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After 35-year run, Metro will no longer offer printed Bike There! map


Cover of the ninth — and final — edition.

The best printed bike map in the Portland region will soon be a collector’s item.

Metro announced yesterday that they will no longer sell the printed version of the vaunted Bike There! map.

The map was first published in 1983 and has gone through nine major updates. The ninth (and last) edition came out in May 2015.

In an email to shops that stocked the map, Metro’s Marne Duke said the decision was made because of, “A combination of the decline in demand of printed maps and the increase in free map offerings from local cities and counties around the region.”

The news was met with disappointment by many of our friends on Twitter:

“Bummer. Finding this map at the grocery store was what got me to start biking in Portland.” — Nick Falbo.

“No! I am definitely of the era that loves a paper map.” — Mike Mason

“I don’t use apps or Google Maps or whatever. I like good old printed maps.” — Susan R

“Too bad. Printed maps are still useful for many bikers.” – alanshoebridge

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(Chart: BikePortland)

Metro’s Marne Duke said despite the love for printed maps, an overall decline in popularity forced their hand. After being left with a significant number of outdated and unsold eighth edition maps in 2010, Duke said they printed half as many (about 5,000) of the ninth edition maps in 2015. And surveys taken by Metro showed a sharp decline in paper map use over the past decade. 70% of respondents used the paper map in 2009, 30% did so in 2014, and just 13% of people reported using it as a way to plan their bike trips in the latest survey from 2016.

The printing, distribution, and marketing of the map also no longer pencil out. Duke said the ninth edition generated $10,550 in sales and cost about $25,000 to print and distribute. And that’s not including staff time.

Metro also once published the “Walk There!” book by Portland author Laura Foster; but that too has ceased production.

“With limited time and budget, an approach that focuses on expanding online availability that can potentially reach more – and a wider variety – of people was determined to be a better use of resources by our management team,” Duke says.

Moving forward, Metro will continue to beef up their online map and route resources and work to incorporate their datasets into the digital offerings of other local government agencies, app developers and mobility service providers.

If you want to grab one of the last remaining maps, check out this list of stockists on Metro’s website.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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