Site or Project Specific Planning
Site plans are created before a new building, parking lot, or other facility is built. They are a critical part of ensuring that bicyclist needs are accommodated by the built environment. Site plans-which are basically very large scale maps of a property-show everything that will be built on that property (or "site"), including buildings, paved surfaces, regraded terrain, etc. They should conform to local and state development regulations, such as stormwater management, design codes, and requirements for transportation facilities. If a bicycle facility (such as bike lanes and bicycle parking) is not shown on a site plan, it is very unlikely that it will be there when the project is built.
The details of what to include in a site plan are directly derived from the details of how a bicycle facility will be designed. The exact components of what should be on a site plan, therefore, will vary depending on what need the bicycle facility is intended to meet. Because many of these details are determined as part of the design and engineering stages, inclusion of bicycle facilities in a site plan will happen by default if the designer is addressing bicyclist needs. The techniques for including bicyclist needs in the actual design of a building or facility are described more in the Engineering section.
Many local planning departments rely on checklists for site plan reviews, and these checklists often include basic bicyclist items, such as ensuring bicycle parking and connectivity to the bicycle network, etc. Although these checklists usually show a relatively simplistic understanding of basic bicyclist needs and movement patterns, they do ensure that bicyclist issues are addressed as part of the site plan review process.
Communities that do not use checklists for site plan review must rely on the expertise or diligence of individual planners, or other officials involved in site plan review, to ensure that bicyclist needs are accommodated when new development or re-development occurs. The success of relying on site plan reviews to encourage bicyclist -friendly development frequently hinges on particular individuals reviewing the site plans. Local planners should be encouraged to understand the nuances of site-level designs that could support bicyclist movements.