Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Keep Biking Pgh!

Can I say enough good about the new Pittsburgh bike map? I love bikes. I love maps. The designer was nice enough to chime in on a comment below (confirming the Ware-eskian influence). He has built a better bike map. I only hope the world comes beating a path to his door.This map isn’t just beautiful. It’s practical. It has a nice simple key.
It notes: “With a 36% grade, Canton Ave. is arguably the steepest street in the world!” Well, I’ll be!

I like the guide for novices. “Watch out for the ‘Pittsburgh Left’.” And I like the fact that the bike map was clearly designed by bikers for bikers. “If you are moving slower than traffic, move as far to the right side of the lane as possible.” That first part is important to add and easy to omit. It would be too easy to simply say, “stay to the right.” But from a biking perspective, that would be wrong.
On the actually map part of the map, the streets are easy to follow, with one-way and steep streets noted. The “landmark” circles give another chance for the art to shine. And the boxed warnings and comments are actually useful and not just C.Y.A. legalese.

“This section of E. Ohio St. is very dangerous but is the only to access the town of Millvale and the Park coming from Lawrenceville. Use extreme caution.” Will do. And thanks for telling me that it can’t be avoided. “Caution! To stay on California, head down the ramp and make the first left. Stay alert—cars move quickly here.” Got it.

My only complaint, and this may not even be justified, is that the “green” streets indicate recommended streets but don’t actually have any improved conditions for bikes. No bike lane or anything like that. Still, maybe they are better streets to bike on. Or streets that actually get you from one part of town to another part (a strange problem in Pittsburgh). Given the care put into to the map, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. On the NYC map, the red lines mean absolutely nothing, serving only to give the false illusion that New York actually has a bike “network.”

And no talk about this map would be complete without noting the Neville St. warning: “Neville St. is narrow and has a poor road surface. Also, beware of the wild turkeys often seen here—they are very territorial.” Nobody want to be attacked by wild turkeys.

Thanks, Bike PGH!


scott said...

This is Scott from Bike Pittsburgh. Thanks for all the compliments on our map!

I just wanted to quickly address your comment about the streets marked in green. To some extent, you're correct, no enhanced bike infrastructure or facilities exist on these streets (except three or four segments with lanes). We're working on that, though! The green streets represent what the majority of veteran Pittsburgh cyclists use to get from one neighborhood to another. Our narrow streets often don't qualify for on-street pavement markings so we have to be very creative in our interpretation of what constitutes a "bicycle network" in Pittsburgh. The first thing we're trying to do is educate cyclists that even though we may not have many bike lanes, some streets are better for riding than others.

Thanks again!

PCM said...

I suspected as much! Making the best of a not ideal situation. We need more of that here. I don't really want to decimate the Pittsburgh bike community, but I think you Pittsburgh folk should move to New York en mass.