Tuesday, June 9, 2009

eGreens

Posted By on Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 10:47 PM

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In this week's (inaugural?) Bike Issue, we looked at bike legislation-in-progress and maps, eats and gear for cyclists. Today's eGreens also are bike-appropriate.

  • Garden on the run with this Instructable, a window box for your handlebars.
  • A disgruntled Fox News reporter is alleged to have rammed the heck out of a cyclist in New York. After repeatedly ramming Brian Dooda in Central Park, Don Broderick sayshe was the victim of a "vigilante" cyclist who had attacked him. From Gawker: "Whatever this guy is claiming, there's no truth involved — he punched me. And I left, because he was attacking me." Cyclists can punch through cars? Another advantage to riding on two wheels.
  • "Die in a fire, masswholes," writes one commenter on this story about a hyper-commented, highway-overwhelming Critical Mass ride through Seattle.
  • And in this week's cover story, I talked with NolaCycle founder Lauren Sullivan about her bike mapping campaign. Hit the jump to read more on the map's design (and to see a bigger photo of a sneak preview) for what she plans to finalize in the coming months:

  • "We’ve been going back and forth with directional arrows. I want to include them, but at the same time, we have so many one-way streets in the city it gets kind of cluttered. I’ve heard people tell me, ‘Oh man I do bike deliveries it would be awesome if you added street blocks on there.’ So I started adding street blocks and it as the most cluttered map I’ve ever seen. But if we do the neighborhood level, we could put in all that extra information, like number per block, but it doesn’t really look that much different than a road map except roads are color-coordinated or color-coded for a specific condition.
  • "We looked at three different factors: road width, speed of cars and pavement quality. If it’s a wider line, it’s a relatively wide lane-width, so there’s enough room for a car and a bike to travel next to each other and not be a conflict. It the line is narrow, it’s a narrow road where you’re going to run into issues where a car doesn’t have room to pass, where you’re going to have to yield or they are. The travel speed we simplified it as cars traveling over 35 mph or under 35 mph. We felt 35 was the cut off to what was comfortable or uncomfortable with younger or recreational cyclists, somebody who’s not as experienced. And I think drivers get more aggressive when they start going over 35. There’s no longer a feeling of like a neighborhood street, it’s a thoroughfare. Like Claiborne, for example, is a relatively fast-traveled speed, though the speed limit posted is 35 mph, almost everybody goes 45. Whereas Second Street in the Irish Channel, people don’t really even go much above 20 because you have to stop every block. For pavement quality, we have it color-coded. It’s red for bad, grey for moderate, and blue for good. We did a lot of tests bringing the colors into gray scale and what colors seemed like they would still be interpretable for somebody with color blindness issues. We’re still not sure with those colors, but they look pretty good right now. What we found was that most roads fall into the moderate category, so by having those as grey they fall into the background and are a less noticeable. whereas red roads, which you particularly want to avoid — terrible pavement quality, craters, all those fun New Orleans road conditions. So you’ll know with red: ‘I’m not going to plan my route around those roads.'

(Click the map for a larger image.)

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  • "My original plan was to just present a map that had each road color-coordinated so you can draw the line yourself and develop your map yourself. When I found, when I traveled to other cities, and used their bike route maps, their recommended routes don’t always fit my idea of what I would want a recommended route to be. Particularly in Austin, Texas. I was overwhelmed with what they considered a recommended bike route. When I lived in Nantucket, we had a map with some recommended routes, but what I found myself doing was just drawing on my map and drawing black lines of my routes. I do that with regular road maps. I think giving somebody a map where they could say, ‘OK, I can draw my own map. I can take a pencil or marker and draw my route by connecting these lines.’ But then I forgot not everyone has tight geography and knows how to read a map really well and interpret complicated data sets.
  • "What we’ll end up doing is still having that map that has everything block by block, for people who do bike deliveries or bike a lot or are interested in using the data to create routes for particular purpose, that’s really useful for them. But for someone who wants to just look at the map and just know, ‘OK, I can do this. This will work,’ you really need to call out some recommended routes. We’ll have two final maps available on the Web site: one with all the data we collected, and another with recommended routes for going to particular places, cross-town routes or neighborhood routes."

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