Figueroa is one of those big, wide Los Angeles streets that resembles a freeway stuffed into the midst of a city. Los Angeles Councilwoman Jan Perry and the city’s Department of Transportation have been pushing efforts to transform Figueroa into something better — and I think it’s already improved somewhat.
America’s first bicycle boulevard along Bryant Avenue in Palo Alto features a number of intersections that restrict motor vehicles but allow bicycles and pedestrians to pass through unhindered.
Major intersections, such as the one with Embarcadero, look like this, where cars and trucks must turn right, but bikes can continue through.
Here’s the Google Streetview at this intersection.
If you ask for Google bike directions, though, Google doesn’t seem to know how to deal with these bicycle-only exceptions. The simplest case is travel across a single block that crosses Embarcadero. Google tells me, as a cyclist, to detour away from the bike boulevard, up to Waverly and back south again to Bryant. I’ve highlighted the bike boulevard in yellow.
I and several other people reported this problem to the Google Maps team. I just received a response from Google.
Thank you for reporting this problem. Unfortunately, for various reasons, the problem you reported isn’t easy for us to fix at this time.
We did want to let you know that we’ve escalated your report to the appropriate engineering team. Even though we don’t have an immediate fix to your problem, please be assured that we’re working hard for a resolution.
Given that similar road treatments are becoming more common, I hope Google does engineer a way to recognize bicycle exceptions like this.
The city of San Clemente, California in Orange County considers several bicycle facility projects. Among this is a proposal to paint the outside lanes of El Camino Real green to emphasize their use as shared space for cars and bicycles.
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