After reading this article on Michael Graham’s London tube style maps (or ‘spider maps’) of cycle networks in different cities around the world, I was inspired to create one for the current (or very imminent) Greater Newcastle shared path network.
What strikes you about the map? Have I missed anything?
What you see below is a modified version of what I originally posted on Facebook following some helpful suggestions.
Of course, it has already been pointed out that the map does not show topography or distance – indeed that is in part the point, to keep things simple. For those who want to quickly know whether they can get from one node to another, maps like this provide a good starting point. If you have never ridden these routes, it would pay to do a little more homework – ask a friend or look online.
I’ve left out some minor shared paths that don’t connect places per se, s
uch as the Lake Macquarie High School to Marmong Point path (also because it was hard to fit that one in… oh the perils of map making!). Edit: the Marmong Point path is now on the map (just!) But the point about some minor paths still stands, e.g. minor connection to Smith Park, Hamilton North, and Queen Street, Warners Bay.
If you’re familiar with the map area, you’ll notice that there are many destinations not connected to the network. For those who are not, Lake Macquarie is about twice the size of Sydney Harbour.
It was very tempting to link some of the routes with a dotted line to show what might be considered safe back streets, but I deliberately chose–for the most part–to stick to the #ages8to80+ rule – infrastructure that caters to the very young, the elderly and all other abilities. If you’re not familiar with “shared paths”, these are simply wide concrete or bitumen paths separated from road traffic that cater to both pedestrians and cyclists. Shared paths are not the be all and end all – its just that we don’t have anything else yet (protected bicycle lanes, for example). And if you didn’t know already, in the State of New South Wales its illegal to ride a bicycle on a footpath (as opposed to a wider sign-posted shared path) unless you’re less than 12 years old or accompanying people under 12.
Finally, it has to be said – linkages between places are important, but safe linkages within places are just as crucial. It’s not good enough to dump people at the edge of busy centres that prioritise cars over people. Such ‘place infrastructure’ is not shown on this map.
The next step would be to convert the lines into the familiar tube-style look of 45 degree and 90 degree angles, as Michael Graham has done.