The Seattle Times had the great scoop on this (also covered by the New York Times and others), which I excitedly read before the breakfast plenary session, but it didn’t cut the buzz. Over 51,000 people (including me, quite some time ago), signed a petition to get Google to take this on as a way to help cyclists—new and veteran—get around our cities better by bike. The algorithm has elevation profiles and oodles of bicycle infrastructure data (like trails) from over 150 cities to help make good route and time recommendations. What an awesome commute tool.
Teeing up Google’s announcement with some pre-lobbying wisdom, inspiration and advice were Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Delaware Governor Jack Markell. Blumenauer, on how to only take yes for an answer when talking with senators and representatives: “What you don’t want is explanations for why [D.C.] doesn’t work, you want [your elected officials] to work with you.”
Markell, after his top 10 list of why cyclists should ride in Delaware (“it’s flat” was one), spoke about the need to connect with the business community: “You’ve got to work with employers… and get them to talk with each other.”
With this in mind, we’ve been carrying messages to the Washington congressional delegation—and will continue to do so tomorrow as well. Until then, I’m going to keep playing with my favorite bike routes on google maps….