May 26th, 2010

Talking to the Press

I have no idea what I said to a Newcastle Herald reporter yesterday. She came across my name when trawling back through past stories about Newcastle East, for her background research on a weekend supplement story she's writing, to a deadline, as journalists must. A few phone calls later, and I was making her coffee up in my kitchen, chatting away, being recorded, before being whisked down the road for a few photos. I really do like journalists. They have a talent for writing, and listening, and synthesising opposing views from a soup of public and expert opinions.

I've written a few opinion pieces for the local paper before. There's a great discipline in that, to be punchy and engaging in just a few words. However, being mined for word grabs for inclusion in a journalist's text is a completely different kind of experience. I'm reminded of bit-parts I played in school drama productions. To this day, I have no idea what story my few lines were a part of. My sense this time is I will be cast in the role of the activist, fighting for what... I don't know.

I would like to see the inner city made so unfriendly to cars that drivers don't bother. I would like to see single storey buildings on 5 storey streets replaced with walk up "student" housing, without any car parking. I would like to see the 1970s idea of the city and coastline as places to go in your car, replaced with a vision of the city as somewhere for thousands to live, without cars, but pushbikes instead. If any of that makes it into the article, well, I'll be happy. If a link to this blog is published as well, I'll be over the moon! Keep them hits coming! Whether I'm misquoted or not, I love the attention.

cyclespace on google maps

Two days after discussing the benefits of mapping the world's cyclespace, I find google maps have done it for the US. This is very exiting! I flew my maps google craft back to my old neighbourhood on the Upper West Side on Manhattan, and the first thing I noticed was 106 street is marked as a cycle route. Hmm, I would dispute that. In fact, between 97th and 109th, 106th would be the worst street to cycle on, I would suggest. 

The obvious research question, is: "By whose criteria is google maps judging space to be cyclespace?"

After sleeping on the above...
Since the purpose of a maps google layer, is to sell advertising space to people who would bring up that layer, it stands to reason that google would want cyclespace mapped by actual cyclists (with the exception of poor ones). So I can put aside conspiracy theories, about motoring groups coming up with ways to get cyclists out of their way. Maybe someone connected to a cycling body, who google contacted, nominated W106 St. for the sake of simplicity. After all, it is merely a thoroughfare between two parks, not somewhere a cyclist would wish to linger. 

Your input here would be greatly appreciated!!!