I am incredibly excited to announce a project that I’ve been trying to keep under my hat for the last couple of months: The Queen City Bike Map!
The map is a project of Queen City Bike, our regional bicycle advocacy group, an effort to create a truly useful community-supported and community-created bike map… and I get the honour of pulling it together!!
The key to the design of this map will be not to explicitly recommend some streets over others like many city bike maps do, but rather to provide as much information as possible about road conditions like speed limits, surface quality, bicycle facilities, slope, and connectivity, allowing users to chart an informed course that’s matched to their inclinations and skill levels.
Cyclists get around in a unique way. We exist at a pedestrian scale, but are capable of traversing super-pedestrian distances. Most maps reasonably take cars as the default so they describe the city at a scale that isn’t very useful to cyclists. Other maps that really focus on a pedestrian scale are generally too small in scope–usually just a neighborhood or campus, not encompassing enough space to be useful for the average bicycle trip. The ideal bike map then is somewhere in the middle, showing as much fine grained detail as possible while covering most of the places people will want to ride. It’s also, and very importantly, a small, physical map that can be carried on a ride tucked into your messenger bag or pocket and easily unfolded and re-folded.
A bicycle map must pass the skinny-jeans-front-pocket-test to qualify as properly usable.
The map will be created from freely available geospatial data, mostly from OpenStreetMap and from federal agencies like the USGS. That means that anyone who cares to will be able to access the raw data and build on our work here, or add directly to the data themselves, further enriching future updates of the official QCB Map….Which brings me to one of the best features of this project: since it’s our(the community’s) baby, we can update it as often as necessary whenever there are significant changes to road conditions or bicycle-specific infrastructure without waiting on bureaucracies and struggling municipal budgets. Because it’s more directly supported by the community, I think it’s much more likely than not to be responsive to people’s actual needs in both the short and long-term.
By studying other city’s bike maps and applying quite a few of my own ideas, I’ve already developed a draft map from currently available data and worked out some guiding design principles for the process as it moves along. More on that in another post though!
That all being said, this is going to be a community driven project! That means two things:
- We need your financial support
- We need your advice and feedback
The budget for the project is $5,000 (half printing costs, half time and labour) and we’ve already secured an early sponsor! (A huge thanks to REI!!) Tax deductible donations can be made through Queen City Bike’s website (select ‘OTHER’ to give specifically to this project) or by sending a check to:
Queen City Bike
5709 Arnsby Place
Cincinnati Ohio 45227
Don’t forget to put ‘BIKE MAP’ in the memo line so we know it’s for this project!
We’re also looking for sponsors to support the map, who will be recognized with a name or logo. Contact Nern Ostendorf at email@example.com for information on sponsorship options.
The other way to contribute, and we hope you’ll do both, is to give us feedback on the map as it’s developed over the summer. We need people who are familiar with either
- Local road conditions, shortcuts, trails, recommended routes, facilities, etc. or
- General cartographic design/product design to ensure effective communication and practical, durable construction.
To that end, we’re holding a series of community input meetings on Monday nights at 6pm through June and July:
- Uptown/Clifton – June 10th @ Fries Cafe
- Downtown/OTR – June 17th @ MOTR
- Northern Kentucky –
June 24th @ Pike St. Lounge EDIT: rescheduled to July 15th.
- West Side – July 1st @ Corner Bloc Coffee
- East Side – July 8th @ Stanley’s Bar
You’re welcome at any meeting, whatever part of town you’re from. These will be sort of small-group working sessions where we’ll have paper, pens, computers and prints of the map in front of us to look at and scribble on. I’d also love to get a couple slightly more committed volunteer advisers to review the map substantially as it’s developed and provide design feedback throughout the process. Get in touch with me or leave a comment here if you’re interested in that!
Like I said, more to come on specific design concepts in another post. I could ramble on about that for hours, so I’ll try to keep this announcement short and sweet. Please donate, and please come out to provide advice on the map or at least have a beer/coffee with us in your part of town ;-)
…OK, maybe just a few teasers from the draft map :-)
Remember, there’s still much more work to be done, but I think it’s already rather pretty if not yet half as functional as it will be!
The Latonia hill chokepoint
These curly, rambling streets makes sense in the context of riotous hills. This is Mt. Washington, California, and Anderson.
Woods shown as green hatches are mostly on hillsides.
Crossings over or through barriers are emphasized over the barriers themselves. Here a highway is submerged, graphically even in some cases where it isn’t physically.