Los Angeles researchers and community organizers have released a new bike map of South L.A., aimed at guiding riders on a tour of hidden gems that ends at the Watts Towers.
"Our goal is to reveal some of the South L.A. features that local residents enjoy all the time, but are hidden to potential visitors," said Tafarai Bayne, a community organizer with T.R.U.S.T. South L.A. "Many people are surprised to learn that you can bike from the Watts Towers to the beautifully restored wetlands at Augustus Hawkins Park, all in South L.A.
The new map is a joint effort by T.R.U.S.T. and the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, as well as multiple bike advocacy groups such as CicLAvia and East Side Riders Bike Club. Although the map is already posted online at Ride South L.A., printed copies will be distributed at this Sunday's CicLAvia event, from the South Hub at the African American Firefighter Museum on Central Avenue.
The route was tested in January with 60 cyclists who gathered data about the route and took pictures along the way.
"Riders with a camera see things differently - from store signs, to corner shops -- even things they've passed many times before," said Benjamin Stokes of USC.
The mapping process was done with a new technology born from a USC project called ParTour -- which allows people to send in photos from their phone to a central computer, and have all those images then placed on one map. But, organizers say they are also aware of the need to keep things simple in order to reach a wide audience.
"Online distribution may be cheap, but paper distribution is often necessary to engage at the street level," said Otto Khera, a team member on the project.
Organizers say the Ride South LA map represents an array of interests, from city planning to social change. They say their goal is to instigate civic action -- from teaching people how to request bike racks from the city, to mobilizing campaigns for change.