With its chaotic traffic, aggressive drivers, and brutal winters, Moscow seems an unlikely candidate to be a bike-friendly city, as authorities are promising to make it within five years' time. But for those who want to venture out on two wheels, help is at hand: A set of DIY bike maps created by cyclists themselves.
Cyclist/activist/artist Anton Polsky has sparked a "movement to create a participatory, informal bicycle map for Moscow," the urban-ideas blog Pattern Cities reported earlier this week.
making the first-ever map of bike routes in Moscow in 2010, Polsky
uploaded it to his website and began encouraging people to "download,
print, mark their favorite routes, and drop off the maps at galleries
across the city," Pattern Cities writes. Symbols on the maps note the
locations of bike rental shops, bike parking spots, local landmarks, and dangerous intersections.
addition to regular commuter routes through the city, special maps have
been created for bike transportation to eco-friendly events such as the
10/10/10 Global Work Party for climate action and last year's Sdelai Sam (Do It Yourself) festival, which included a cycling parade, "an eco-themed scavenger hunt in the city," a Really Free Market and tree planting and park clean-up activities.
Safer cycling options could certainly ease mobility problems in Moscow, described last year as a city "on the brink of transportation collapse."
Currently, would-be bikers must navigate busy roads and limited
connections to public transportation. Many say the 25 new kilometers of cycling routes
promised by 2016 are insufficient for a city Moscow's size. But
Polsky's project could give the government initiative a good head start.
importance of this project lies in that findings can be shared with
local, city authorities as they begin to create the city’s bicycle infrastructure,"
Pattern Cities writes. "This kind of activism and community involvement
is a starting point for effective urban design in Moscow."