Friday, May 02, 2008

Using Google Maps To Improve Suburban Bicycling

Sometimes bicycling in the suburbs can be a lonely expedition, the contrast of bicycling on quiet streets to the squeeze of slow Center City weekday traffic is evident to me on every weekday rail commute. Yet there is no comparison, I can count more bikes on the South Street Bridge in an hour than I can count the bikes passing on my street in a month.

But the internet is empowering and maps are empowering, which is why I am constantly creating new maps.

BCGP President Hans van Naerssen suggested taking our regional bike map and snipping the data inside individual municipalities. I used Tredyffrin Township in Chester County as an example. Our data on our bikemap is quite large so I decided to eyeball the routes on our paper map and traced them into Google.

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When you zoom in you see some interesting details, for examples neighborhood streets that could not depicted on the paper map show up as natural bike routes on the Google Map.

But maybe you want to make changes in your community. You know the problems, that evil doublewide drainage grate that road with fast traffic and no shoulders the lack of bike parking in the business district. Perhaps you want to think broadly and push for your community to adopt a bicycle pedestrian plan for future improvements.

The map of Edgewater Park NJ is similar to the Philadelphia Bike Map Wiki. However I included pedestrian issues since my goal is to create a broad level of support for improvements.

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Anyone who invests an hour or so to familiarize themselves with Google MyMaps can do this for their town. If you need to help or would like to add some nice icons please send me an email