BWTC 2012 Count Report
For Immediate Release
Bicycling Increases 56 percent and Walking 22 percent in Minneapolis over last 6 Years
Minneapolis & St. Paul, Minn. - (February 28, 2013) - More local residents than ever are getting around by bike or on foot. Bicycling in Minneapolis increased by 56 percent over the past six years, and walking by 22 percent, according to the City of Minneapolis Bicyclist and Pedestrian Count Report 2012. For a wider area of the Twin Cities, bicycling rose by 51 percent and walking by 24%, as reported by Bike Walk Twin Cities (BWTC), a program of Transit for Livable Communities.
The figures are based on annual counts conducted in September. The City of Minneapolis conducts annual counts at 30 benchmark locations for bicyclists and 23 locations for pedestrians. BWTC counts bicyclists and pedestrians at 40 benchmark locations, including locations in St. Paul, St. Louis Park, and Falcon Heights. This ongoing collection of annual data about bicycling and walking supplements existing data on motorized traffic to develop a more complete picture of overall traffic behavior in our communities.
According to the counts, the top locations for bicycling and walking are near the University of Minnesota, downtown Minneapolis, and along the Midtown Greenway and Cedar Lake Trail.
Expanded network of routes attracts new cyclists and provides options
The number of routes for bicycling has increased greatly over the recent years, attracting new cyclists and giving existing cyclists more options. One case in particular illustrates this: bicycles on the Loring Bikeway Bridge increased by 23 percent between 2007 and 2012. The bridge is at the north end of the new Bryant Avenue bicycle boulevard, which opened in 2011. At the same time, bike traffic on nearby Lyndale Avenue declined by 24 percent, likely because many bicyclists chose to use the bicycle boulevard instead.
"People are reacting to the network changes that have been made over the past couple years. Bicycling is not only increasing overall, but people are deciding to use the infrastructure improvements that are being made," said Simon Blenski, of the City of Minneapolis bicycle/pedestrian section.
Mode share refers to how many automobiles, bicycles, and pedestrians use a given location on a daily or annual basis. Across the metro there are numerous examples of increasing mode share for nonmotorized traffic. The highest percentage-with 74 percent nonmotorized traffic-is near the University of Minnesota, at 15th Avenue Southeast. Because all modes of traffic have to cross bridges, they can be very good locations to monitor overall mode share. The nonmotorized mode share (bicycling and walking together) is 15 percent of traffic on the Lake Street Bridge, 26 percent of traffic on the Franklin Avenue Bridge, and 6 percent on the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.
"As we see this shift toward more people walking and bicycling, it makes it even more compelling to see where we can reprioritize space to create streets that will work for all users, giving people the options they want," said Steve Clark, bicycling and walking program manager at Bike Walk Twin Cities.
Across all benchmark locations counted by BWTC, women were 24
27 percent of bicyclists. This tracks generally with national data, which show that more men bicycle than women. Certain locations indicate a much higher share of women cyclists.
Top locations for women cycling (Twin Cities)
- Riverside Avenue, east of Cedar 38 percent
- Franklin Avenue Bridge 36 percent
- Loring Bikeway Bridge 33 percent
- Lyndale Ave (off-street trail),north of Loring Bikeway Bridge 33 percent
- 10th Avenue Bridge, over Mississippi River 32 percent
Count data continue to indicate that adults are less likely to ride their bicycles on sidewalks when there is a safe bikeway on the street. This is true even as overall rates of bicycling rise.
"This pattern results in safer roads for all users," said Clark, "because bicyclists are more predictable and visible and pedestrians don't have to worry about dodging bicyclists. Bike lanes on the street also provide a traffic-calming element, improving the overall streetscape."
Volunteers are Essential
The annual count effort would not happen without the support of volunteers. In 2012, BWTC worked with 57 volunteers who provided 144 total hours of counting and the City of Minneapolis Department of Public Works worked with 92 volunteers who provided 188 total hours of counting. Each volunteer is required to attend a training session where she/he receives count materials and protocol. This training helps ensure that count results are consistent and reliable.
The City of Minneapolis Bicyclist and Pedestrian Count Report 2012 is available on the City of Minneapolis web site: www.minneapolismn.gov/bicycles/ . The Bike Walk Twin Cities 2012 Count Report is available at www.bikewalktwincities.org.
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Matt Liable, City of Minneapolis, 612-673-2786
Hilary Reeves, Transit for Livable Communities, 612-554-1795
About Bike Walk Twin Cities
The Twin Cities is one of four U.S. communities to receive $28 million through the federal Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program to enhance bicycling and walking as transportation and to improve health, community livability, and air quality. Beginning in 2007, the Bike Walk Twin Cities (BWTC) pilot program allocated funding to increase the Twin Cities network of on-street bicycle routes (funding more than 75 miles of new bikeways and sidewalks), to innovative ways to increase access to bicycles for transportation (e.g., Nice Ride Minnesota and the Sibley Bike Depot Community Partners Bike Library), and to education, outreach, planning, and measurement. To learn more about BWTC, go to www.bikewalktwincities.org.