The availability of bicycle facilities is one of the components that can lead to increased riding in a community — if you build it, bicyclists will come. However, if you build it, it will also need to be maintained. Thus, maintenance needs require planning and budgeting. Sample maintenance activities include keeping roadways and bike lanes clean and free of debris, identifying and correcting roadway surface hazards, keeping signs and pavement markings in good condition, maintaining adequate sight distance, and keeping separate shared-use paths in good condition.
Maintenance is an area where planning and attention can provide significant benefits for bicyclists at relatively modest additional cost. Identification of maintenance needs for roadways and bicycle facilities and institutionalization of good maintenance practices are key elements in providing safe facilities for bicyclists.
The types of activities that will be carried out under each heading will be similar among communities in many cases, but should be identified, categorized, prioritized in terms of urgency and frequency, and budgeted for by each community since local conditions will dictate exact needs. For example, local flora, climate, weather, soil types, and other conditions may dictate frequent landscape maintenance and debris sweeping in some areas but be less frequently needed elsewhere. Winter snow removal may be important in northern communities but irrelevant in warmer climates.
The importance of good planning and initial design also cannot be overstated with respect to long-term maintenance needs. It is easier to obtain outside funding for facilities construction than for on-going maintenance, so plan and build correctly at the outset to reduce future maintenance problems and expense.
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