Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Google Maps Bike Routes Coming to the 'Peg

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City bike routes going on Google next week

Google Maps will soon let the city's hardy bicycle riders find bike routes buried under the snow.   / NOV. 22  2010 ���v����v?���v� Stdup  Winter has arrived  and cycling season will be over for most bike riders .  In pic  several bicycles  were still locked in place  on Sherbrook St  at Wolseley Ave on Monday morning with more snow coming

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Google Maps will soon let the city's hardy bicycle riders find bike routes buried under the snow. / NOV. 22 2010 ���v����v?���v� Stdup Winter has arrived and cycling season will be over for most bike riders . In pic several bicycles were still locked in place on Sherbrook St at Wolseley Ave on Monday morning with more snow coming

The snow and ice suggest otherwise, but life for the Winnipeg cyclist just became a little easier.

In an announcement at the Sustainable Mobility Conference in Ottawa Monday, Internet search engine giant Google has added Winnipeg to its list of Canadian cities that will have bike routes available online for those looking for the best path to take on two wheels.

With Google Bike Directions, scheduled to be added to Google Maps during the next week, users can pore over city-fed bike maps using the popular web atlas to chart a course for their daily commute.

Comprehensive maps of various bike routes and paths are already available on the city's website, but Winnipeg Trails Association director Janice Lukes was thrilled to find out Google has added the city to its new mapping feature.

"We have all this new infrastructure and many people don't know where it is," she said. "This will encourage those who are looking to get out on the weekends or do a little riding after work."

What has the cycling community excited about the Google Maps addition is the reach it will have to those contemplating ditching their vehicle for a bike.

Jeff Martin, owner of Alter Ego Sports, feels the undecided might finally decide to switch to a two-wheeler permanently, thanks to Google Maps. Not every trail or dedicated bike lane is visible from behind the wheel, he notes, so not everyone is up to speed with the layout of the city's active transportation framework.

"For the serious cyclist, they're going to ride their bikes regardless," he said. "But for the inexperienced rider, this will show them they can get from point A to point B in a safe way, especially for winter riding."

Google Bike Directions works like this: A click on the bicycle icon shows a dark green line indicating a bike-only path. A lighter green line signals a dedicated bike lane and a dotted line shows a city street that doesn't have a dedicated bike lane, but could still be suitable for riding.

The city planned to spend $20.4 million dollars on 36 bike-and-pedestrian projects under a federal stimulus program this year. Cold weather cut six of those projects short, with completion scheduled for 2011.

Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Gatineau and Waterloo are the other Canadian cities involved in Google's announcement. Bike-trail data for U.S. markets was added to Google Maps earlier this year.

adam.wazny@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 23, 2010 A5

2 comments:

PaddyAnne said...

Thats great news about Google and the bike maps! I also really like the photo you took - the snow on the parked bikes and a rider behind them pushing through the snow, and the nice warm yellow/orange glow of the light in sharp contrast to cold blue and gray colours winter is associated with.

Sox said...

Thank you PaddyAnne but I can't take credit for the picture. One of the photographers for the Winnnipeg Free Press took that one.