Building a Better Bike Map

27 07 2012

This week, I attended a feedback session on the City of Edmonton’s bike map. Maps fascinate me. All you have to do to keep me occupied for hours is give me a some maps or an atlas, especially of places I plan on going. I’m sure the amount of time I’ve spent looking at E-Ville bike maps over the years amounts to days or weeks.

Scrutinizing the City of Edmonton bike map.

Last year, I waited with baited breath for the new edition to come out, but when I finally got my hands on one, it was a huge disappointment. While it was nice to have an updated map of the new infrastructure, the new style with it’s barely visible roads and dearth of street names compromised its overall usefulness.

Participants in the session checked out bike maps from 6 different cities (including E-Ville) and gave feedback on what they liked and didn’t like about them via post-it notes and a written survey. I wasn’t the only one who found lots of room for improvement for Edmonton’s version.

The E-Ville map had the most post-its by far. Click on picture to zoom in to read some of them.

Because there weren’t very many people there, and because I have so many strong opinions on the subject, I spent the better part of 2 hours making detailed comments on everything (and apparently riling up some of the other participants).

Even though this was the only physical session, you can still give feedback online via this survey:

Afterwards, I talked to one of the consultants who’s working on the new map. They are well aware that the current map needs improvement, and is a step down from previous editions. The current map was produced with different software than before which apparently is much more limited. They also confirmed something I’d always suspected, that there weren’t any pre-press samples to detect the misprint that made all the non-bike lane streets nearly invisible.