The primary purpose of a set of engineering plans or drawings is to provide instructions to the contractor to turn the engineer’s vision into a new facility. The plans include a visual representation of what is proposed for the site layered on top of what currently exists at that location. The plan view sheets show what the project looks like from above and provide the best view of the proposed work. Seek assistance from engineers in the community or the design engineers at public hearings or stakeholder meetings to interpret drawings and read details. Understanding ALL of the symbols or lines to review for bicycling accommodations is not necessary. Mark up drawings and write any questions you have on the drawing, too – that’s what engineers do when they look at plans.
The sample engineering plan on the next page shows the design for a shared-use path along a road with a wide curb lane. The drawing depicts major design features, illustrates a typical cross section, and contains various symbols used on engineering plans. The example also shows how highlighting the bicycling accommodations with colors allows the reviewer to more easily "see" what is proposed. The bicycling facility information sheets on the pages following the sample engineering plan provide tips and ideas on what to look for on the drawings for each type of accommodation.
Reviewing the drawings and using the facility checklists will help you understand the project. Given this background, you are in a better position to provide feedback to the project engineers and to develop comments for the public hearing or letters to local officials.