Back in 2011 we twice joined the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition for its bike & ped and loved it. With clipboard in hand we stood on a street corner to tally non-motor travelers. We learned that more folks are riding but also saw the challenges that cyclists face right here in Beverly Hills. This September we’ll be at it again and hope that you, dear reader, will help us. Have a few hours to spare? Help us establish benchmarks for bike travel as we look ahead to the post-motor future in Beverly Hills. Will you join us?
Counting bicycles. It’s easy, really: simply stand or sit in a designated location for a couple of hours on a morning and/or afternoon on count day and tally how many people move though an intersection. We provide the form, clipboard & pen. You provide the eyes and a couple of hours of your time.
Why Count Cyclists?
Transportation planners have long counted vehicles for environmental documentation purposes under CEQA. For example, traffic impacts are a key consideration when evaluating a policy change or proposed project. But environmental studies don’t generally count non-motor travelers or take into account any positive effect (like reduced traffic flow) that could arise from, say, a better-planned, more easily-accessible project. A road diet for example may attenuate vehicular traffic flow but will likely encourage more travelers overall to use the corridor simply because they’ll feel riding a bicycle. Without a benchmark count of cyclists, though, we won’t know the difference.
Traffic counts also inform long-range planning. They are key data for our General Plan’s circulation element. It is important to know that Santa Monica Boulevard, La Cienega & Wilshire are our city’s most heavily traveled streets, for example. That volume of vehicular travel presents very considerable impacts (emissions, collisions, and lost time). Indeed these three corridors count for a third of all major street traffic (150,000 daily trips) in the city. But bike counts? Never did one. Consequently, cyclists as road users are simply invisible in our transportation plans and planning efforts.
A Bicycle Count is the Benchmark We Need
Let’s put two-wheeled travelers back into our transportation plans. We need your help. Please volunteer for a two-hour shift (or better a couple of shifts) and help our inaugural Bike Count 2013 here in Beverly Hills. All it takes is a clipboard, a watch, and a few hours of your time. Drop us a line and tell us when you can help: Tuesday September 10th morning/afternoon or Saturday September 14th morning/afternoon.
We’ll be out there ourselves. Like last year we’ll probably stand at Wilshire & Santa Monica, a very busy and hazardous intersection where we learned what it takes to navigate this dangerous juncture by bike. We also saw firsthand the fruits of Metro’s bike carrier program: every single bus was so-equipped.
It’s critical that we benchmark where we are today so that the effect of improvements over the coming years can be documented. Will you join us?