Mapping a proposal for transportation hubs in Waterloo Region
The goal is to show the density of destinations within a 2km (walkable) and 5km (bikable) radius, and to show AT routes in those areas.
ClimateActionWR commissioned me to create a letter-sized map for each proposed hub, showing the complete road and AT networks, parks and park paths, and the density of destinations such as schools, places of worship, community and medical centres, shopping, and major sports fields used for organized kids' sports. I used a spreadsheet to track datasets and layers because some of the requested data is not available for all cities in the Region's OpenData.
My client sent me a list of neighbourhoods with bounding streets, and I plotted the centre points then buffered the points to create polygon layers with 2km and 5km radii. We added an overview map to see all hub locations at a glance.
Once the hub locations were finalized on the maps, I added the data layers identified in the spreadsheet and worked on the first four maps at the same time.
At this time, the Region was finishing its 2021 bike map, so I received a PDF version to make sure these maps show all updated infrastructure not yet in the OpenData portal. The Region's map also greatly simplified the network types, so I used their new categorizations on these maps.
My client was surprised at how much data I was able to add to the map, and in some cases we had to clean it up. For example, often there are multiple sports fields of different types close together, so I removed multiple symbols from those areas. The request was to show locations of organized kids' sports, but that information is not always in the datasets, so a bit more research was required to check descriptions of these sports fields.
In the next drafts I labelled community centres and major parks, and created a cleaner style for the maps by removing all points outside of the 5km radius, but leaving the roads. I also tried some different colours.
During these reviews, my client noticed some shopping points missing. (We had an extremely tight timeline, so they'd offered to have their volunteers review the drafts and data.) I'd initially added those from OpenStreetMap data, but went back to the dataset and added a lot more categories. The guiding principle was to include any destination that someone might go to on a regular basis, so I added medical centres and pharmacies, kindergartens, variety/convenience stores, and food shops such as bakeries, delis, butchers, etc..
Many areas had a lot of shops and adding symbols for each one would overwhelm the map, so I downloaded the Region's business improvement areas and building datasets, the latter filtered for plazas and shopping malls.
I added a purple fill for these polygons to show these retail areas without adding even more symbols. My client suggested using larger symbols to show destinations such as universities, malls and shopping districts that attract a large number of people.
Even with these additional data layers, my client noticed some major new shopping centres missing. So I loaded OpenStreetMap in GIS and compared with Google Maps, and created a new point layer to manually add these missing points.
Public review for the action plan wrapped up last week - it'll be public again after going to all 8 local councils in June. But sometime in the next few weeks the maps will be up on the ClimateActionWR website.
If you'd like to read more about how AT hubs help build a 15-minute city, you can learn more in my active transportation newsletter.
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