NolaCycle Bike Map Project

New Orleans, and its residents, are working to make the city a better place post-Katrina. One of those efforts is the creation of a “high-quality cycling map of New Orleans” that has engaged the community in a way that is truly special.

Lauren Sullivan, a soon to be School of Planning graduate, has been working closely members of the community, fellow bicyclists and Planners from the New Orleans area and started the whole project. Much work has already been completed and before the end of this year free maps will be available in print and online to help cyclists navigate New Orleans.

The final maps will include information about pavement quality, car travel speeds, lane widths, and other special caution areas for cyclists. This comprehensive data collection process was made possible through the help of volunteers that primarily participated in mapping events that made the whole process more of a social gathering. Volunteers also participated in the innovative NolaCycle DIY mapping (think wiki-style involvement in the real world) – see video below for more details.

The grassroots project has already garnered national attention and is currently in the process of applying for grants to help fund the remaining work. At this stage the group could use your help in receiving a $500 micro-credit loan through New Orleans’ Crescent City Farmers Market. The Farmers Market has opened the process up to voting, and you can help the NolaCycle cause by voting for the project.

The process is fascinating as it employs an innovative way to gather and engage community support. In the end, the community will have complete ownership, of the project, and will have also poured in tons of hours to help make it reality. This engagement organizes a group of people to create a new community asset for no cost at all to the taxpayers of New Orleans. For more on the project check out this brief video from The Times-Picayune.

UPDATE: NolaCycle was one of three winners of the $500 micro-credit loan

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.