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A map of Seattle built for pedestrians

UW’s TCAT built an interactive map of sidewalks and slopes

Joe Wolf

Navigating by road maps can get you around the city, but they will take you up hills, along shoulder-less roads, and through places you don’t want to walk and definitely don’t want to tackle if you’re in a wheelchair or using a walker. Even healthy people can benefit from safer routes by not getting in accidents like trips and falls. UW’s Taskar Center for Accessible Technology has developed Access Map, a map that aims to steer people through the city the easiest way possible.

Taskar Center for Accessible Technology

Try to walk from the Space Needle to the Convention Center and the map will take you along one side of Fourth Avenue, then the other side, then skip along Third Avenue, and turn up Pike Street instead of Union Street. Other mapping software may suggest using Seventh Avenue or Eighth Avenue, but Access Map’s data must have some good reasons to skip them, and also why one side of a road is better than the other. Bad curbs, bad sidewalks, or construction can mean the shortest route isn’t the safest, and may not take the least time.

The Seattle P-I has a good description of Taskar, the map, and the plans for both. You might be more interested in exercising the map to help your exercise, even if that’s just trying to find the best route for your stroller.

Taskar Center for Accessible Technology

It could also be a good tool for buyers trying to decide between neighborhoods. Cruise the map and find that Phinney Ridge is a ridge with roads highlighted in orange while Ballard is a great swath of green. You choose.