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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Neighborhood Game Plan - PLEASE COMMENT!

So we also decided for sake of my senior thesis, that we're going to focus on neighborhoods south of I-610. After spring and I'm all done with school, we'll work on finishing the rest of the city. Honestly, I'm not terribly crazy about this idea - I really want to do all of the main city (New Orleans East and the West Bank past Algiers might have to wait awhile). But if fall and winter go really well, I think we can still get all of the Lake-side neighborhoods done too.

Anyway, here's a game plan I just thought of for the rest of the summer:
August 9, 10 - Mid-City and Garden District (rain and high temperatures didn't make for a good turn out on those days)
August 16, 17 - 7th Ward, Lower 9th/Holy Cross
August 23, 24 - Upper 9th/8th Ward, Algiers Point
August 30, 31 - Tulane Area, Audubon Area/Riverside
September 6, 7 - OFF (little bro is coming into town)
September 13 or 14 - City Park end of summer BBQ and Lakeview/Gentilly mapping

These are not confirmed yet, but just an idea. There will be more dates through the fall, but those won't be decided for awhile.
Let me know what you think! Also, if you live in any of these neighborhoods and what to help promote and organize, I'm willing to switch up days to work better for you.

Some idea that came out of the NoleCycle meeting

So in proper New Orleans style, we did a lot more eating, drinking, and goofing around than planning, but there were some good ideas that came out between jokes about Cleveland, crazy neighbor stories, and complaining about some of our top-quality Louisiana politicians. Here's a small sampling:

-We're going to team up with Humid Beings (a new project from Dirty Coast), which seeks to help organization in New Orleans network and will help you stay on top of everything going on in the city. Check out the blog they have set up right now and check back in late August when Michael and Blake get this baby rollin'!
-Tom Macom is going to be running some mapping events during the fall while I'm in Ohio. We're going to put doing any more events in the Uptown area on hold until Loyola and Tulane come back into session. Tom, who's a student at Loyola, will be heading some of these up. If you're a student and would like to get involved with organizing, promoting, or just showing up, we would love it if you e-mailed me so I can get you on the mailing list.
-We're going to do a BIG end of the summer event at City Park! It'll sometime in early September and we'll meet up there, map some of Lakeview, Gentilly, and Mid-City, come back to the park and do a BIG BBQ. More details will come out in a week or so.
-Feel free to volunteer your house as a meet up spot. My roommate's friend may be hosting us when we map the 7th Ward. Feel free to make the same offer. Having access to water, bathrooms, and a/c is always nice.
-If you and your friends want to get together to do your neighborhood and not do a big public promoted thing, I'm down. Let me know and we'll organize it.
-Eira wants us to find Eagle Scouts to do mapping with us ("they're good kids that get things done!") So, you if you know any biking Eagle Scouts, send them my e-mail address.
-On that same note, we'd like to combine our events with other organizations events. If you're group or club would like to team up, that would be awesome.
-Maybe we can organize an Alley Cat race to test the map. Kids will get a rough draft of the map when they get their packets and can try to use it to figure out their routes. Then people can give us some feedback on whether it was helpful and then we can get our after-party on at some local bar. Always a good way to end an event.
-To help pay for printing, local businesses can pay to have their location included on the map. We could approach businesses we like (locally-owned, awesome people, great food - places you should really be going, not just who has money to pay)
-Planning meetings a lot of fun when you have food, friends, and wine. Mint Juleps tastes like cough medicine, so Tom can roll with those, I'll roll with my wine. We'll do another planning meeting or two before I have to go to Ohio for the fall. No worries though, I'll be back in December!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Planning meeting Wednesday at 7pm

If you're interested in getting more involved in the NolaCycle project beyond just attending mapping events, you are invited to a planning meeting on Wednesday at 7pm. I have some snacks and probably some beer too (if you bring some food too, we could turn it into a potluck!). If you'd like to attend, please e-mail at for directions.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Crtical Mass this Friday Night....and mapping events for this weekend

Critical Mass is a national event that happens the final Friday of every month across the world. Here in New Orleans we meet up at Jackson Square by the gates in front of St. Louis Cathedral around 6pm. Typically we hang out for a while and get the ride started between 6:45 and 7:00pm. It's always a good time and there is usually some after event of some sort. Everyone who loves to bike is welcome!

Also, don't forget about mapping events for Mid-City and the Audubon Park area of Uptown this weekend.
Saturday July 26th, 3pm - Banks of Bayou St. John (by Orleans Ave and Jeff Davis Hwy)
Sunday July 27th, 3pm - Audubon Park by the playground (near St. Charles)

Hope to see a lot of people out on their bikes this weekend!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

RAIN PLAN - If it's rains, we'll meet at 6pm instead of 3pm's suppose to rain all afternoon!  Well, if it continues, we'll meet up at 6pm instead of 3pm.  I'll try to e-mail people and post it on facebook too.

BRAND NEW MAPPING DAYS (And a later time!)

In August events are going to go from 6pm to 8pm!  I have two August events planned so far, one for Downtown/Medical District and for the Carrollton area.  But all that means all the neighborhoods that you could call "easy" will be finished (neighborhoods I'm familiar with/know where to promote, lots of cyclists, etc).   I'll need a lot more help promoting in Lakeview, Gentilly, Algiers, the Lower 9th/Holy Cross, Upper 9th & 8th Ward, New Orleans East, etc.  If you live in one of these neighborhoods and would like to help organize the event, shoot me an e-mail so we can choose a date and time that will work for everyone.  

Anyway, here's all the up-coming events:
Sat. July 19th (TODAY) 3-5pm @ Coliseum Square (LGD, St. Thomas, Irish Channel)
Sun. July 20th 3-5pm @ Laurence Square (Uptown/Riverside)
Sat. July 26th 3-5pm @ banks of Bayou St. John under some tree by the intersection of Orleans & Jeff Davis (Mid-City)  
Sun. July 27th 3-5pm @ Audubon Park by the playground off St. Charles (Uptown/University Area)
Sat. August 2nd 6-8pm @ Lafayette Square (Downtown/Medical District)
Sun. August 3rd 6-8pm @ the Levee Trail near Carrollton and River Road (Carrollton & University Area)

If we don't finish Midcity or Uptown by then, I'll post DIY maps and possibly organize another event for those neighborhoods.  I'm sensing a good turn-out for Mid-City though, so I'm not too worried about it.

Hope to see all of you soon!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

DIY Maps are up!

I've set up a website to download maps to do yourself! It's still a work in progress, but the ones posted do need to be done. Feel free to make comments for improvements.

NolaCycle Video!

Our video was posted on today! If you were there Saturday, you're probably in the video. Find your smiling face and send it to your mama!

Here is the link for article too!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Busy during the mapping events? No worries - there are other ways to get involved

I know a lot of people in New Orleans work on weekends, so not everyone interested will be able to make those events. But there are plenty of other ways you can help!

Pretty soon I'm going to organize some evening mapping events - not quite sure when yet, but soon. I'll post the dates and times as soon as I hammer it out.

Do you know your neighborhood by heart? I've met a few people who've lived here for decades that do. If so, I can e-mail or drop of maps and a key for you to fill out. I met this guy Louis who was able to map Treme from memory. If you're like Louis, you help is needed!

Also, I can e-mail you sections to do in your free time. This would be SUPER helpful if you live in a neighborhood where there aren't many bikers and it would be hard to organize events with enough people to knock out the entire neighborhood (Westbank, New Orleans East, Lakeview, etc.).

I always need help handing out flyers and I'm still in need of a poster. If you'd like to help design a poster or wouldn't mind attaching flyers to bikes or dropping them off at businesses, that would be incredibly helpful. I can e-mail you a sheet to print yourself or give you already printed sheets and rubber bands.

Also, if you'd like to help organize the project and become more deeply involved, I will be doing a planning meeting not this coming weekend, but sometime next weekend. I was planning on doing a planning meeting/pool party...but my pool need some work so I probably won't have anyone over until then.

Monday, July 14, 2008

NolaCycle article in the Times-Picayune will be published on Thursday as the front page of the community section

If you helped out on Saturday, pick up a times Times-Picayune on Thursday - we should have a number of photos and a feature story in there.  There will also be a short video posted on that day too.  

Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is creating a statewide bike and pedestrian plan

LA DOTD is holding a number of public of meetings for their bike and ped plan.  I don't know much about the new plan, but I am planning on attending the New Orleans meeting.  I'd encourage everyone who's interested in better infrastructure for bikes and pedestrians to make it out to City Park on Tuesday July 22nd from 6 to 7:30pm.  If possible, show up on your bike too, just to drive home the fact that bikes are a major form of transportation in New Orleans.

The following is from their site:

Public Meeting for Louisiana Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan
Contact: Public Information Office, (225) 379-1232, FAX: (225) 379-1863
Monday, July 07, 2008
July 7, 2008

Contact: Brian Parsons

What: Three public meetings for the Louisiana Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan
(This is not a legal notice)

Meeting 1

When: Tuesday, July 22, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Casino Building at City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana

Meeting 2

When: Wednesday, July 23, 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Broadmoor Branch Library, 1212 Captain Shreve Drive, Shreveport, Louisiana

Meeting 3

When: Thursday, July 24, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Bluebonnet Branch Library, 9200 Bluebonnet Boulevard, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Who: All interested citizens are invited and encouraged to attend.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is conducting a series of public meetings for the Louisiana Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The purpose of the public meetings is to provide information to the public about this policy plan and to solicit feedback from the public and interested parties.

Issues to be addressed at the meetings include background information about bicycle and pedestrian planning within the transportation system, including how to address the needs of all users of the transportation system.

Representatives of DOTD and the consultant team Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc. and Toole Design Group will be at the meetings to answer questions and receive comments.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

THERE IS A TYPO ON MOST RECENT FLYERS!!! in my rush yesterday I made a pretty bad typo on the flyers.  DO NOT HAND THEM OUT!!!!  I put this weekend's dates for next weekend's mapping days.    If you need some, e-mail me and I'll send you a PDF you can print and make copies from.

Thanks for coming out yesterday! Also, some updates on the project

Thanks everyone who came out Saturday.  Hopefully we'll all be in the paper soon so we have something to send to Mom and Dad to make them proud (at least that's my plan).   I'd also like to thank Susan from the Times-Picayune for highlighting biking events in the city.  I tried to drop the names of every other bike event and group in the city, so hopefully everyone will get some press from this. 

So some things we learned:
-Off-brand plastic bags break in 30 minutes of carrying markers.  I'll go get some Zip-lock bags today
-Mapping really only takes an hour to an hour and a half tops.  
-Working with a partner goes pretty fast.  Patrick and I worked out a pretty awesome method.  Ride down the middle street on your map, then each person bikes up a down a section of cross street then decides the quality.  We did that and finished in about 45 minutes.  
-Always invite Food Not Bombs to cater your cycling events.
-Hats and sunscreen are nice.  Bottles of water are a must.  For August, we'll start mapping around 5 or 6 instead of 3 because it's cooler...but I already printed out like 180 flyers saying we're starting at 3 for the next two weeks, so I guess we're starting at 3 for the next two weeks.

Today, come on out to Jackson Sqaure to help map the French Quarter, downtown, and Treme.  We'll probably leave around 3:30, so if you weren't here yesterday and you need the mapping method explained to you, please slow up at 3. 

Saturday, July 12, 2008


A reporter for the Tim-Picayune heard about the project and she's coming to do video, photo stills, and write an article!  

Free press is so awesome.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

N.O. Sprints (indoor roller racing) tonight at Whirling Dervish

NolaBike race is hosting a gold sprints race tonight at the whirling dervish.  I haven't been to one before, but I'm going tonight.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Would you like to donate materials?

NolaCycle needs clipboards, markers, and pens. Would you like to donate some? I'll trade you for a bag of Zapp's chips! Or maybe if you're lucky I'll make you cookies.

Mapping Dates and Neighborhoods

Don't forget this weekend to come out to either Washington Park on Saturday at 3 or Jackson Square on Sunday at 3 to help collect data and learn more about the project/get involved.

Next weekend I'm planning on mapping my neck of the woods - Irish Channel/Lower Garden District. Walking around this weekend, I noticed every store on Magazine has a place for flyers or posters for community events. Flyering all up and down Magazine will be a great way to get more people involved!

Saturday 19th - 3pm at Coliseum Square by the Fountain, we'll be mapping the Lower Garden District, Irish Channel, and St. Thomas between the highway and Louisiana Street from the river up to St. Charles Ave.
Sunday 20th - 3pm at Lawrence Square (Napoleon and Magazine) by the basketball court. We'll be mapping Uptown/Riverside between Louisiana and Nashville from the River up to St. Charles.

Now...the following weekend I'd like to do Midcity or the 8th and Upper 9th Ward with the kids from Rubarb. I'll need help organizing the Midcity meet-ups though because that's a part of town I don't know as well and I'm not sure where to flyer. What's your thoughts? Where should we go next?

Monday, July 7, 2008

NolaCycle is now on Facebook

NolaCycle now also has a Facebook group.  If you're on the Facebook, you can join the "NolaCycle Community Bike Mapping Project" group. 

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I had a great time Saturday hanging out with the Rubarb kids!

Incase you haven't heard about Rubarb, it's a great organization that is running a community bike shop in the Upper 9th Ward.  They mainly focus on helping kids through earn-a-bike programs, but they can also help us big kids too.  The cool thing about the group is that they do more than just bike activities with the kids.  This weekend I helped Liz and Carl bring a group of 13 kids up to the beach at Lake Pontchartrain.  I'm pretty sunburnt and a little sore from getting beat up playing chicken in the water, but I had an awesome time.  

If you're looking for a great way to help the community and promote cycling with kids, head on up to Rubarb!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

So why make a bike map?

So I was flyering on Decatur today and this girl who was...well...really high on something asked me "why make a bike map?"  So I started to tell her how regular maps don't tell you about road conditions or travel speed that are good to know as a cyclist.  "But I know my way around the city, so who is the map for? tourists?"  I tried to explain how it would be helpful for kids, older people, people new to the city, etc.  But moral of the story - Miss Heroin made me realize I need to hammer out exactly how a bike map is going to help New Orleans.  

So, why map?  Well, in general, maps are a visual tool that help a person to gain a better understanding of an area.  When you look at a map, you can view your whole neighborhood, city, state, country, or ever the whole world.  If you're a really visual person anyway, you mike have a map of your city already ingrained in your head (my mental map of new orleans is still a little fuzzy though).  If you're like my brother, you have a GPS to tell you how to get your favorite restaurants because you probably couldn't find your way out of a paper bag.  Having a map of your city is really helpful if you're like my brother and have a hard time finding your way around.  Maps are also helpful if you send most of your time in one part of the city, but sometimes you have to travel to the other side but don't know it as well.  So, reason number one: Maps are helpful tools for finding your way around a city.

New Orleans already has a road map, but it's for cars, not cyclist.  A road map tells you the name of the road, the direction, and where the road leads.  It does not tell you travel speed, width of the lanes, or the pavement quality.  These three sets of information are very important for cyclists.  In other cities with hills, elevation would be important too.  When you're driving, you experience roads quite differently than when biking.  You might not notice how much room there is to pass if a cyclists is riding in front of you.  The road might not also seem as bumpy as if you were on a bike either.  So you might know how to get from the Bywater to Midcity in a car, but do you really know the best way to get there on a bike?  So, reason number two: Bike maps provide further information about streets for cyclists. 

You may have noticed there are a few bike route maps out there for New Orleans.  So why aren't those enough?  For one, would you recommend that all cyclists travel on St. Charles to get from downtown to Uptown?  Well, if can bike fast, then yeah, it's great.  What if you're 70 years old and you don't have quite the get up an go that you used to?  Would it be better to take a slower speed, less traveled neighborhood road?  What if you're 10 years old - you know how ten year olds like to ride, popping wheelies and being silly.  Do you think a 10 year old should be riding like a goofball all the way up Canal?  Granted, the kid needs to learn how to bike on the road eventually, but there are saver ways for him to travel from downtown to City Park than taking Canal.  St. Charles and Canal are both called out to be bike routes, but they aren't the best routes for everyone.  Plus, I use to bike St. Charles everyday and it'd be nice to mix it up sometimes.  I don't have time during my morning commute to test out every east-west road between Uptown and Downtown - but I would have time to look at a bike map to find a route.  Reason number three:  Bike maps give people choices to figure out their own bike routes that are best of them and and their style of riding.

Having a printed bike map also provides a medium for promoting safe cycling.  Maybe published bike maps also include safe biking tips (check out the Vancouver/Portland and NYC DOT maps for some really good examples) such as where to have lights and reflectors.  Also they can include diagrams of where on the road you should be biking (a lot of people in New Orleans bike against traffic instead of with it - sometimes because they like to see the cars coming, other times because they don't know bikes are considered vehicles and should ride with traffic).  The also commonly include state and local bike laws and "know your rights" sections as well incase you ever get hit or run into trouble with police (you may not belief it if you're from New Orleans, but in other cities cops love to give cyclists a hard time, and will give you a ticket for almost anything).  The final map I produce will include all of these things - safe biking tips, diagrams, laws, and rights.  Reason number four: Bike maps also provide cyclists with additional information about cycling in their city and promote safe cycling habits. 

The last reason I'm going to type out tonight is that maps are also important policy tools. I make and present maps to help push policy changes.  With a map you can show many things - where there are no sidewalks, where there is poor drainage, where protected natural habitats are.  Maps are a vital visual tool for policy making.  What the NolaCycle Bike Map will do is promote cycling in the city and show the city and state where dangerous areas are for cyclists, where the best roads are currently, and where roads need to be improved.  People could use this map to help campaign for the resurfacing of roads.  They can also use to point out where bike infrastructure  (bike lanes, shared-use paths, bike racks) should go.  Maps are also be used to help promote cycling to groups that may be turned off by it or may think all the roads in New Orleans are too narrow or too bumpy.  It can also be used to promote cycling for kids. Reason number five:  A bike map will serve as an important policy tool to promote cycling and encourage the expansion of cycling infrastructure in the city. 

So who will benefit from a bike map of New Orleans?
-Anyone who doesn't have bike routes memorized in their head for the entire city (I think that's probably a lot of us...)
-Anyone who bikes crosstown and gets bored of going the same way every time
-The elderly
-People with slow bikes who don't enjoy battling traffic while dodging potholes
-People with fast bikes who don't enjoy battling traffic while dodging potholes
-Anyone who just moved here
-People who have moved to a new neighborhood of the city they don't know as well
-Local university freshman
-People who are visiting or volunteering
-Alley Cat bike racers (this map will be the Alley Cat cheat sheet when it's finished!)

There is also an Alley Cat Race starting in Washington Park on the 12th

Heads up, kids - I just learned there will be an Alley Cat Race on the 12th also.  It will be meeting up at Washington Park at 5:30 (get there early to register, but if you help map, we'll be done right around then).  The race is at 6:00.  It's a fundraiser for Food Under Claiborne New Orleans (Under Claiborne - as in Tent City).   Not sure who's organizing this one, but you can pick up flyers at the Iron Rail or Bicycle Michael's.