by Jaymi Heimbuch, San Francisco, California
It's about time! Google Maps has finally added a Bike There feature. They've been plugging away for awhile now on ways to get directions for cyclists that avoids hills, excessive traffic, and points you in the best directions for pedaling to your destination. After a long time of lobbying by grassroots groups (it was all the way back in 2008 that we saw the petition circulating to add the feature), we finally have a thorough set of directions for alternative transportation, rounding out the walk there and public transit features.
Google's Official Blog states,
"My team has been keeping close tabs on all the public support for biking directions that's been steadily coming in, but we knew that when we added the feature, we wanted to do it right: we wanted to include as much bike trail data as possible, provide efficient routes, allow riders to customize their trip, make use of bike lanes, calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills and customize the look of the map for cycling to encourage folks to hop on their bikes. So that's exactly what we've done."
All you need to do is hit the drop down box for selecting your transportation method and select "bike there." The directions generated will direct you along the flattest route, will help you avoid the busiest intersections, and will show you when there are bike-only trails or when there are bike lanes available on the roads... read more story at TreeHugger.com