The Chicago Bike Guide depends on directions from MapQuest Open Directions, a free service MapQuest offers that uses the OpenStreetMap database of streets. The service looks at how the streets are “tagged” to determine the relative bike-ability of a route between your current location and your inputted destination.
MapQuest Open Directions looks for the “cycleway” tag to see if the street has a bike lane that would increase a route’s bike-ability. If that tag doesn’t exist then it looks for the “bicycle” tag which has a value of “yes” (bicycles are allowed), “no” (bicycles are not allowed), or “designated” (bicycles are allowed and encouraged here).
The City of Chicago has added a lot of new bike lanes since May 2011, at a faster rate than the previous years. Yesterday I verified that all of the new buffered and protected bike lanes (called “cycle tracks” in OpenStreetMap parlance) were noted in OpenStreetMap’s database to ensure that MapQuest Open Directions had the correct information to route Chicago Bike Guide users.
I used Active Transportation Alliance’s bikeways tracker to know which streets to look at. I used my personal knowledge of that bike lane installation to note specifically in OpenStreetMap when it changed types – for example, when a protected bike lane has a buffered bike lane for a block.
Adding the Berteau Avenue neighborhood greenway was a little tricky. “Neighborhood greenway” isn’t a type of infrastructure, but a concept involving a variety of infrastructure modifications. I tagged some parts as having a shared lane on one side of the street (sharrow) and a bike lane in the opposite direction of the main travel flow (a so-called contraflow bike lane). I also added a tag to denote the new speed limit of 20 MPH.
Cross-posted to my blog.
Here’s the list of bike lane additions I made to OpenStreetMap (see changesets one, two, three):
Comment from skorasaurus on 27 December 2013 at 22:59
Awesome work both with the mapping and with the bicycle advocacy work being done in CHI.
Unfortunately, all of the bicycle lanes without barriers in Cleveland are not buffered and are simply like the one in this picture
I was wondering what does track signify in your use?
After reading about the neighborhood greenways on the activetrans site, I would interpret that they could be tagged highway=living_street.