Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bike Map v2.2 in Progress! - Do you have Suggestions?

Back in 2012 a major revision of the Salem area bike map came out. v2.0 had a lot of improvements (see below for notes on one of them) and has seemed like a real advance on the old one.

The print run for v2.1 has "sold out," and it's time for v2.2 now!

It's time for v2.1 of the Salem Area Bike Map!
If there was a criticism of v2.0, the preponderance of initial comment was to ask for more street names. It was a little spare.

If you were new to town, new to biking, or navigating in an unfamiliar part of town, the lack of street labels was problematic.

So that's something they know about and are working on for v2.2.

MWVCOG/SKATS just rolled out a new website, and navigating to the map is really difficult now. I think this will work. (If it doesn't, leave a comment. Hopefully they'll find a better way to fit static links for some things into their new web architecture.)

Do you have other ideas or comments? (They'll be including new bike lanes and other facilities, as well, of course.)

Send comments to Ray Jackson at SKATS. He would like them by the 29th of this month.

Stress Level Indicators: What the Map does Well

Unfortunately, a recent death in Portland underscored ways that the changes made in v2.0 are helpful.

Martin Greenough's death on Lombard Road in Portland in December was horrifying, and the gap in the bike lane under the bridge looked terrifying.
If you follow BikePortland you'll have seen the discussion of the way this stretch of road is officially identified as "a good place to bike."

And it is far from this. But as someone new to town, Greenough had no way of knowing the finer details about stress level and small gaps in the bike lane.
About a week later, BikePortland noted that METRO, the MPO serving the Portland region, had edited their bike lane maps.

This might be an area where Salem is actually a little ahead of Portland. Really!

During the 2012 revision of the Salem bike map, consensus gelled that basic bike lanes on busy arterial roads did not themselves constitute "a good place to bike," and they were labeled instead to signify that some level of caution was appropriate. These bike lanes serve those with a higher tolerance for stress, but not the broadest group of "interested but concerned" cyclists or those new to town who might not be prepared to contend with high volume arterial traffic.

Whom does our Bronze rating actually serve?
(via MassDOT Separated Bike Lane Planning Guide)
Consider our new City Manager. Much like Greenough, who had been in Portland just two weeks and was on his first work commute when he was killed, Steve Powers is still fairly new to town.

Bike Map from Crestview to City Hall
But he will see from the bike map that Commercial and Liberty - and even High Street - are challenging, intimidating, and require extra caution. Even with bike lanes, as bike routes they are not as safe as they could be, and they are certainly not as comfortable as they could be. Instead of being labeled in a serene blue, they get yellow here; on the segment of Commercial that totally lacks bike lanes or sharrows, there's red. This seems like a much richer level of information, one that helps a person make a more informed decision about route choices.

The Salem bike map's not perfect, but considered as something to give a stranger new to to town, it's more useful in some ways than the Portland maps. It is less likely to lull someone into a false sense of comfort or safety.

So this is one of the most important lenses through which to analyze the map: For a new, "innocent" eye, what is missing?

Got ideas? Again, send comments to Ray Jackson at SKATS. He would like them by the 29th of this month.


atstein said...

How often are these maps updated? Thanks ~A

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

I'm not sure there's a regular schedule. Funding for design and printing is "sofa change," scrounged out of other budgets I think, rather than something regularly budgeted.

The pattern, though, seems to be about every two years. But this is largely accidental, not by intent or plan.

Anonymous said...

Prior to 2012 there was no regular schedule for updating the map. As of 2012 the plan has been to update the map every two years, with the limitation of staff availability. Updates are to be completed in the winter months (Dec-Feb) so the map can be ready and printed in time for spring.

Funding for printing the maps is via Cherriots Rideshare and they have allocated funds for the last 3-4 years and will be doing so for this years printing as well.


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks for the correction/clarification, Ray!