Alyson Fletcher counts cyclists on 18th Street.
The need for knowing how many people are cycling in Chicago should be obvious: to plan a good bikeway network that considers where people are already cycling; and to track the progress of the Bike 2015 Plan and other related plans. There are multiple needs to count cyclists in Chicago, for civic planning, academic research, and business promotion. On Tuesday morning and afternoon last week, volunteers at several downtown Chicago intersections were armed with pencil and paper to count people cycling (towards downtown in the morning, away from in the afternoon).
The City’s bike count program is now getting into a groove of consistent and periodic tabulating after a time of sporadic counts in different locations (mostly for single facility analysis). A good bike count program is permanent, counting people at the same times on a regular basis at the same location. The new program, which started in 2011, will count cyclists at the same places in downtown Chicago, at the same time each month. Not only can the City use this information to plan a network (and hopefully more bikeways in the Loop), but it can be used to track the impact of bikeways and cyclists on ridership and traffic, respectively. Continue reading Bike counts are important to businesses and in evaluating our progress
Bike counts are getting more attention this year than in previous years. Watch these two short interviews to get a little insight on how. A full story will be published later.
Alyson Fletcher is a graduate student from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; she’s also volunteered for Active Transportation Alliance. She was here last week to count cyclists on 18th Street and Kinzie Street. Watch the video to learn more about her masters project.
Alessandro Panella volunteered for the Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) quarterly downtown bike count on Tuesday. Watch the video to learn about the responsibilities he had at Randolph and Canal Streets, and his idea to make a robust bike count program.
Watch all of our other videos on the blog, or on Vimeo.
P.S. It was after my interview with Fletcher that I photographed two people driving in the bike lane.
Photo of Fletcher filling out her counting chart (tally sheet).
Cycling in Copenhagen next to articulated buses. All high-volume intersections are bathed in blue to show where each vehicle operator, people cycling and driving alike, where to maneuver. Photo by Mikael Colville-Anderson, the Copenhagenize author.
I saw an old post on Copenhagenize, a popular blog about bicycle cultures (which Chicago is not). It’s called, 18 ways to know that you have a bicycle culture. Jokingly, I thought to reply blindly, “Nope, don’t have that”, to all items in the list. Some of the signs seem listed to poke fun at cities with bicycle subcultures, even though they would more likely happen in a bicycle than outside of one. For example, #12 says:
When you see somebody with rolled up trouser legs you think, ‘what a shame that fellow can’t afford a chain guard’. You consider rolling up next to him at the next light to give him some money.
Continue reading Building a bicycle culture in Chicago: does it get worse before it gets better?
A bike counter is a nice way of saying, “Hey, the city values you for riding your bike”. It’s currently 1°C at 9:21 AM on January 10, 2011, in Copenhagen, Denmark. So far today, 2,142 people have biked past this counter (only in this direction, westbound). 43,504 have biked past in 2011 (again, westbound) and it’s only the 10th day of the year.
Marisa Paulson at The Northwest Passage* writes about last week’s public meeting for Park 567 at Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Avenue in Wicker Park. “Park 567” is a proposed access point for the Bloomingdale Trail. I really like what one of the project organizers said in response to respecting the history of Milwaukee Avenue (I guess very recent history).
Continue reading Let’s get a bike counter in Chicago