Yesterday, I linked to Elisa Poteat’s request for bike path traffic reports.
I call upon all traffic reporters in major cities in the U.S. and U.K. to make a New Year’s resolution to report conditions for cyclists. We know that that we need to increase the number of bike commuters and diversify the crowd that is already commuting. You need a younger audience if you want to survive. So it is in our mutual interest to have bike condition reports.
Her context is the winter storm slamming the U.S. East Coast right now, but a local cyclist reminded me that these condition reports can be helpful for Silicon Valley as well. Eric W wrote:
I do think some kind of condition announcements would be good for cyclists. The underpass for 101 on the Guadalupe Trail for one. It’s not legal for me to pick up my bike and go over the roadway… Major washouts if any on trails would be good to announce.
That’s a photo of me and my bike underneath Highway 101 on the Guadalupe River Trail last November. On the one hand, I think most of us know that this underpass gets flooed with every rain fall, but it indeed would have been good to know about this before I committed myself to riding here.
Instead of a traffic report, what about a collaborative, crowd sourced social media trail condition report? I have in mind something like the model used for Caltrain status updates on Twitter.
Would you participate? What type of geographical constraint should we use?
My fear: trail events are so rare in Santa Clara County that few people would see the benefit of this alert system.
San Jose trails manager Yves Zsutty will tweet trail conditions when he can and when conditions warrant, though he himself often gets the reports from other trail users. I’ve also found this active crowd sourced road conditions report by and for Minneapolis St Paul cyclists.