Can Coloring Books Demystify Bike-Lane Design? – CityLab
Last year, county planning staff launched an online bicycle stress map, which won an award from the American Planning Association. Â The map rates streets according to a measure called Level of Traffic Stress, which quantifies the amount of stress that cyclists feel based on traffic speed, traffic volume, number of lanes, ease of intersection crossings, and other variables. On a low-stress street, most people would be willing to ride their bikes; on a high-stress stretch of road, only the most intrepid would.
â€œThe whole premise of the bicycle master plan is this low-stress bike network for Montgomery County,â€ says Schwiesow. About a year ago, she was talking with colleagues about how to present its key ideas to the public, and she thought of an activity that, for her, was the epitome of low stress. â€œI personally am a fan of stress-relieving coloring books. Iâ€™m a new mom and I find [coloring] very relaxing,â€ she says.
Producing a book that was informative as well as pencil-friendly was not so straightforward. The department started with photos and designersâ€™ renderings illustrating different biking conditions. But the level of detail obscured the concepts. The images were â€œtoo complicated to give people a sense of a separated bike lane or an off-street trail,â€ Schwiesow says. They decided to strip the pictures down to simple outlines, â€œso weâ€™re conveying the main themes but making it fun to color.â€ Many, but not all, of the settings shown in the 36-page book are within the D.C. region.
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