The last couple of days have been very busy. I'm excited to share this information will all of you because these 'happy accidents', when all the good stuff seems to converge at once, happen very rarely.
Patrick Fox/info re Google Maps
Patrick Fox, Multimodal Transportation
Planner at INCOG, caught this one I'd missed.
It's from the National Bike Summit that
concluded last week. Patrick said:
Check this out...
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.
Well, 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.
Let's be clear – this is a free resource that we can use to determine routes used by real cyclists, rather than lines on a map drawn up in a planning office somewhere. A tool like this is very beneficial to area cyclists, INCOG, and our bureaucrats and politicians. It supplies genuine data, not assumptions or conjecture, and that's precisely the kind of information necessary to serve area cyclists.
Trail updates and Green Traveler
(This is part of an e-mail Patrick Fox sent out regarding trail connectivity with the AA Maintenance Base. Used with permission.)
As far as completing the Mingo Valley Trail, that trail is either constructed or funded to be constructed from 91st Street South to I-244. The un-constructed portions of the trail, which are generally between 81st St. South and 41st Street South, and between Admiral and 244, are being managed by the City of Tulsa Public Works department. I believe that they are currently in the final design phase with anticipated construction to begin in 2009.
North of I-244 the trail is planned to follow Mingo Creek past the Airport to connect with Mohawk Park, with a potential for a spur west towards the American Airlines facility. That extension North of 244, however, is not funded. We generally rely on either Federal Transportation Enhancement Funding and/or private charitable funding to pay for these amenities. The Enhancement Funds have paid for the Mingo Valley Trail to this point, with the matching funds (20%) coming from the city capital improvements fund.
Another project underway is the construction of the Mohawk-Owasso Trail which originates on 76th Street North in Owasso, travels south on Mingo to 66th Street North, then follows 66th St west to Memorial, where it again turns south until the Trail intersects with Mohawk Park. From that point trail users can access the park and its facilities, or travel through the park to the North side of the Airport boundary, near American. What has been completed to date is all of the survey work and some preliminary design work for the project. Construction of the project should move quickly now that the field work is complete.
I also want to let you know about Tulsa’s “Bike To Work” Program. This is an annual event, which roughly coincides with our Ozone Alert Season. The kickoff is in May, during National Bike To Work Month. Our event extends through the Ozone Alert Season and ends in mid-September. The event is designed to encourage people to ride to work when they can. The incentive, other than personal satisfaction and exercise, is that we provide an online miles ‘Tracker”, in which participants can log the number of miles they commute each week. We have two to three Bike to Work “get-togethers” in which we reward the participants who have ridden the most miles throughout the season with prizes, gift certificates, etc. Plus, we usually spring for coffee and bagels. It’s a good opportunity for cyclists around the region to get together and talk about cycling and cycling issues. The Bike to Work info can be found at: http://www.incog.org/transportation/trails.htm
Another ‘green’ alternative to biking is sharing rides with other American Airlines employees. INCOG sponsors a website named Green Traveler, www.green-traveler.org, which provides instant online access to locating potential carpooling partners.
Anyone who has computer access can fill in their commuting schedule in just a couple of minutes. They can limit matches only to fellow workers who work the same shifts they do. In a few seconds they can get e-mail contact information on other American employees near them who would like to carpool. Phone numbers and specific addresses are kept private until participants decide to give those details to potential ride partners. Sharing rides saves money, expands commute options, and is good for the environment. Not only is less fuel consumed, but cutting down on the number of vehicles on the highway reduces auto emissions that contribute to air pollution. Using www.green-traveler.org is a great way to go green!
Tulsa Tough update
(From Adam Vanderberg, owner of Lee's Bicycles.)
I received a call today from Malcolm McCollam about the Tulsa Tough Kids Challenge this year. They have partnered with the Crime Commission on their Safe Escape program. Safe Escape is a very successful community program to teach kids on how to protect themselves from predators. The program is very well attended! Tulsa Tough wants to give away bikes to these kids (3rd through 5th graders.) but we need a bicycle (education) element to the program. I'm thinking a Kids 1 course might be the perfect curriculum for this age group but we need LCI's to teach and was hoping for some support from our local professionals.
I'm told that there will be 300 Trek multi-speed bicycles equipped with hand brakes this year. Assemblers will have to receive some training. Of course, I've already volunteered to provide mechanical support on the tour route and I'll undoubtedly be there assembling kid's bikes when the time comes.
Go Green and Get Lean
Our internal newsletter, Crib Notes, is devoted to green issues in the March 11th edition. There's a long article with, ahem, me of all people promoting transportation cycling. I didn't include it here in the musette because of it's length. I'll post it separately sometime tomorrow.
The Tulsa advocacy group now has a page for news and information directed at area cyclists. (LINK) http://www.taobike.blogspot.com For the near future, I'll be posting news both there and in CycleDog, but CycleDog will remain the sole site for comedy, satire, rants, and other personal observations.
Wednesday night ride Owasso
I think this makes a lot of sense. Our regular Tulsa area Wednesday night ride leaves from the West Bank parking lot near downtown. With the high cost of gas, it's sensible to initiate other local rides that don't require participants to drive to the starting point. So there's a new Wednesday ride leaving from the south lot of the Bailey Medical Center in Owasso starting at 5:30.