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Pedal the country with Google Bike

Sabrina HarrisPost IndependentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox
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Spread the word! As of March 10, the United States now has bike directions online. Google Maps has added biking directions and extensive bike trail data as a new feature to Google Maps, introduced as “Google Bike.” The news of a bike-route tool available on Google Maps thrilled bike advocates across the nation who have been pushing for the feature for years. No longer will cyclists have to rely on paper maps. The map is customized to encourage bicyclists to hop on their bikes. Much of the bike trail data provides efficient routes that allow riders to customize their trip by allowing you to plot the best and flattest ride from Point A to Point B. With the click of a mouse, Google Maps can make use of designated bike lanes or trails, elevations, topography and traffic signals to determine the best route for riding. The map calculates rider-friendly routes that will send you around, not over, hills. If you need to make a change to a route, you can simply click and drag the suggested route anywhere you like, just like you can with pedestrian or driving routes. Users can suggest changes or make corrections to routes using the ever-present “report a problem” feature on Google Maps. Shannon Guymon, product manager for Google Maps, said, “We wanted to include as much bike trail data as possible, provide efficient routes, allow riders to customize their trip, make use of bike lanes, calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills and customize the look of the map for cycling to encourage folks to hop on their bikes. So that’s exactly what we’ve done.” The new bike map has a unique look and feel. The map is color-coded to inform the cyclist on specific information about the route. Bike trails are dark green, streets with dedicated bike lanes are light green and streets that don’t have a bike lane but are still a decent route because of their topography, light traffic or other factors are indicated by dotted green lines. “This has been a top-requested feature from Google Maps users for the last couple years,” said Guymon. This makes it possible for people who want to ride more, especially as more people recognize biking as a viable, inexpensive and healthy alternative to driving. It’s better for the people and communities when they do ride more, especially for those short trips that are the most polluting. For the hikers, walkers and runners, last year Google Map launched “My Tracks,” an application that collects live GPS statistics from the user’s smartphone and mapped out total/moving time, (average) speed, distance, and elevation profile on Google Maps as the trips were being made.

Donegan Road: Donegan Road is closed to through traffic between Vista Drive and Sunny Acres Road. The closure will remain until June 7. Residents living west of Sunny Acres Road will still have one-way access from the east only. The closure is to facilitate the installation of a storm drain system, retaining walls, and to complete the sidewalks and paving. The city of Glenwood Springs and Martinez Western would like to thank you for your patience while this work takes place.Devereux Road: To help facilitate the placement of the Devereux Road Pedestrian Bridge over I-70, partially funded with ARRA money, Devereux Road will be closed through at least 6:30 a.m. Thursday, April 8, and I-70 will be closed the evening of April 7, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., weather pending.Grand Avenue Pedestrian Bridge: As of Monday, April 5, the pedestrian bridge is closed to pedestrian and bike traffic. Please use the alternate access across the Colorado River, via the bridge in Two Rivers Park (southwest of the Interstate, accessible through the underpass at Exit 116) or by using the free Ride Glenwood bus system.GAPP II construction continues (weather permitting) with the concrete pour of curb and gutter, driveways, crosswalks and possibly some of the intersections in areas north of 22nd Street to 20th Street. This work will not impede access to or from any of the side streets in the project area. The east lanes of Grand Avenue from Sayre Park to 25th Street remain closed, with single-lane traffic in both directions on the west side of Grand Avenue. Expect delays, especially at peak morning and evening commute hours.Sabrina Harris is transportation manager for the city of Glenwood Springs.


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