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Projects start by identifying a problem, a need or an opportunity. Then through many separate steps, shown below, decisions are made about how to actually construct a new or expanded facility. To be most effective, advocates need to provide suggestions early in the process but they can become involved at almost any point and still make a difference. The input should fit with where the project is in the design process. Demanding a complete redesign during a late stage of a project would be unrealistic.

Stage of ProcessGeneral TasksHow Advocates Can Participate
1) Planning
Defining problems and opportunities and planning a course of action
  • Agencies identify needs
  • Decide what to fund
  • Agencies advertise and hold public meetings
  • Revise planning based on technical input, citizen requests and local funding decisions
  • Submit requests to be included in long-term plans
  • Request specific facilities and funding for bicycling
  • Attend public meetings
  • Write letters to agencies and elected officials
  • Meet with local officials
  • Volunteer on advisory committees and commissions
2) Project Development
Starting a project
  • Consider and select design alternatives
  • Collect data and perform field surveys
  • Establish design assumptions and values
  • Get to know the project manager
  • Provide input on alternatives and recommend inclusion of bicycling accommodations
  • Question assumptions and check for incorrect data
  • Investigate through local officials why survey crew or stakes are in field as these may indicate future project
3) Preliminary Design
Preparing initial engineering plans and calculations
  • Determine project size, type, location
  • Prepare design based on available right-of-way, existing facilities, safety, obstacles and funds
  • Prepare design in accordance with standards and adopted policies
  • Prepare detailed plans and studies to 30- 40 percent completion
  • Find out what is specifically proposed to accommodate bicycling
  • Insist that locally-adopted policies and plans be followed and ask why exceptions are made
  • Visit site with plans to look for missed details and unaddressed concerns or opportunities
  • Watch for public meeting advertisements
  • Make suggestions early as changes are harder to incorporate further along in the process
4) Public Meetings and Revisions
Conduct meetings and hearings to involve the general public in the decisions
  • Present plans and studies to citizens and other stakeholders in open forum
  • Agency ensures hearing location and information is accessible to all of public
  • Change plans based on internal reviews and comments from other agencies
  • Consider comments from public with some possibly triggering changes to plans
  • Attend public meetings and hearings
  • Alert other community members about plans
  • Coordinate among advocates for consistency
  • Educate officials about bicycling safety needs
  • Remind officials of policies and bicycling guidelines
  • Ask about bicycling access during all phases of construction
  • Submit detailed written comments within deadlines
  • Check revised plans to ensure that bicycling accommodations are not impaired during redesign
5) Final Design
Prepare final detailed engineering plans to construct the project
  • Finalize plans for construction
  • Plans can vary from preliminary design
  • Some projects may become "Design/Build" and move through a compressed schedule handled by a private firm
  • Monitor for possible design changes
  • Stay in touch with project manager
  • Once in final design, changing plans becomes considerably more difficult
  • Review and comment on items that may be prepared late in the process such as traffic striping and construction detour plans
6) Right-of-Way (ROW) Acquisition
Agency or its agents enter negotiations with landowners
  • Negotiate and purchase ROW from adjacent property owners
  • Purchase offers determined based on fair market value
  • Contact utility companies about relocations
  • Obtain permits and authorizations
  • Issue notice to proceed
    Monitor plans for possible late-stage design changes
  • Check for utility relocation impact on bicycling
7) Construction
Project is awarded and built in accordance with the approved plans
  • Invite bids and award project
  • Agree on cost and time to completion
  • Hand over day-to-day management from project manager to construction manager
  • Supervise and inspect project for quality and conformity to plans
  • Manage traffic flow and access during construction per the plans
  • Change plans when unexpected situations arise in the field
  • Construction delays can be expected due to weather, supply problems and unforeseen discoveries
  • Monitor to ensure that unexpected field changes do not impact bicycling facilities
  • Check for safe ongoing bicycling access Construction trailer offices are sometimes open to the public (call first)
  • Bring field problems to the construction manager rather than addressing them to construction workers
  • Take photos to document problematic conditions
8) Final Inspection
Road or facility is opened and put into use
  • Conduct final inspection of new construction
  • Open new facility after final approval
  • Plans available on file at agency for future reference
  • Publicize project
  • Thank and recognize officials
  • Ride on new facilities

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Guide for Reviewing Public Road Design and Bicycling Accommodations for Virginia Bicycling Advocates