What would be helpful information to include on a Southwest Detroit greenway/bicycle map?
Schools, libraries, transit stops, bike shops, and parks are commonly shown on such maps.
We’ve reviewed maps from six different cities (Austin, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Montreal, and St. Louis) and compiled a list of what each includes.
Each are unique. Austin’s map shows swimming pools. Chicago highlights open metal grate bridges. Montreal and Boston show ferry service. Austin and Cleveland show how steep the roads are.
All of the maps show off-road trails. Except for Austin, all of the maps show the types of bicycle facilities on the roads, e.g. bike lanes, bike routes, etc.
The Austin map is unique in that it doesn’t show the facilities. Instead it assigns a comfort level to the road based on the existing bicycle facilities.
The roads marked HIGHcomfort level have either bicycle accommodations or low traffic volumes and speeds. On MEDIUM sections, you may find bicycle accommodations on high-speed roads, or shared-lanes on roads with moderate speeds and volumes. The LOW comfort level designates important connections with traffic volumes and speeds, and no bicycle accommodations. VERY LOW roads are not recommended for bike travel, but may still be necessary for some trips.
Of course the provide a disclaimer as well.
Cleveland’s map employs a similar mechanism based on bicycle skill level: basic, intermediate, experienced. They also highlight roads “no suitable for bicyclist but there may be no alternative route.” Of course they define what each skill level means.
What do you think makes a bicycle and greenway map most useful?
It would be easiest putting only the bicycle facilities on the map, but designating roads by comfort level or bicycle skill level adds more information and is in more layman terms. It’s more work to do the latter – more data collection from cyclists, more vetting of preferred routes.
However, with so many of the city of Detroit streets having high comfort but not bicycle accommodations, perhaps this would produce a better map.
What are your thoughts?