Creating Walking and Bicycling Route Maps
Mapping roads and amenities surrounding a school can be a great tool for selecting a good walk or bike route and also may be useful in identifying and prioritizing needed pedestrian and bicycling improvements. These maps may be low-tech or high-tech. Sometimes the best maps have simple hand drawn symbols over a commonly used and commercially available map. Maps can also be computer generated which allows for creating more tailored maps that can be easily updated.
Here is how Beaverton SD mapped their routes.
Whatever technology used, route maps should include the following:
- School location (you may also want to consider an inset that shows entrances to school, bike racks, etc)
- Surrounding streets and location of sidewalks and pathways
- Street names
- Traffic control devices (such as traffic signals, stop signs)
- Crosswalk locations
- Crossing guard locations and times
- Posted speed limits
- Designated walking or bicycling routes (if they exist).
Whenever possible, the maps should also show:
- The schools designated student walk zone
- Streets with high volumes of vehicles and/or heavy truck traffic, and
- Specific areas to avoid or where extra caution is needed such as railroad tracks, four lane roads, drainage ditches, poorly maintained roads or sidewalks, driveways with heavy truck traffic, etc.
Sometimes this information is available from the school district or local planning or traffic engineering department. In some cases it may be necessary to gather more information through a walkabout, bikeabout, audit or other assessment method.
Make sure to keep the map simple and easy to read. The idea is to provide enough information for parents to help their child choose a route to school. Make sure to include the date the map was created (or updated) on the map itself as well as instructions for parents to select a route with their child.
Strongly encourage parents to walk or bicycle with their children to determine the best way to school or where they can join the designated route. Parents should help their children select a walking or bicycling route with the least amount of traffic and intersections.
Make sure a map and route feed back opportunity exists and factor all comments into an improvement process.