The Latest From BostonBiker.org
News, Events, Updates
From the Boston Cyclists Union:
The Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI), the Boston Cyclists Union, the Boston Police Department and other partners, led by Rappaport Fellow Dahianna Lopez, have released two new tools for bike advocates everywhere. One is aninteractive online crash map that allows people to identify crash clusters and see potential patterns. Two is a public release of the raw data that helped create that map. The raw data however contains much more data than the map—including narrative police reports that are our best indication of cause and a number of facts derived from them.
The release of the data opens the door for researchers around the world and allows Boston to join just a handful of cities in the country that provide public access to police crash data, and a very select few that include narrative police reports with that data. Accessing the data requires a LinkedIn profile and approval by BARI.
More from BARI:
This instance of BostonMap illustrates patterns in bicycle collisions across Boston, MA between 2009 and 2012. The data are derived from Boston Police Department (BPD) incident narrative reports, as organized and compiled by Dahianna Lopez (Harvard Injury Control and Research Center) and partners at BPD, BARI and the Boston Cyclists Union. Visitors can also download the raw data, including narrative reports, and documentation at the BARI Data Library.
The Boston Research Map
Boston Research Map is an open source web mapping system that is an ongoing project of the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI) in conjunction with the WorldMap team. It is intended to help faculty and their students, policymakers and practitioners, and community members to explore the neighborhoods of Boston from their computer. Visitors to BostonMap can:
1. Interact with the best available public data for the Boston region, while also uploading their own data.
2. See the whole Boston area but also zoom in to particular places.
3. Accumulate both contemporary and historical data supplied by researchers and make it permanently accessible online.
4. Work collaboratively across disciplines and organizations with spatial information in an online environment.
Check out the map here
The obvious benefit of data like this is that it allows a glance to see the “hot zones” of bicycle crash areas. Its obvious that Huntington Ave. and Mass. Ave. are where most of the crashes happen, and that should be where most of the effort is put to reduce them.
I was also not surprised to see that there are many crashes on the green-way bicycle path in JP. After having spent years riding on that path I can tell you that it is deceptively dangerous and could use some serious upgrades/safety changes. I wouldn’t mind seeing the existing bike path given over to pedestrians (they basically use it like a walking path anyway, even though there are signs telling them every 100 feet not to). With the current sidewalk could be turned into a buffered cycle track with a permanent cement buffer. This would keep cyclists out where turning cars can easily see them.
Big data can lead to safety, but there are some drawbacks to these maps. They need context, it would be super helpful if I could easily sort by deaths, minor skinned knee, car caused, cyclist causes, pot holes, etc. To a non-cyclist looking at this map might scare them rather badly about the safety of cycling. These issues are easy enough to solve, the data simply must be segmented properly.
Overall, these sort of projects are amazing and I can’t wait to see more of them. The next step might be a smart phone app that can help cyclists donate anonymous data to a project like this. Keep up the good work BARI, and I look forward to data like this driving future planning and policy choices.
Tags: bari, big data, boston cyclists union, maps
Posted in advocacy, infrastructure | No Comments »
Don’t know why I didn’t see this sooner, but still pretty awesome!
MAPC is proud to present our walking and cycling map with a nearly complete inventory of the regions bicycling and walking facilities. This map includes on road cycling facilities including bike lanes and cycle tracks, rail trails and other shared use paths, plus hiking trails.
Tags: awesome, mapc, maps
Posted in Commuting, routes | 3 Comments »
The city is taking feedback on where they will put the hubway bike rental stations. If you want one near your your commute now is the time to speak up.
The New Balance Hubway Team is excited to announce the service area for our July 2011 launch.
We want your input! On the map below, please click on a maximum of 5 station locations to tell us where you would like to see a station.
They also have a map of the service area, for phase one of the project.
Go here and let them know where you want your bike rental stations.
Tags: bike rental stations, hubway, maps
Posted in infrastructure | 5 Comments »
In our continuing series of guest blogs for the front page here is another good one from Doored from a couple days ago.
My only preparation for this morning’s ride involved googling “How to bike in the rain.” No maps, no intense study of the route. I didn’t even have my GPS. True, I’d never ridden in from Brighton (I rode from the city outwards on my last commute). I’d already decided not to bike in on Commonwealth Avenue. Although there is a bike lane, I still felt like I was taking my life into my hands last time on my ride home. I was plotting a new route as I went, exploring parts of the city I’d only ever ridden below, without any guidance above my sense of direction and the ever present Hancock building.
I coasted along comfortably in the warm humid weather, following the spacious bike path down tree-lined Beacon Street, following the C-line. My pleasant cruise ended, however, when the bike lane did. Now I was in traffic, dodging between the parked cars and the driving ones, at points in the travel lane. Luckily, the many bike commuters gave me some guidance about how to behave. I was following hard-core bike commuter, and as we came across several garbage trucks blocking the road, I planned to follow his lead. He swerved around the first truck, I swerved around the first truck (throwing a “please don’t kill me!” grin to the car behind me). To get around the second truck, though, he somehow slipped through a 6” gap between the truck and a car’s rear-view mirror. I stopped short, then walked my bike across the side-walk in defeat.
My map-less navigation served me well until I hit the Citgo sign. A few months ago on foot, I’d spent a freezing hour lost around Fenway at night and that familiar panic was setting in. However, I knew the bike afforded me the ability to get slightly lost and recover more quickly. I followed the majority of the cars and, as I crested the bridge over the Pike, the Kenmore canopy came into view and I felt at least mostly orientated.
Peddling hard in the direction of the Commons, I found myself at a strange intersection where the bike path, with no warning or signage, move from the right-hand side of the road to the left-hand side. I crossed carefully, and continued riding on the left-hand side until I came to the Public Gardens. My relief was followed by confusion: There is no good way to ride one’s bike around the Commons and Public Gardens. The one-way streets, lack of bike lanes, and temporary insanity that hits all drivers in the area again led me to walk the bike the last several blocks to school.
Were I walking, or even riding the T, I would be loathe to attempt a commute without knowing the route turn for turn. I’m the person who usually maps the route, checks for landmarks at every turn, and has a print-out of directions if there’s the slightest chance that I’ll get lost (and I still get lost). However, on the bike, that level of preparation seems less important. If I turn down a wrong street, it’s easy enough to turn around when I realize it and retrace my route. I’ve got a great general sense of direction (Am I heading North or South? Towards the water or away?) So far, that’s all that I’ve needed to get me where I’m going.
Although walking started the process, biking has gone a long way towards connecting the T-stops in my mind. Sure, I know what stuff is directly around Aquarium, but before I started biking and actively exploring the streets, I didn’t really know what was between the Government Center and the Aquarium stops. You don’t really get a sense of where Kendall is in relation to Davis until you actually go from Kendall to Davis above ground. Now, instead of isolated islands or land in my mind, the T stops are navigational points that I can use to orient myself in the city. I’m discovering a side of the city I’ve never seen before, and I look forward to seeing more of it as Spring progresses.
Tags: commuting, gps, maps, rain
Posted in Commuting | No Comments »
I am looking for some help. I want to create a google map of every single piece of bike infrastructure in Boston and the surrounding area. Every bike lane, every bike box, every cycle track, every off road path, the works. I will be including large bike parking facilities like the bike cages at T-stops, but skipping (for now) individual bike racks.
To do this I need all of your help. I have created a map (see below) that ANYONE can add to. Simply click on the link here, or below the map and add away. Try to label your points/lines/shapes with something useful, and also try not to delete anyone’s information.
I figure if we all add our little parts we will have the whole business mapped up in no time. Then we can use this map to show new bikers where all the bike lanes etc are.
The map is getting a lot of attention! Which means it takes a while to load, to speed up the page I have put it below the fold. I noticed that some lanes are on there multiple times, feel free to prune them off if you accidentally double up.
If you want to see the entire map continue reading.
If you want to see the whole map with all the edits on one page click here.
Tags: bike infrastructure, maps
Posted in infrastructure | 21 Comments »