09/05/11

Biking, Walking, & Blogging:Year 5 of Bike Walk Twin Cities Fall Benchmark CountsBiking, Walking, & Blogging:Year 5 of Bike Walk Twin Cities Fall Benchmark Counts

Year 5 of Bike Walk Twin Cities Fall Benchmark Counts

From Tony Hull, Bike Walk Twin Cities

If you were out and about bicycling and walking during the month of September, you may have noticed a number of folks with clipboards about town watching the streets trails and sidewalks.  They likely were volunteers helping TLC/Bike Walk Twin Cities, Minneapolis Department of Public Works, and the Bike Edina Task Force conduct the 5th annual community wide bicycle and pedestrian count.  

With the help of 147 volunteers and agency staff, this year's effort resulted in 169 two-hour counts at 145 locations across the Twin Cities. The majority of counts were conducted between 4:00pm and 6:00pm on Tuesday, September 13, and Wednesday, September 14, (consistent with the national count days). A handful of locations were counted by Minneapolis DPW volunteers for 12 hours (6:30am to 6:30pm).

Tracking bicycling and walking trends allows us to provide a valuable community indicator. The information gathered supports such distinctions for Minneapolis as #1 city for bicycling in America and as a Gold level bicycle friendly city, as rated by the League of American Bicyclists. Additionally, the data supports the recent announcement by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center of Walk Friendly Communities that Minneapolis is one of three communities in the U.S. to achieve Gold level status. This year has also marked the first recognition for Saint Paul as a Bicycle Friendly community (the city received bronze status).

 

The count results are still flowing in and our staff is working feverishly to enter the data and confirm the accuracy of results. First glance at TLC tabulations indicates that September 2011 was a strong month for bicycling and walking in the Twin Cities. This is no surprise, given the plethora of great new facilities that have opened throughout the year, including new bike lanes, trail connections, intersection improvements, and new bicycle boulevards funded through the Bike Walk Twin Cities program. These projects are contributing to an even more walkable, bikable, and livable Twin Cities.

On behalf of the Bike Walk Twin Cities team at TLC, I would like to express the deepest gratitude to all the volunteers and partners who contributed almost 400 hours to this important effort; it really couldn't happen without so many dedicated people helping out.