April 21, 2014
Michael Andersen, Green Lane Project staff writer
As protected bike lanes have spread, so has a new problem: how to keep protected bike lanes clean.
Traditional sidewalk sweepers are often narrower than needed for this job. Conventional street sweepers don't fit between curb and barrier. And though there's a wide array of industrial sweepers on the market, machines designed for indoor use have hoppers that fill up too quickly.
That said, if you ask around for long enough, you will find a few sweepers that fit the separated bike lane niche. Building on a directory started by Austin engineer Nathan Wilkes, here's what we've found.
Minimum operating width: 48 inches
Used by Montreal, this product formerly known as the CN100 is among the smallest and narrowest sweepers in its class. It only needs four feet of clearance at a bikeway pinch-point, but can extend its brushes more than seven feet.
Minimum operating width: 52 inches
Used by San Francisco, the CN201 sweeper has the widest operating-width range of any sweeper we could find, capable of squeezing its body into less than five feet and stretching to more than 10. Its "optimum sweeping width," however, is 7.5 feet.
Minimum operating width: 94 inches
Used by Portland, the Ravo 5 needs almost 8 feet of clearance but has almost the largest-capacity debris hopper in its class.
Minimum operating width: 102 inches
Leased by Chicago for $5,000 per week, the S4 (pictured) is another sweeper on the large, wide side of the spectrum. The R4 and R6 are bigger still. All three can travel at highway speeds to and from worksites.
Minimum operating width: 90 inches
The A4 Storm has a fairly large body and a massive suction head.
Minimum operating width: 70 inches
Tennant is one of the big North American brands in the industrial sweeper business, and the Sentinel is their largest product. A relatively narrow wheelbase and four-wheel drive makes it unusually maneouverable.
Minimum operating width: 47 inches, with a hard vehicle width of 45 inches and minimum clearing width of 51 inches
The narrowest of all the street sweepers in this directory by one inch, the 636 has a slightly larger hopper and slightly higher top speed than its closest peer, the LS100.