Nicole Freedman, Boston’s bike czar, faces a monumental challenge: to convert the city’s choked roads into a cycling paradise. She’s used to taking on seemingly insurmountable tasks – Freedman thrived as a professional cyclist and represented the United States in the 2000 Olympics.
Freedman used her tech-savvy to build a comprehensive bike route map for peanuts. The Boston Bike Map application builds upon GoogleMaps. Cyclists log their commutes routes every day and the resulting patterns indicate the roads that are conducive to riding as well as where improvements are needed.
Cyclists are also able to rate the bike-friendliness of various roads. Freedman’s team will use the resulting compiled information to determine which roads will have bike lanes added and also to create Boston’s first official bike map.
The fact that the city of Boston even has a “bike czar” is, in and of itself, an amazing step forward. Bicycling magazine has ranked Boston the worst place to ride in the U.S. on several occasions.
Great Video from Boston.com on the state of cycling in Boston:
Boston mayor Tom Menino is looking to turn things around for the city’s cyclists. Menino cites environmental, health, and traffic congestion concerns – but also has more selfish motives. Menino was inspired by a fellow city official to give bike riding a try. Being the obsessive type, the mayor has taken to riding his bike several mornings a week throughout the city and views his newfound hobby as an excellent opportunity to get a closer look at his political territory.
Menino is also looking to expand the city’s bike path system, add a bike parking facility along the lines of Chicago’s Bike Station, and institute a bike-sharing system along the lines of France’s wildly popular Velo’v and Vélib.