Wednesday, March 10, 2010

blog pulse: bike routes in Google Maps!

showing bike paths and lanes

Sure, there's some local discussion about street cars in Oakland. I'd love to see it happen and agree with 21st Century Urban Solutions that streetcars would help revitalize Oakland, but I'm not expecting it anytime soon.

No, the big news that's not just in Oakland but all over the blogosphere is that Google Maps at long last has bike routes and mapping. You can read the official pronouncement at the Official Google Blog. It's still in development, but it looks like they've got a good start, with maps in over 150 cities. The routes give priority to bike paths and lanes, and attempt to avoid steep routes. For example, coming back from Kaiser, the first suggestion was coming up Moraga. At the cost of an additional 0.9 miles, the second suggestion was to go up Broadway and around past Lake Temescal which is less steep. On the other hand, it didn't suggest going up the Shepherd Canyon Trail behind Montclair Village, but instead riding up Colton Blvd. Using the trail adds 0.8 miles, but Colton is hecka busy and hecka steep. The trail keeps you off the street for much of the way (and on less busy and steep streets for the rest), so is well worth the added mileage.

Additional reading:

3 comments:

Andy K said...

My new route for getting from Montclair to downtown, Piedmont Ave., Lakeshore, Temescal, College Ave. etc. involves taking Lasale across 13 to Wood, down to Blair in Piedmont. The view from the top of Blair is spectacular. And there is far less traffic. To come up, I take Scenic near the top - which is less steep.

I am tired of riding up Moraga and Park (too much traffic).

Gene said...

Cool -- I'll have to give that a try some time. Between Moraga and Park, I'll take Park as it's less steep. But still not as good as the northerly route past Lake Temescal.

Andy K said...

Yes Temescal is my other choice - cutting down to Cabot via Golden Gate to avoid the Broadway/24 interchange.