Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Widen My Sidewalk

Many local councils in the UK are exploring how they can best facilitate safe social distancing in the urban environment. Creating new bike paths and widening pavements are two of the most effective measures which can be undertaken to help people avoid public transit while still allowing pedestrians to maintain a two metre distance from other members of the public.

To support this effort Cyclestreets.net has created a new interactive map to enable individuals and local groups to identify locations where they know action is needed. The map, Widen My Path, allows anyone to show where new cycle paths and wider pavements are needed.

The interface for Widen My Path is very simple. To add a suggestion you just need to click on the interactive map and choose from one of the three types of interventions – cycling, walking and point closures. You can also up-vote suggestions which have been made by other users by clicking on a marker and clicking on the 'agree' button. The marker size for each suggestion grows in proportion to the number of people who agree with it.

If you are interested in creating a similar crowdsourcing map for your own country then the code for Widen My Path is available on GitHub.

Local councils in the UK who are considering where they might need to widen pavements might also want to have a look at Esri's GB Pavement Width Indicator. This vector tile layer for Esri maps colors Great British pavements by width. The map uses three colors. The red pavements show paths which are narrower than 2 meters - to visualize where social distancing is impossible. Orange pavements are between 2 & 3 meters in width and the blue pavements are 3 meters wide or greater.

Sidewalk width maps have also been developed in other countries around the world. The Sidewalks Widths map uses New York City's Sidewalk dataset to show where it is possible to maintain social distancing while walking in NYC. Similarly the Florence Sidewalks Map visualizes the widths of sidewalks in the Italian city of Florence.

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