color.
Your project may impact transit, street sweeping, parking enforcement, maintenance, waste management and recycling, and emergency response. Involve other agencies as necessary to ensure you don’t forget a critical aspect.
They have the power to marshal funding for quick-build projects. They will hear from constituents, so communication channels between the project team and electeds must be open for effective project evaluation.
Ideally, include a dedicated communications person
on your team. Because this is a new method, and people are used to years
of discussion, publicize quick-build’s temporary nature. Talk about the project’s intended benefits, and listen to feedback about the actual impacts.
Community engagement is essential and also very effective because it’s easy to engage people in providing feedback on real-world solutions that they can see and use. Here are the keys:
Some projects are better than others for the quick- build method.
If a project is funded and on schedule to be built within a year or two, turn your attention to projects that will take years without quick build. Projects that require expensive modifications—new traffic signals, bridges, reconfigured curbs—are not good quick- build candidates.
Available funding for quick-build projects varies a lot from one municipality to the next. But here are a few ideas.