One effect of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was to render existing bike maps of the city obsolete and incomplete. The NOLA Cycle Bike Map Project
is a grassroots effort to create a comprehensive, freely-available bicycle map for New Orleans (like those that already exist for Chicago
, and other cities). Because the project is driven by DIY maps produced by individuals
and by volunteer social events organized around mapping different locations that can then be added to the project's database, it's been described as "Wiki-style involvement in the real world
." (Here's some video
of the project.)
The project began as an undergraduate capstone project
for planning student Lauren Sullivan
at the University of Cincinnati
. Sullivan moved to New Orleans as part of Cincinnati's innovative co-op education
program, and, once there, found the city difficult to bike in
without a good map--"We do have a lot of fast roads, a lot of dangerous roads and roads with a lot of potholes," she told the Times-Picayune when the project began in 2008. "But then we also have a lot of good hidden neighborhood roads."
She modeled the project on Youthline America's Mapping America
project, in which high school students are sent out to map their neighborhood resources. By June of this year
, most of Orleans Parish, including the 9th Ward, was mapped; data is now being entered into ArcGIS
while Sullivan and volunteers design and release prototypes
. A mini-grant
from the Crescent City Farmers' Market
's Crescent Fund
has defrayed some costs.
This initiative, along with the 2009 Louisiana DOTD Statewide Pedestrian and Cyclist Master Plan
and the efforts of homegrown bike co-ops
and advocacy organizations
, are all gradually making New Orleans a friendlier place to bike.