NolaCycle is a project aimed to create a high quality cycling map of New Orleans. Cycling maps include information beyond just streets and their names that benefits cyclists. In our map, we highlight the pavement quality, car travel speed, lane width, and special caution areas (busy intersections, man-eating potholes, or high accident areas). Volunteers help to collect this data by attending mapping events.
The information is then digitized to make a map of the data we collected to help cyclists - young, old, local, and tourist alike - navigate New Orleans.

Check out the blog for updates on the project, ways to get involved, and volunteer mapping events!

If you have questions, feel free to make a public comment on the blog entry or e-mail us directly at

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wisner bike path opens! More on the way!

Photo: Chris Granger

From the Times-Picayune (Dan is once again interviewed - he's such a rock star. I think all the female journalists at T-P have a crush on him. Only thing that explains how often he gets quoted.)

"The long-awaited Wisner bike path officially opens today, one of three projects completed this year that double the miles of cycling trails in New Orleans.

And there's more to come.

The 4.7-mile hybrid path -- which stretches from Lafitte Street at North Jefferson Davis Parkway, along the Bayou St. John side of City Park, to Beauregard Avenue and Lakeshore Drive -- will be followed by three other bike projects.

By November of next year, bike lanes, such as those on St. Claude Avenue, will probably likely be completed on Harrison Avenue, from Marconi Drive to Wisner Boulevard; on Robert E. Lee Boulevard, from St. Bernard Avenue to Paris Avenue; and on Louisiana Avenue, from St. Charles Avenue to Magazine Street, said Robert Mendoza, the city's director of public works.

The growth of bike lanes, shared lanes and bike paths in New Orleans increases the odds that the city will be able to obtain more federal money to create infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, said Dan Jatres, program manager for the Regional Planning Commission's Greater New Orleans Pedestrian and Bicycle Program.

"Wisner -- a north-south path -- is another down payment on the future for an interconnected system," said Jatres, who said that the University of New Orleans, the Regional Planning Commission and the Department of Public Works are collaborating to obtain money via a federal transportation bill.

The federal government provided 95 percent of the financing for the $1.4 million Wisner project, and a Wisner foundation grant provided the remaining 5 percent.

The hybrid path includes a mix of 10-foot-wide concrete paths and existing roads marked with bicycle symbols and bike-route signs. A 1.7-mile concrete path has been placed between Wisner Boulevard and the bayou from Milton Street to Robert E. Lee Boulevard. And a two-block concrete section has been built between Esplanade Avenue and West Moss Street.

The streets with signs and symbols that inform motorists they are sharing a lane with cyclists include Moss, Lelong Drive, Golf Drive, Zachary Taylor Drive, Beauregard and Lakeshore Drive. Some of those streets wind through City Park.

And for much of the ride, cyclists will be able to travel from Lake Pontchartrain to City Park without having to deal with regular traffic," said Bao Vu, a project manager for the city's Department of Public Works.

The Wisner project, as Mayor Ray Nagin sees it, "will greatly enhance the quality of life for our youth and families."

With the exception of a limited stretch alongside the south end of Bayou St. John, the Wisner path connects the Xavier community with the lakefront, with the South Jefferson Davis Parkway path covering part of the route. The new project enhances recreational opportunities, creating a safe place for walkers, bikers and runners, Nagin said.

With the addition of Wisner, the city now has 19.8 miles of cycling infrastructure, including 2.6 miles of bike lanes, 10.3 miles of bike paths separated from city streets and 6.9 miles of shared lanes, said Jatres, who will gather with others today at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Harrison Avenue and Wisner Boulevard in City Park to celebrate the opening of the Wisner trail." By Leslie Williams.

NORTA should take a hint from Louisville and air some commercials like this!

NORTA needs to dump those stupid bike passes and have Lil Wayne preform an even better rap of how to use them.

Who knew anything good would ever come out of Louisville?  

(Just kidding, I have lots of friends who grew up there. It's a nice town. I love Kentucky. I also love this video!)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Longer distance crosstown routes - your NolaCycle "take home project"

Many of you know that the first NolaCycle map is just going to the East Bank south of I-610 due to time restrictions with graduation in June and having to have something final to turn in.  We're planning on continuing NolaCycle after June so we can map the whole city, West Bank, New Orleans East, and all.  To make up for the lack of comprehensive coverage of these areas on NolaCycle Version 1, I would like to include some recommended crosstown routes on a smaller supplemental map on the backside of the main map (or page 2 if you were to download the map online).  

I think the best way to do crosstown routes is for community members to submit some of their preferred routes they take to get to school, work, parks, etc.  Since the route map is going to smaller, I would like to only include a handful of really helpful routes for people to use.  I'd like to input from people on this idea though - how to rate the routes (easy, difficult, fast, slow, high or low traffic, etc.), where should the routes go, how should people submit routes to me, etc.  So this is the fun part where you get to tell me what to do!  Comment away my crosstown commuting friends!

Friday, October 24, 2008

New website URL! New e-mail addresses!

Thanks to my wonderful roommate, Brook, NolaCycle has now secured and!  So when you type in, it'll direct you to this blog!  We'll set it up to do the same with the .org address too.  Eventually, we're going to a have much more user friendly and professional site, once again thanks to Brook, but that probably won't be for a couple more weeks/months (we're both really busy people).  I'll also probably have to babysit her dog a few more times to pay for it too.

With our snazzy new url comes snazzy new e-mail addresses for the NolaCycle team!  
Lauren =
Tom =
Dan =
So simple and easy, you'll never have to try to remember our personal e-mail addresses ever again!  But, incase you forget our fancy new e-mail addresses, I'll still check every once in a while.

Feeling left out?  Really want a fancy e-mail address?  Well if you help run events, promote, or just volunteer a ton, you can have one too!  I can register up to 200 e-mail addresses with that address!

Also, also...
The NolaCycle project proposal paper will up online in PDF format soon so you can read it!  Okay, I know most of you probably don't care to read the paper because you know what's going on, but I know some people in other cities have been interested in doing a similar project in their town.  The paper will outline the methodology of how NolaCycle works from start to how we hope it'll finish.  It won't be really good because it's just the first stage of the senior problem project that I'm being forced to do, but come June, there will be really nice, professional paper about the NolaCycle project that will be available.  

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hey, did you know we have a facebook group?

I've been getting a lot of request to be added to the mailing list, so I figured I should repost the fact that NolaCycle has a facebook group - NolaCycle Community Bike Mapping Project.  It's another way you can stay up-to-date with what's going on.  We create a facebook event for every mapping meet-up, so if you need some help remembering when events are, joining the group is a great way to stay on track. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tulane's Bike Shop is getting a permanent home!

Good news, Tulane kids - the Bike Shop is getting its own home!  
Phil Schapker, saving Tulane students money and time - one bike at a time.

"The bike shed, which will be located in the 6300 block of Willow Street, will be constructed by group members following a plan designed by an architecture student. According to Phil Schapker, the shed will give the shop a permanent location and allow for storage of repair tools and materials."

The bike shed will be open next semester.  In the mean time, if you're on or near campus and need some help, the shop will operate at its new temporary location and with expanded hours — outside of Le Gourmet on McAlister Drive on Sundays, 1–4 p.m., and Thursdays, 2–5:30 p.m. — through the end of this semester.

A new Times-Picayune article about NolaCycle!

I need to stop doing news interviews and start doing homework.

Anyway, check out Molly Reid's article in the Living section of today's Times-Picayune, or read it online. The photos are by Susan Poag.

The first NolaCycle mapping day at Washington Square.

Patrick and I mapping out the Bywater.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bike buddy meetings EVERY Wednesday

The Iron Rail Book Collective is hosting another meeting about the bike buddy program on Wednesday the 22nd at 7pm. The meeting will be held to organize a bike-escort service for folks who don't want to ride home alone late at night.

The Iron Rail is located in the same warehouse as Plan B bike co-op at 511 Marigny St. in the Marigny.

There will be a meeting every Wednesday at 7pm from now on to work on this project.

I'm not involved in organizing the Bike Buddy program since I'm out of town, so e-mail or call the Iron Rail if you have questions.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bike and Build is looking for volunteers to help build homes while biking across the country

Kristian Sekse from Bike & Build sent me an e-mail the other day about her program where groups of college students raise money and then bike across the country to build homes with Habitat for Humanity. It could be a really fun experience for anyone looking to do something adventurous this summer. I on the other hand have to work, but if you don't, here's a great option to keep you busy while having a great time and going great work.

Kristian is also hiring leaders who are "paid a small performance-based stipend of $1750, and while their responsibility on the road is to keep everyone safe and happy, they enjoy vast amounts of free time to explore new towns, check out local attractions, and indulge in copious amounts of ice cream."

Sunday, October 12, 2008


hey all. here's what we got this week:
apparently we were a bit lazy. or just a little sleepy because of the awesome job we did in the past two weeks.

so here's what it looks like all together! it looks even better from far away and if you squint your eyes. go ahead and try it: doesn't it look like we've done a lot of work?

now, we don't have any more dates planned so far... but we are meeting this week to conspire about what to do next. if you have any suggestions or strategies, please share them! i don't think we'll be mapping this coming weekend, the next weekend (voodoo fest), and maybe even the next weekend (halloween hangovers). but we'll be back soon!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bike Buddy Planning meeting this weekend

In response to the recent death of San Francisco activist Kirsten
Brydum, New Orleans area cyclists have proposed the idea of
implementing a "bike buddy" program. Cyclists in need of a fellow
cyclist to accompany them to their destination would call a dispatch
hotline, and in turn, the hotline operator would dispatch the "bike
buddy" on duty for the night. We can also use the help of people with
cars, as well as those who can help patch tires.

If you are interested in helping to plan this program, whether as a
bike buddy or dispatcher, please attend our first meeting this Sunday,
October 12th at 1:00 pm, at the Iron Rail, 511 Marigny, New Orleans

Monday, October 6, 2008

Zombie bike race October 31st!!!!

Nola Bike Race is holding it's annual Halloween alley cat race on Halloween this year.  If you'd like to volunteer/dress up like a zombie and man the check points and whatever else Paul needs you to do, you should e-mail him.  Seriously, really, you should volunteer if you're not going to race.  And if you're not going to volunteer, you should race.  

And if you're out of town, you can sit around and be upset that nothing this fun ever happens where you are right now.  

Sunday, October 5, 2008

this weekend's haul

this weekend we got this much done:

which brings our grand total thus far to something like this:

the grid is closing in!

thank you to all of those who come out, and those who don't but still theoretically support us.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Activist Kirsten Brydum was murdered while biking back to her friend's house

Anyway, I recently learned about the murder of San Francisco activist Kristen Brydum.  I get pretty shaken up every time I hear about a young, innocent woman my own age being murdered in New Orleans.  Usually I wouldn't try to talk about murders that happen in our city on here, but there is a detail of this story which I think is really important that cyclists in New Orleans know about.

Kristen was murdered while biking back by herself from a bar.  This is something all of us have probably done at one time or another.  Another important fact - she was a visitor who had just gotten into town.  This was her first trip to New Orleans.

This is what I'm trying to say - being on a bike can make you fell safe, untouchable, but you're not any safer than walking if someone has a gun.  

You're not safe if your traveling alone, say at 5 am, coming back from the bar. You're drunk, you might get lost, and you're not going to as aware as you usually are.  If you have to, leave your bike locked up the Quarter and take a cab right to your front door.  It's better that your bike get stolen then someone to hurt or kill you.  This is especially true if you have to bike home through neighborhoods that are dangerous.  I don't want to say that it's safe to do so through Uptown or whatever, you need to use your own judgement.  This is just my advice.  I've biked damn near everything in this city during the day without trouble, but it's always good to be with someone else.  You're always safer than way.  

Take care of your visitors!  I really have to thank my friends I stayed with my first overnight trip to New Orleans.  They drilled it in me not to walk alone anywhere anytime (this is a good rule for people who don't know where they're going and might get lost) and told me what roads to take to get everywhere I needed to go.  Their advice - stay on main streets like Royal, Canal, and Magazine - well-light and well-traveled - these are pretty safe roads to send your out-of-town friends on.  They didn't encourage me to explore the 9th Ward without them.  But the didn't scare me senseless - they just told it to me like it is.  You need to do this when your friends (or friends of friends, or couchsurfers, or whoever) are in town.  If your friends are traveling on bike, encourage them to bike in pairs or groups and avoid dangerous neighborhoods, especially at night or in the early morning.  I've been up by where Kristen was murdered on my bike before, but with 2 people from the neighborhood in the afternoon.  If your friends what to bike out to 9th Ward or whatever to see the Katrina damage, take them in the afternoon or around dinner time when people are out on their porches and cars are on the roads.  Don't let them go on their own.  Many people who live in the Upper and Lower 9th are great, friendly people and it can be a pretty enjoyable ride, but at night those good people are asleep or working 3rd shift and its people who are taking advantage of the neighborhood's dark streets and empty homes that are out.  

Give your visitors a map and mark out easy and safe routes from your house to popular destination if they're going to be going around town on their own.   While I don't know the details of the case, I'm going to bet Kristen got lost and ended up in the wrong place and the wrong time, alone, without any protection, and no one around to help her.  There is almost no one living in that area right now - it's a ghost town.  Probably not somewhere she meant to end up.

People - be safe.  Take care of one another.  Inform visitors of dangers and don't let them travel alone - on foot or on bike.

If you want to learn more about Kristen and her really amazing ideas and actions, check out her friends' memorial site.    She was a core organizer of SF's Really Really Free Market, which people come with stuff to give away and you take whatever you need - there is no money and no trading.  Just giving and taking.  Personally, I think it'd be a really wonderful idea if people in Nola could do a Really Really Free Market in her honor.   She was really into bike co-ops, radical health collectives, book collectives and Food Not Bombs.  It's so terrible that such an active, inspiring young person like Kristen was murdered.  Everyone has such great potential, so please, please, look out for one another and try to keep visitors safe.