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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Better ways to navigate Columbia's pathways

      We have all found ourselves on a pathway in Columbia and not sure where it might lead.  With over 90 miles of paths it can be easy to be unsure where you are on some of our paths. This past weekend I walked on some paths in Kings Contrivance that were new to me.  The lack of markings left me to think about dropping crumbs to find my way back to my car.  The Columbia Association and some villages have tried a variety of ways to lead us on the paths.  Signs like the one pictured above provide a map of the paths in some heavily traveled areas like around Wilde Lake.  I have seen some markings on the paths in Oakland Mills that indicated the streets to which the paths led.

    CA is now piloting signage around the Wilde Lake area which give us these directional signs pictured above.  Some even give mileage.

     Over time this type of signage will be placed in more areas along our paths.  Soon some signage like this will appear around the Lake Elkhorn and Owen Brown paths.
     The most exciting new navigation tool that CA has recently developed is their new smartphone app.  Developed at a cost of $35,000 the new app allows you to locate where you are and then determine what paths you can take to get to another location in Columbia.  This should solve the problem of where you are on any one of the paths.  It also has all the tot lots, pools, village and neighborhood centers identified on the map.  This app should reduce the need for CA to print maps.  I think having a feature that gives the milage from one point on the paths to another point would be a great addition. Another improvement would be a turn by turn instruction for your route.  Having this turn by turn by voice (as smartphone navigation programs) would also be a nice feature. If you have comments on the app you can make them to
   One other nice addition to our path system is CA making some of the heavily traveled paths 10 foot wide paths.  This would make for safer paths used by walkers, bikers and runners. The path around Lake Kittamaqundi pictured below will be a 10 foot wide path.

This area will be completed soon and the dirt path pictured below will be a paved path all the way around the Lake.

P.S. 1
  These improvements in our path system are part of the Connecting Columbia Plan.

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