There are bike maps for lots of the jurisdictions in DC area, but no single source that combines them all so cyclists can easily plan for trips throughout the region. I’ve created a mashup of a number of local bike maps as a first crack at creating one for the entire region.

Map by the author using MapBox.js. Click for an interactive version.

The map combines official bike maps from DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Montgomery County, and the City of Takoma Park. As far as I know, Prince George’s County doesn’t have an official bike map.

For DC, Arlington, Alexandria, and Takoma Park, my map uses an image of the most recent paper map; for Fairfax and Montgomery County, it pulls a live overlay from the online version of their bike map and displays it atop the base street map from a company called Mapbox. Mapbox’s map data is built atop the crowd-sourced OpenStreetMap.

In addition to being (at least somewhat) useful for planning bicycle trips in the region, the mashup raises a few interesting questions:

Why can’t the jurisdictions agree on a color scheme?

Arlington and Alexandria share a common set of colors to depict both on-street and off-street bike facilities. Capital Bikeshare maps use the same color scheme. DC, Fairfax, Montgomery County, and Takoma Park, however, are all over the place, using different and often contradictory colors and line styles.

If an official regional bike map existed, who would coordinate it, distribute it and host the online version?

A regional bike map seems like it’d be useful for a lot of people, but who would its creator and keeper be? The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, our regional metropolitan planning organization seems like a reasonable fit, but it’s focused primarily on meeting the regulations of the Clean Air Act.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) seems like another potential option, though it would likely have to be under a private contract with each jurisdiction.

Do you find my “frankenmap” useful? What questions does it raise for you? Should we have a regional bike map? Whose job should that be?