About 3 years ago I wrote a piece for AltDaily where I presented a Google map created by local bicycle enthusiasts. It’s purpose was to provide a place for cyclists to inscribe their favorite routes through the city in order to inform others of how we were getting around. After a few months, thanks to a number of contributors, we had the beginnings of an interesting route map.
An early Bike Friendly Norfolk map by Wes Cheney
Since that time much has happened in Norfolk. The city formed the Bicycle and Pedestrian Trials Commission, for one thing, and a number of those original map contributors (including myself) were appointed as commissioners. The commission has been advising the city on bicycle-related matters for the past two years. Bike racks have recently popped up all along Granby Street downtown. Sharerow markings have appeared on many streets in Norfolk.
But, I’ll admit, real progress has been slow.
That rate of progress may soon accelerate, like a bicycle going downhill, and here’s why: the city has contracted with Toole Design Group to develop a bicycle master plan for the city. Toole Design bills itself as “the nation’s leading planning, engineering and landscape architecture firm specializing in bicycle and pedestrian transportation.” They bring credibility and experience to the project and I’m very hopeful that the end result of their effort will be a plan that the city will use to guide funds into making real infrastructure improvements to made biking safer, easier, and more welcoming than it has ever been here before.
So here’s your opportunity. First, please lend your voice and be heard. Beginning next week, a series of Bike Friendly City meetings will be held at community centers in Norfolk.
Wednesday, October 15th 4:30-6:30p.m.
Park Place Community Center, 606 W. 29th Street
Thursday, October 16th 4:30-6:30p.m.
Tarrallton Community Center, 2100 Tarrallton Drive
Wednesday, October 22nd 4:30-6:30p.m.
Southside Aquatic Center, 1750 Campostella Road
Second, the map is back! But this time it’s even better, and it’s totally official. This wikimap is the place to mark the routes you use, and to indicate the place where you find obstacles that need to be cleared for bicycling. The city and Toole Design will use the community feedback provided via the map to advise them when deciding how to map out the future bicycle highways of Norfolk
The Interactive map is here.
For more information about Norfolk’s biking initiatives, check out the City of Norfolk We Roll Together information page here.