MetroSpokane has reported in the past on the WalkScore mashup that measures how walkable your neighborhood is. Turns out Google partnered on this initiative. Just imagine the power if Google signed onto an initiative to make bike route information available.
Well, here’s your chance. See googlemapsbikethere.
As with pedestrian access, options to cyclists may vary from those available to drivers. The ability to map those options will help bike commuters as well as recreational cyclists looking for a good route.
For a Spokane example, imagine that you are a cyclist westbound on Riverside at Division, exiting the Riverpoint Campus property, and you want to go east on Sprague Avenue. You have two legal options:
- BIKE-ONLY OPTION - Ride west on Riverside to Browne, turn left, turn left again on Sprague. You have passed through four traffic lights, thanks to the one-way street system, and you will ride in some of the city’s heaviest traffic through one of its most dangerous intersections (Sprague and Division), to say nothing of the truly teeth-rattling street surface on Sprague.
- PEDESTRIAN-ONLY OPTION - Convert to pedestrian status. Walk south on Division using the sidewalk on the east side of the street to Sprague. You can cross Sprague to the south side at the light and convert back to a cyclist eastbound (messy, though, because of the right-hand lane that leaves northbound Division to turn onto eastbound Sprague). Or—for a cleaner line of sight, once you leave the railroad viaduct area—you turn left/east on the sidewalk under the viaduct, go about a block on the sidewalk, then enter into traffic from the parking lot of the Edge condos just like a car, turning left/east on Sprague. If you do the latter, you can skip all the lights except the one at Riverside and Division, but you were already stopped there anyway.
- BAD FORM OPTION - Sorry, there is not a third option of riding your bike on the sidewalk south and then east before reentering traffic. That’s illegal in downtown, and cyclists are safest when they act, and are treated, as traffic.