Non-motorized project review database?

There are many planning firms in Metro Detroit that bid on non-motorized planning projects.

Some are highly qualified, well-versed in best practices, and are responsible for the great projects within the area.

And there are other planners that ignore best practices and AASHTO — and as we’ve seen, they often bid low. They give us projects like the proposed transit center in Troy and Birmingham which mixes bicyclists and pedestrians on narrow winding sidewalks with 90 degree blind turns. Or a non-motorized plan in Oakland Township where the topic of bike lanes “never came up.”

To many local governments, price and familiarity are major determining factors in selecting planners. Local officials typically do not have the experience to determine which planners have the competency to do a non-motorized project.

As far as we know, there is not a relevant certification for non-motorized planning.

One option is to have a database of planning project reviews. MDOT has an internal database for their construction projects which rates projects and helps boost the more qualified contractors. It seems Metro Detroit could benefit from a similar public system where city officials and bicycle advocates could get unbiased reviews of area planners. It could help cities disqualify bids from planning firms that ignore best practices for non-motorized projects.

Does this already exist nationally? That would be optimal as regional and national firms often bid on local projects as well.

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One Response to “Non-motorized project review database?”

  1. Mark Vanden Boom Says:

    I would like to be a member of or assist in the development such a group. Perhaps a staff would not be needed, but criterion checklist to guide agencies to select firms not only by cost. apbp has a selection question list to assist in this regard that may provide something to start with.

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