March 11, 2010 5:30 PM
I was in Washington yesterday at the National Bike Summit to give a talk about Madison's efforts to improve bike safety and promote cycling. That presentation was scheduled for the afternoon, but the organizers were really pushing for me to attend the early morning opening plenary session (I was really pushing to sleep in). But I showed up, and I'm glad I did.
It turns out that Google was using the Bike Summit to launch a new Google Maps function that, among lots of other cool stuff, plots out the safest bike routes from place to place in a given community (and you can see it here: http://maps.google.com/biking). And it further turns out that one of the first given communities in which Google is piloting this idea is Madison. Our city was used as an example as Google officials demonstrated it to the entire audience.
So, we're already on Google's map, literally. And this is especially important as the company considers where to pilot an even bigger idea: super high speed fiber internet service. Madison will also be in the running for that $100 million investment. We think we're perfectly situated with a tech savvy population, the right-sized community for their needs, and some infrastructure already in place.
We know that we won't be successful with our application if just comes from city officials. We need a real grassroots effort. So, tonight we'll be holding a public meeting to talk about the fiber project. It starts at 7pm at Olbrich Gardens. We'll share what information you have and look for your ideas on how to bolster our application.