Archive for Friday, October 8, 2010

Lawrence officials create map to help bicyclists navigate city

A bicyclist rides down Massachusetts Street Friday, past a car loaded with other bicycles. City officials have created a new map, available online at, to show bicyclists the best routes to get around town.

A bicyclist rides down Massachusetts Street Friday, past a car loaded with other bicycles. City officials have created a new map, available online at, to show bicyclists the best routes to get around town.

October 8, 2010


A quick look at 23rd Street can scare the Gatorade right out of a novice Lawrence bicyclist.

Map released that shows best biking routes in Lawrence

The committee that put the map together rated streets based on difficulty. Enlarge video

But city officials now have created a city map aimed at showing cyclists that there are many nonintimidating routes to get around the community.

“I think it does a good job of showing that we have some really comfortable routes around town,” said Eric Struckhoff, chairman of the Lawrence-Douglas County Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Well, the map is not magic. It doesn’t show you a hill-free route to campus or anything like that. But the map does provide difficulty ratings for dozens of city streets and trails.

A green rating shows routes with low to moderate traffic that are suitable for even beginning riders. A yellow route is best for more experienced riders because it normally has higher traffic volumes. A red route is best for pretty confident riders because of consistently high traffic volumes or difficult intersections. Red routes include parts of 31st Street, Louisiana, Bob Billings Parkway and Sixth Street.

Some major streets aren’t rated. Those streets are ones that bicyclists of all abilities may want to avoid if a reasonable alternative exists, said Jessica Mortinger, a transportation planner with the city. Included in that list is 23rd Street, Kentucky, Tennessee and Massachusetts between Sixth and 11th streets. Instead, bicyclists are encouraged to use New Hampshire and Vermont streets.

“There are just a lot of conflicting vehicle movements, a lot of stop-and-go and a lot of vehicles pulling out of parking spaces on that stretch of Massachusetts,” Mortinger said.

The map also shows troublesome intersections, public transit stops, and has a special section that shows public bicycle parking in downtown. It also includes tips that remind bicyclists that they are subject to the same rules of the road as motorists.

The route ratings were developed by members of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, who cycled the routes over the course of a year and then discussed as a group how to rate them.

Struckhoff said a ridership map is particularly important in a community like Lawrence because of the influx of new students each year. He said the idea for the map came in early 2009 when he was presenting a planning map to a Kansas University class. The map showed streets with bicycle lanes, lane-sharing markings and plans for future improvements.

“But they looked at that map and said what they really wanted to know was the best way to get from here to there,” Struckhoff said.

Mortinger said other groups also had started asking for a map.

“With the change in the school busing situation, we’ve had several parents call wanting to know good routes for the children to bike to school,” Mortinger said.

Currently, the map is available only online. It can be accessed at The city is pursuing grant funding to print the map for distribution.


justfornow 7 years, 8 months ago

Why can't bicyclists figure this out without the help of Lawrence officials???.... Nevermind

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 8 months ago

I'm glad they're worried about this instead of finding places for people to work...

Hilary Morton 7 years, 8 months ago

They can. They just would have to learn the hard way. This is for people who are new to biking, or Lawrence or biking IN Lawrence.

Clark Coan 7 years, 8 months ago

I wish they would learn not to ride on Mass. St. but use Vermont St. which is an official bike route. All it takes is one person texting and squish.

average 7 years, 8 months ago

We've had various bike maps out for years. It's more important in Lawrence than other towns, because there's another couple thousand new 18-year-olds every year who take to two wheels without years of experience with Lawrence terrain, or cycling much at all.

I've honestly never considered Mass downtown to be any less bike-friendly than either side street. It's a linear parking lot. VT/NH have faster traffic.

pizzapete 7 years, 8 months ago

I think this is a great idea, especially with all the new students we add every year.

Danimal 7 years, 8 months ago

I just hope that this didn't cost the city an arm and a leg, or a lot of money.

CLARKKENT 7 years, 8 months ago


laika 7 years, 8 months ago

Not sure about Connecticut from 7th to 15th being listed as a "Green" route. Although the road is in better shape now, people like to gun it even though there and the on street parking can make things tricky for cyclists.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

Incomplete streets will hamper climate change strategies

The transportation infrastructure in the United States is not diverse enough to accommodate an increase in pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users. Many trips are made by automobile because of incomplete streets that make it dangerous or unpleasant to walk, bicycle, or take transit.

In fact, a national survey found that bike lanes were available for less than five percent of bicycle trips, and more than one-quarter of pedestrian trips were taking place on roads with neither sidewalks nor shoulders . Other surveys have found that a lack of sidewalks and safe places to bike are a primary reason people give when asked why they don’t walk or bicycle more. For example, a recent survey of Florida residents found only 25 percent felt it was safe to walk along or to cross the closest U.S. or State road.

Walking and bicycling are zero-emission transportation modes, and transit is a lower-emissions mode – using transit can help a solo commuter who switches from driving to transit to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 pounds per day, or more than 4,800 pounds in a year .

Complete Streets are essential in order to make it possible for Americans to drive less and use our streets to get around more easily on foot, bike, and public transit. The potential to shift trips to lower-carbon modes is undeniable: The 2001 National Household Transportation Survey finds that 50% of all trips in metropolitan areas are three miles or less and 28% of all metropolitan trips are one mile or less – distances easily traversed by foot or bicycle.

Yet 65 percent of trips under one mile are now made by automobile , in part because of incomplete streets that make it dangerous or unpleasant to walk, bicycle, or take transit. Complete streets would help convert many of these short automobile trips to multi-modal travel. Other studies have calculated that 5-10% of urban automobile trips can reasonably be shifted to non-motorized transport .

Places that are giving people options are seeing a reduction in their emissions.

Boulder, Colorado is working to create a complete street network, with over 350 miles of dedicated bike facilities, paved shoulders and a comprehensive transit network.

Between 1990 and 2003, fewer people in the city drove alone, more people bicycled, and transit trips grew by a staggering 500 percent. The reduction in car trips has cut annual CO2 emissions by half a million pounds .

Complete streets policies aren’t just a worthy end in the themselves. They’re also an important means to help reduce heat-trapping pollution and should be an element of every jurisdiction’s climate change toolbox.

cowboy 7 years, 8 months ago

From the time I could ride at age 5 or six , never needed a map to get around town , and we went everywhere.

Why is it that adults on fancy bikes need a city funded map ?

christy kennedy 7 years, 8 months ago

I'll repeat what's been said above: large influx of students every year, some of whom bike to get around while learning their way around, plus anyone new to bike riding. It's helpful. Don't use it if you don't need it. Really no need to complain and insult things that help others that you're not interested in.

budwhysir 7 years, 8 months ago

if they could do this for the empty busses we would be in business. Maybe we could survey the people wandering around town with no where to go and cordinate the bus traffic with that, we could have alot less bikes using the unused bike lanes around town

budwhysir 7 years, 8 months ago

This will help greatly. Just last week my gps on my bike went on the blink. I have been lost ever since... I cant believe how hard it is to get around in this town. Why oh why do they allow all these cars in this town. Its like we have a college close by and alot of students are in town

Clara Westphal 7 years, 8 months ago

It would help if the bikers would use the lanes where they are available and not be in the center of the street.

Also, lights and reflectors are a great help. There are riders on east 13th street that are riding in the dark (6 a.m.) with nothing on the bike or themselves that make them visible to a driver. It is really scary. Sure don't want to hit one of them.

nmpappas 7 years, 8 months ago

Having known her for a good long while, I can assure you she was misquoted by the paper. Don't believe everything you read!

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