Tahoe-Truckee biking: Nonprofit seeks proposals for region-wide map | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee biking: Nonprofit seeks proposals for region-wide map

J.P. Kelsey
Cyclists ride on a bike path in Lake Tahoe. A new paper bike map from Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition is in the works for summer.
Courtesy Brian Smeets Photography / Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition |

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For information about the map and other LTBC projects, visit http://www.tahoebike.org.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Lake Tahoe region has been steadily evolving into a more bicycle-friendly area, and the addition of an updated, printed bike map covering the whole basin may help continue that growth.

Upgrading the various paper maps from around the region into one, uniform map is the latest effort launched by the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition.

Earlier this month, the nonprofit announced it is requesting proposals for production of an upgraded, paper map. The organization would like for the paper map to accompany the online map it released in 2016.

“Oftentimes, a local jurisdiction or transportation agency creates a bike map for a community,” said LTBC board member Gavin Feiger. “That hasn’t really happened in Tahoe.”

Feiger explained that although there are various paper maps that exist for different parts of the region, a regional map that also includes Truckee doesn’t exist.

LTBC printed 50,000 copies of a similar map in 2014, but the addition of more biking routes since has warranted a new edition.

LTBC will be accepting proposals throughout the remainder of March and plans to have a version to release by summer.

“It’s looking promising,” said Feiger. “We did a similar process last year for the online map and it went really well.“

One of the main challenges of creating something like a bike map for the area is achieving something that is aesthetically pleasing, as well as practical.

Feiger said LTBC is currently looking for designers who can create a detailed map while also reducing the clutter involved with labeling. Additionally, having a large space in the middle of the map that is occupied by the lake creates obstacles for design.

“One of the challenges is designing a circular map on a square piece of paper,” said Feiger. “It’s hard to find that balance of a compact design that shows detail. If you look at our existing map, it has big bold lines where the bike routes are, but it doesn’t always label those streets.

“And if you start putting labels everywhere, the words have to be small because there’s so much unused space in the middle.”

Coalition members have been collecting templates of other bike maps to aid in their overall design aesthetic.

“We collected maybe 20 different samples of bike maps from our personal collection of travels,” said Feiger. “There are some accordion style maps that we really like that fold down into a thick business card and then fold out.”

The maps are distributed throughout the community at no cost to consumers, so making the most of funds used for production has to be considered.

Having the paper map be consistent with the online map as well as collaborating with a local designer are additional elements coalition members are looking for in a final product.

Getting more bike routes implemented around Lake Tahoe and designing a map around those routes can also be quite the logistical challenge.

Feiger explained that having all of the agencies involved has just as many pros as cons. On one had, multiple agencies help provide and secure funding and get the word out about projects, but it can create a lot of red tape to go through.

“You’ve got two states, five counties, one incorporated city, one town, a transportation agency, a regional planning agency, a conservancy and the community college has land,” said Feiger. “The jurisdictions are great about working together, we just encourage them to continue to work together as much as possible when it comes to building bike infrastructure.”

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