Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is working hard to make bike riding a part of daily life both practically and recreationally for locals here in Seattle.
To promote bike riding crews have been busily constructing neighborhood greenways, protected bike lanes and multi-use trails; installing signs to guide people to their destinations; and putting in bike detectors at traffic signals all over the city, including here in Ballard. “By creating comfortable places to ride bikes and connections to parks, schools and business districts, we hope more people will discover the practicality and joy of bicycling,” writes SDOT in a recent press release.
In order to monitor their progress, SDOT has installed seven bike counters throughout the city, including one on the Ballard Greenway at NW 58th St at 22nd Ave NW. The counters are helping SDOT create a ridership baseline in 2014 that can be used to assess future years and help them reach their goal of quadrupling ridership by 2030. Unlike the two existing bike counters on the Fremont and West Seattle bridges, the bike counter in Ballard does not have electronic display totems.
“It is important to use our limited funds wisely and data driven decisions help us do this,” said Kristen Simpson, SDOT Plan Implementation Manager. “Collecting bike and pedestrian data helps guide our investments and measure our progress while building a transportation system that gives Seattleites great travel options.”
“While these bike counters may not offer the instant gratification of being visually counted like the Fremont and West Seattle counters, they are an important addition to SDOT’s measurements of Seattle’s progress toward getting more people to travel by bike. The more data we have, the better we’ll be able to plan for and build a safe bicycling network for people of all ages and abilities,” said Jeff Aken, Principal Planner at Cascade Bicycle Club.
The new counters consist of two small tube sensors stretching across the street, which are attached to a small metal counting box made by Eco-Counter. According to SDOT, the tubes were designed to be used on greenways, they are very accurate and only count people riding bikes.
Seattle is building a network of greenways to give people healthy travel options and help move toward their safety goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030.
The data from the counters will be downloaded at the beginning of each month and will be uploaded here. The data will be available for public use starting in February. All counts are recorded in one hour intervals and will include a total overall count and, as available, a directional count.
SDOT plans to install at least three more counters this year. Additionally, numerous one week counts will be conducted at selected locations throughout the city each year. The data from the permanent counters will provide estimates of annual bicycle volume to be calculated at the one week count locations.
To find out more about the Seattle Bike Master Plan click here.