Grant to fund expansion of U bicycle route website

Briana Bierschbach

An online "geowiki" for metro areas bicycle routes received a funding boost to partner with local transportation agencies., which was created by a University of Minnesota graduate student, allows users to enter a starting path and destination, much like Google Maps and Map Quest, for bicycle routes and update the map with their own routes, construction updates and even potholes. Users can also customize their routes based on shortest distance and give routes "bikeability" ratings.


The nonprofit Transit for Livable Communities awarded the Metropolitan Council a $185,000 grant to create an extension to the website as part of the Bike Walk Twin Cities initiative, a program through the federal government designed to increase bicycling and walking in the metro area, according to Minnesota Public Radio.


The extension will be called Cycloplan, and will allow local transportation agencies to get comments and suggestions from bicyclists about potential bicycle paths, construction work, detours and other changes.


"It opens up so many opportunities," Reid Priedhorsky, the University student who created the site, told MPR. "Any member of the public could just show what they wanted instead of having to draw a sketch and mail it in."


Priedhorsky, a computer science graduate student, created the website as part of research he was doing at the University, according to a previous Minnesota Daily story. He is interested in online communities.


The project team hopes to have the website completed by summer 2010.