After a couple of days being rained in, I decided to start on a project to put my bike routes onto Google Maps. You see, if I Google my area (Mission, TX) and looked for any bike lanes or routes, there are slim pickings. The only one that shows up is the Hike and Bike Trail on the out skirts of town. This appears as if the trail is the only place where you can safely ride your bike, but that is not true. Many streets in town can be safely cycled, even if there is no official bike lane marked or shoulders. I have many routes in the Mission area that I ride constantly that I want to add to the maps. Aside from the neighborhood streets, the main arteries in the city are quite good for cycling. Thus begins my project in adding bike routes to Google Maps.
My first street is a section of Griffin Parkway that has dedicated Bike lanes but does not show up in Google Maps. After figuring out how to mark the road and indicate that it has bike lanes, the hard part of submitting it for review had to be done. it took sometime and false leads to figure out the workflow process. They sure don’t make it easy to find the proper flow of the process. Apparently, you not only need to submit the changes but you need to join a forum for North America and request that someone take a look at your change requests and approve them. Some requests take more than one approval and that could delay things as each one can reject your request.
Once I got that figured out, I went ahead and added bike routes that I use around town. They are mostly the major arteries, but that’s OK. They will get you from one part of town to another. That took about one afternoon to map them all out and designate them as suitable for cycling and get them posted in the correct forum for approval. At this point I figured it could take weeks or months before I hear something, but I was surprised to get a response in about two days! After a few emails back and forth my efforts were published except for one, the road with actual bike lanes. I figured that one would need additional approvals.
A quick review of the map shows my additions as green dotted lines indicating a bike route but with no Bike Lane markings. Solid green line are roads with designated Bike Lanes. Cool! I now need to add routes that connect the Mission-McAllen-Edinburg metroplex area. More work to be done.
Since I’ve lasted updated this draft, the official bike lane on FM 495 (Griffin Parkway) has been approved and published. I’ve also continue to add more routes and I’m waiting on the Shary Road bike lanes to be added. My Ultimate goal is to show a path from Mission to McAllen and Mission to Edinburg that commuters can use to cycle from town to town. It is surprisingly easy to map out, but it can be a little tedious at parts. Just depends on the road you are mapping.
Here is a link for the Mission area bike routes. Check the link often as I continue to add more routes.