Bike Network 2.0

One of the more intriguing stories at yesterday’s National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. came from Nicole Freedman, who was appointed Boston’s first bike czar last September. A planner and one-time professional cyclist, Freedman was charged with building a bike network out of nothing, in a city routinely ranked among the nation’s worst for bicycling, on a shoestring budget.

nicole_freedman.jpgWell, you know what they say about necessity. Freedman invented a rather ingenious method of planning a bike network. Her team created a modified Google Map that enables cyclists to log on and trace the routes they ride every day. Watch the data pile up, and voila — sensible bike routes. "We found out where the actual desire lines are," she said. "Using existing technology was great."

In addition to figuring out where to stripe lanes, Freedman is using Google Maps to rate streets on bike-friendliness. "Anyone can go onto Google and rate a road," she said. "Is it good for beginners or just for experts?" The results will be reflected in Boston’s first official bike map, which Freedman touted as an example of the city’s strategy to personalize bike education and training. (Did I mention they’re starting from scratch?)

Total cost? Next to nothing. "Basically the public is creating the map, and the sponsor will print," she said.

Photo: Active Living Network

Originally Filed by Ben Fried

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Study Confirms: Safer Bike Routes Get More People Riding

|
Bike infrastructure can help overcome safety concerns, says Portland-area researcher Jennifer Dill. How effective are bike lanes at enticing people to ride? Portland State University professor Jennifer Dill has been looking into that question for more than a year, and her research is starting to get some attention. Using GPS trackers to map more than […]

Amendments to Remove Central, Westwood Bike Lanes from Mobility Plan, Add Substitutes Move Through Planning Commission

|
Listening to the City Planning Commission vote in favor – albeit somewhat reluctantly – of moving forward on the regressive amendments to the Mobility Plan 2035 this morning, I felt my heart sink. With recommendations the City Council approve amendments that a) remove Westwood Boulevard (between LeConte and Ohio) and approximately seven miles of Central […]

A Car-Free Experiment Rolls into Jackson, Mississippi

|
Today on the Streetsblog Network, news of a car-free week coming to Jackson, Mississippi. We heard about it from one of our newer network members, Jackson Bike Advocates: Cars are king in Jackson, but some are working to change that. (Photo: Ken Lund via Flickr) Let’s turn in our keys for one week and see […]