Quick-build street projects are semi-permanent improvements that can be designed and constructed quickly. The process uses techniques that realign and reassign space on streets using paint and simple physical objects that can be cheaply purchased and quickly installed.
Benefits & Problems Addressed
Immediate improvements: Quick build projects forego capital-intensive design, materials and process. Some cities view these as operational rather than capital projects to work around procedural and budget requirements intended to govern large scale bridges and roads.
Lower costs: Quick builds address several areas for lower costs improvements. In addition to lower cost materials compared to asphalt andn concrete, the process is shorter, thus saving money on engineering and review.
Tips & Techniques
Attributes: of Quick Build: Typically (1) Led by a city government or other public agency; (2) Installed roughly within a year of the start of planning; (3) Planned with the expectation that it may undergo change after installation; and (4) Built using materials that allow such changes.
Typical Projects: Projects tend to be focused on pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
Working within public works: (1) Because of bidding rules, cities need to use either on-call contracts or in-house crews; (2) Schedule concurrent with repaving efforts; (3) Assign a "quick build" point person within government;
Planning beyond quick build: In many instances, quick build projects are intended to test improvements with less expensive, flexible materials. Be prepared from the beginning to set goals and measure the performance.
Maintenance: Lighter, more flexible materials are also more prone to wear and tear. For bicycle lanes, plastic delineator sticks can fail within days. Pay special attention (and budget for) replacements, repainting and repairs.
Hot Buttons: Some citizens may see quick-build projects as moving too fast on projects with opposition (e.g., bike lanes will cause traffic or eliminate parking spaces). Others will see quick-build projects as excuses not to invest in permanent change. The bright colors or lilghweight materials can lead to complaints of aestetics. Elected officials may fear that quick build projects will preclude larger projects in the future.
Quick Build Program, Burlington, VT
Quick-Build Program, Miami -Dade FL
Quick Builds for Better Streets: A New Project Delivery Model for U.S. Cities - People for Bikes/Green Lane Project, 2015
Five Tips From Sf’s Lightning-Fast, Dirt-Cheap Protected Bike Lane Projects - People for Bikes Blog article (February 26, 2018)
Quick Build Guide, Capitol Region Council of Governments, 2020
images from Team Better Block & People for Bikes