This guide can be used to help your community leaders develop a non-motorized master plan for the community or it can be used by a bike club, bike shop or community organization to provide information on bicycling in the community.
The end result should be a series of bike routes that connect population centers with community assets. Over time these "main" routes can be further refined by developing connectors to neighborhoods and other assets.
This is the data collecting phase and can be completed in one or two meetings with your assessment team.
1) Assemble an Assessment Team - this is the most critical step in the process. A team that is representative of all the stakeholders is crucial to success. Recruiting this Team should begin with identifying people you know in each of the categories below that might be willing to serve. Once they are asked and agree to serve, they become resources to help fill the other categories.
a) Local bike shop
b) Local bike club and/or bicyclists (at least 2)
c) City/township road person
d) Other resources
2) Asset Identification - In this step you will identify where you want to get to by bicycle. It is best to take a map and plot out where these assets are. As a natural grouping of assets and facilties emerges you will be able to identify corridors for potential bike routes.
a) Downtown shopping
b) Parks, beaches and other recreation areas
d) Shopping malls
4) Bike facilities - Members of your team will have the knowledge to complete this analysis. Setting down with a map will allow team members to identify streets, roads and trails that team members believe to be suitable for bicycling. These should be marked with color pens or pencils. Later when we do the field testing in Phase II we will go into more detail on each facility.
a) Roads/streets with striped shoulder or bike lane
c) Low traffic residential streets
5) Overly all Maps - Once you have identified your asset locations, your populations centers and your bike facilities you need to overlay all of this information onto one map. This will begin to give you an idea on corridors to assets from population centers. This will help you in narrowing down which streets to field test.
If you have a lot of corridors with lots of miles you may want to recruit more volunteers. The more volunteers you have the easier this task is, but on the other hand the continuity from corridor to corridor will not be the same. The volunteers should be broken into teams of at least two volunteers. It is best done with them actually riding their bicycles over the "potential bike routes."
1) Field test bike routes - during the field testing the testers will need a map of the route, a note pad, pencil and camera. They need to be cognizant of infrastructure, traffic and safety issues. A sample checklist for the field testing is included as an addendum to this guide. It is probably best to do a separate checklist for each block (or mile section if a rural road) on the route. When the field test is done one person from each testing group should compile the information and overlay it on a single map of the "potential bike route" they field tested.
a) Infrastructure issues
- Blind curves
- Road/trail surface
- Signalized intersections
- Visibility at intersections
b) Traffic issues
- Speed limits
- Traffic volume
- On-street parking
It is during this phase that the Assessment Team needs to pull together all the data from the analysis gathered in Phases I and II. The team should spend some time reviewing the data and identifying and prioritizing corridors and facility needs based on the data gathered. This is also a good time to begin to discuss strategies to reach the team's goals.
1) Report - the report is a summary of the Team's findings, with recommendations needed to develop potential bike routes. The report should identify first the potential routes that are acceptable and need only to be mapped or signed. The second group of routes should be those that with minimal cost and work could be developed. Examples of these might be routes that need a simple connector to complete them. The final group to be addressed in the report is those routes that need major work to become safe bike routes. This group needs to include a review of the rationale of why they are important.
a) Identify potential bike routes
b) Identify safety and infrastructure issues that need attention
c) Identify road treatments that would be beneficial
2) Distribute to appropriate entities - It is important that this report gets presented to the appropriate entities. These would include city councils, various commissions, city planners, road commissions and other associated groups. Both a written and oral presentation should be given.