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.
Download the 4-page Quick-Build Brochure – perfect for sharing with your local decision-makers. Help us spread the word: use this form to request a copy of the brochure mailed to local leaders in your area.
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.
Adeline Street in Berkeley got protected bike lanes 20 years ahead of schedule when Bike East Bay worked closely with the city to incorporate planned lanes into the repaving schedule, saving time and money by simply adding bike infrastructure to an existing project, one funded through a local infrastructure bond measure. The City of Berkeley garnered extensive public input on the Adeline Corridor, making this a great example of quick-build speeding up existing bike infrastructure planning, bringing bike lanes to Berkeley in 2019 instead of 2039.
Photo credit: Alta Planning + Design
“We as transportation experts need to be thinking strategically about whether or not we need to spend three years talking about doing something important, or three weeks to just try something.”
― Warren Logan
Transportation Policy Director of Mobility and Interagency Relations at Oakland Mayor’s Office
Photo credits, top to bottom: Alta Planning + Design; Street Plans Collaborative
From paint, traffic cones, and A-boards to concrete curb barriers, planters, and temporary raised crosswalks, a wide variety of materials work well for creating quick-build projects. The full Quick-Build Toolkit provides thorough, detailed descriptions
of materials that can make for an effective and inexpensive project to meet your community’s needs.
Photo credits, top to bottom: Real Hartford; Alta Planning + Design
Photo credit: Bike SLO County
In August of 2020, the City of San Luis Obispo converted one of the three motor vehicle lanes of downtown Higuera Street into a buffered bike lane, as part of Open SLO, the city’s pilot program to expand the use of public spaces (with parklets and bike/ped spaces) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project was installed with paint, took less than a week to install, and cost a mere $15K instead of the more than $150K it would have taken to put in a traditional bike lane by sealing and restriping the whole street as the city would normally do.
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:
The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association (“The Boulevard”) got city councilmembers and the mayor on board to fund a pilot bus and bike lane along a 3-mile stretch of San Diego’s El Cajon Boulevard. The Boulevard staff brought in diverse stakeholders and built on longstanding relationships to push the city to dedicate a lane for El Cajon Boulevard’s new bus rapid transit line, and got bikes included on this Vision Zero corridor. The entire three-mile project, which launched in January 2020, cost $100K, funded by San Diego’s general fund.
Photo credit: Holly Raines
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.
Photo credit: Alta Planning + Design
Thanks to the Seed Fund and the SRAM Cycling Fund for supporting the production and distribution of this Guide. You can support broader distribution with a donation to the California Bicycle Coalition.