09/30/09

We Count: Bike Walk Twin Cities Conducts Yearly Bicycle and Pedestrian CountsWe Count: Bike Walk Twin Cities Conducts Yearly Bicycle and Pedestrian Counts

On Tuesday and Wednesday September 8 and 9, Bike Walk Twin Cities volunteers were out counting pedestrians and bicycles at 42 locations in and around Minneapolis. As part of the Non-Motorized Pilot Program, Bike Walk Twin Cities is measuring the amount of bicycling and walking within our program area to evaluate if increased investments in planning, education, and infrastructure result in more people walking and bicycling for transportation.

Beyond providing essential measurement for the Bike Walk Twin Cities program, these counts are providing a better understanding of walking and biking in the Twin Cities and helping to inform planners and decision makers about the need to provide for pedestrians and bicyclists in all transportation projects.

In addition to the Bike Walk Twin Cities effort, counts were being conducted throughout the month by volunteers working with other agencies, including the City of Minneapolis Department of Public Works and the University of Minnesota (estimated 80 locations), St. Paul Smart Trips (three counts in Union Park neighborhood in St. Paul), The Bike Edina Task Force (eight locations in Edina), and The St. Paul Bicycle Advisory Board (15 locations in St Paul). In all there were counts at roughly 150 locations in the Twin Cities.

Our count results are supported by national data, the recently released American Community Survey data from the US census bureau provides more evidence that walking and biking are strong in Minneapolis. The survey shows that, in 2008, biking to work increased to 4.3% of all commuters, up from 3.8 in 2007, while walking is slightly down but still strong, accounting for 6.1% of work trips (down from 6.4% but with a margin of error of .7%). That means roughly 10% of commutes to Minneapolis are human powered! Minneapolis, despite its cold winters, has the second highest bike commute among major cities (over 200,000 population), trailing only Portland, where biking jumped to 6%.

The Bike Walk Twin Cities team and the other agencies will be processing and combining the results of this massive count effort and reporting the results to the community.

This year's counts also received some great media attention. The Downtown Journal and the Minnesota Daily both ran stories highlighting the counts.

Bike Walk Twin Cities would like to thank all of the volunteers who donated time and energy to make this year's annual count a huge success. To learn more about the Bike Walk Twin Cities program evaluation, visit the evaluation section website.