Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Crowdsourced Program Launched to Improve Bike Lanes

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Recent visitors to the Boise Bicycle Project's website may have noticed a new tab called Safelane.

Clicking on it leads to a survey form that can be used to report bike lanes in need of repair or improvement across the Treasure Valley. There's also an option to submit a picture. The idea is that people will do both on-the-fly via smart phone.

Though the survey is on the BBP website, Safelane is not actually a BBP project, but rather one it donated space to. The survey was specifically designed by its creator, local onion purchaser Clancy Anderson, to be an embeddable widget that any interested party can put on its website to help gather more data.

"I just kind of thought it would be nice to have some common bike advocacy," said Anderson. "The only time we get people together is when there's been a problem. And even then, I don't think the people who get involved are figuring in the average bike user."

Anderson decided to focus on bike lanes because it's one of the biggest common denominators that binds cyclists together, whether they're racers or commuters. When people fill out the survey, the information is sent to a spreadsheet that Anderson manages, and will then be reported to the Ada County Highway District.

"ACHD knows quite a few of these areas that are a problem," said Anderson. "But I thought there might be some others out there, and I thought let's try to organize and find them with the help of the community."

Theoretically, the survey could save ACHD the time and resources it would take to do the study themselves, and lets the agency focus on fixing the problems. But only if people use it. And Anderson said that so far, only four people have—which falls far short of the triple-digit participant levels that would make the survey really effective.

"I'm not the best at promotion," Anderson said.

The survey widget can be viewed after the jump.

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