Monday, May 23, 2011

OpenStreetMap screenshots: Oulu, London, Groningen

Here's a screenshot of OpenStreetMap's cyclemap showing Oulu. OSM has several map layers, and you can choose which is best for your needs. Cyclemap is obviously good for bicycling. OSM is an opensource mapping project, and it works sort of like wikipedia. Use a gps device to record your route on previously uncharted streets, upload it there, and soon the map will be updated with the new data. Not quite that simple, but almost. And the map will be up to date and will have information that is useful. Looking at the map, I can see they've added a new bike route due to construction blocking the old one. Googlemaps does not have even the old bikeway on the map!

On the screenshot, the red lines are longer routes, for bike touring between towns. National Cycle Network routes, if you will. The blue lines are bikeways. There's no difference in red or blue bikeways, the blue ones are just not part of a longer route. 'Shared' streets (quiet streets with no segregated bikeways) do not get blue lines. They're just streets.

 Here's London on OSM. Boy, I was surprised that they had so many blue lines on the map. I thought London was in the throes of cycling revolution with it's 1% or 2% cycling rates on their two superhighways. With this many bikeways they should have much more cyclists.

The river in the middle of the map is Thames, and one of the bridges is the notorious Blackfriars bridge (Cyclists in the city has good posts about it). The Transport for London is trying to redesign the bridge, but they're having problems with the idea that they do not have to give all the road space to cars. But what can you expect when even so-called cycling experts do not know any better. That last link makes me want to cry, it's so awful.

Interesting thing, that Level I-III categorisation of cyclists. Explains why the UK bloggers are talking about bike training so much. Level I can't ride a bike (has problems with balance, steering, signals etc), Level II can ride a bike but not in traffic, and Level III can ride in traffic. So if you want more cyclists, all you have to do is train everybody up to level III and the cycling revolution will begin. Simple, isn't it?

As cyclists in Levels I and II can not ride in traffic, the roadbuilders can build the infra in which Level III cyclists can survive. Which is car dominated crap cycle lanes, with pinch points added just to make it more fun.

How does this fit with the portlandian categorisation? It shows that only the 1% of cyclists, the "strong and fearless" like to cycle with heavy traffic whizzing by. All the rest would like or need proper cycling infrastructure. Which pretty much makes it certain that the cycling revolution will be revolutionising cycling in London at the 1% level forever. You can train cyclists all you want, it can't make crap cycle lanes any better.

And here's a screenshot from Groningen, Netherlands. It's been featured in blogs and videos,  so I thought there should be blue lines all over the place, but there's not. There's even less blue lines than in London! What gives, isn't it supposed to be one of the greatest cycling cities? Where's the bikeways? Well, zoom out a bit and look at all the blue lines...

edit: Oops, there was Assen in the topic, not Groningen. Gröningen, Groeningen?

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