Posts Categorized in 'Counts'
Tracking preferred bike routes in southeast Baltimore has been a challenge. Scheduled bike counts at President & Aliceanna, President & Fleet and occasionally at President & Fawn/Eastern did not reveal any higher than average traffic numbers indicating a preferred route entering downtown from Fells Point, Canton or points east. Online and in-person surveys also did not assist which corridor was preferred. Bank and Gough Streets proved good ‘bike boulevard’ routes, but only for through bike traffic heading to Butcher’s Hill or Highlandtown.
The advent of Strava has shed light on this mystery! Strava is generally used by more seasoned riders who like to track their riding statistics. Seasoned riders tend to be the 1%ers, brave and fearless cyclists. By reviewing Strava’s Race Shape heat map, a good base for where people are riding emerges. Given that premise, the below map illustrates that Fleet Street (in dark blue) is used more as a bike route well into Canton, than Aliceanna Street or Eastern Avenue. Even as Aliceanna Street is marked as a bike route, along with Fait Avenue, there’s more bike traffic on Fleet and President Streets.
With Fleet Street being the preferred east/west bike route from the Inner Harbor through Fells Point and into Canton, a few options are available for improved bicycle infrastructure.
Option #1 – of course, would to do nothing and add sharrows to the existing lane configuration.
Option #2 - With approximately 42′ of roadway space from curb to curb, adding a bike lane in one direction (likely eastbound) with a shared lane (westbound) would slightly improve bicycle level of comfort. Adding an inverse lane configuration with a westbound bike lane on Aliceanna or Eastern would be practical.
Option #3 - To centralize bicycle traffic along the Fleet Street corridor, providing more adequate bicycle facilities would be necessary. To provide two bike lanes along this length, removing on-street parking along one side of the street would be necessary.
Option #4 - If a row of on-street parking was removed to truly increase bicycle level of comfort, providing a bi-directional buffered bike lane would really do the trick. The buffer could be treated with bollards, landscaping or (like other Baltimore bike improvements) furniture and sculptures. Displaced parking could be accommodated at Canton Crossing or Eastpoint Mall where bikeshare stations or an enhanced transit hub could be established.
Last month, with the help of local volunteers, Baltimore City Department of Transportation documented morning and afternoon bike commuter traffic at four locations around the city. From 7:30 – 9:30 am and 4 – 6 pm, bikes were counted at Falls Road & Maryland Avenue, Guilford Avenue & Mt. Royal Avenue, Pratt Street & Market Place and Aliceanna Street & Boston Street. Parked bikes were also counted at Penn Station. In addition to overall bike traffic numbers, volunteers tracked direction of travel, helmet use and gender of cyclist.
- 3,025 bikes were counted at the above locations
- 29% of cyclists were women
- 63% of riders used helmets
- Highest count took place at Pratt & Market on Thursday, September 26 from 4-6pm with 264 cyclists
How does this compare to counts in the past?
This September’s weather conditions could not have been more perfect for biking. 60-70 degree temperatures in the morning were optimal for post-summer: cool enough not to sweat, warm enough not to need extra layers. The dry weather forecast for the week held true and no rain, snow or heavy fog occurred. Bike counts for May 2013 and September 2012 featured heavy rain, hail and thunderstorms which made for lower than average bike traffic. As the bike counts proved: Cyclists do not like to ride in inclement weather. Near perfect weather conditions occurred in September 2010, which provides a good basis for comparison to September 2013. When comparing these counts:
- Baltimore showed a 65% increase in bike traffic!
- Women ridership is up 45%
- Helmet use stayed flat at 63%. Helmet use has fluctuated between 63 and 65%. That’s not much of a fluctuation given the steady increase in overall traffic and varied weather conditions.
- Bicycle traffic has doubled at Guilford Avenue & Mt. Royal where the Jones Falls Trail and bike boulevard meet.
Adopting bicycles in urban centers as a transport option has shown to improve human health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lower one’s carbon footprint. However, cities investing in bicycle infrastructure face numerous challenges, such as the high risk for bicycle-related injuries if adequate infrastructure and planning is not implemented.
To address safety concerns, researchers Sauleh Siddiqui, Kavi Bhalla, and David Love will use a mathematical framework to quantify and analyze health impacts in Baltimore’s transport settings, while also drawing on knowledge of local government officials and the Baltimore bicycle community. The broader aim for this research is to develop a framework to tackle general urban infrastructure so that cities as a whole benefit from safe, attractive and comfortable transportation, including bicyclists, pedestrians, drivers, commuters and residents in general.
The Making Baltimore Bicycle Friendly project is led by a research team at Johns Hopkins and is sponsored by the Environment, Energy, Sustainability and Health Institute (E2SHI) of Johns Hopkins University. Each volunteer will receive a gift! Counts will take place NEXT WEEK on Oct 29 – Oct 31 at 10 locations across central Baltimore. Sign up today to help out!
Just as Baltimore City performs (very wet) bike counts this week, the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) is getting in on documenting bicycle and pedestrian traffic. The BMC is requesting proposals from contractors will work with representatives from BMC staff, Maryland State Highway Administration and BMC member jurisdictions to develop a common data framework for storing, displaying, analyzing and sharing bicycle and pedestrian count data among the state and local governments. The contractor will collect bicycle and pedestrian data using agreed upon technologies at locations at 19 locations in the Baltimore region (none in Baltimore City) May through June 2013.
Click here for more info
As noted in the Spring 2013 e-newsletter, the Baltimore Department of Transportation (DOT) is registering volunteers for the spring bike counts on May 7th, 8th and 9th. Counts take place during morning and evening rush hour from 7:30 to 9:30 am and from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. Using the data collected, DOT has documented a 50% increase in bicycle commuter traffic over the past few years.
As in years past, counts will take place at several locations including
- Falls Road and Maryland Avenue
- Guilford Avenue and Mt. Royal Avenue
- Aliceanna Street and Boston Street
- Keswick Avenue and Wyman Park Drive
- Pratt Street and Market Place
In planning for new bicycle infrastructure, DOT is performing counts at
- Park Avenue and Fayette Street
- Guilford Avenue and Fayette Street
These counts will be used to establish a baseline of measurement before the improvements are made. If you are interested in helping verify Baltimore’s bicycle traffic, please register online here
Mark your calendar for January 15th, 16th & 17th, 2013 when Baltimore will be conducting its 3rd wintertime bike counts. Baltimore experienced a 137% increase in winter bike commuting from 2011 to 2012. These counts will continue to monitor the level of cycling. Volunteers are needed to brave the elements this January and tbulate bike traffic at:
- Guilford & Mt. Royal Avenues
- Pratt Street & Market Place
- Falls Road & Maryland Avenue
- Aliceanna & Boston Streets and
- Keswick Avenue & Wyman Park Drive
Count times will be from 7:30 to 9:30 am and 4:00 to 6:00 pm.
SIGN UP HERE to verify Baltimore’s 2013 wintertime bicycle traffic!
With the assistance of 27 local volunteers, the Baltimore Department of Transportation tabulated bicycle commuter traffic at 8 different locations around the City of Baltimore on September 18th, 19th & 20th, 2012. Locations were selected based on active bicycle routes at:
Falls Road and Maryland Avenue (on the Jones Falls Trail)
Guilford Avenue and Mt. Royal Avenue (junction of bicycle boulevard & future Jones Falls Trail)
Aliceanna Street and Boston Street (Inner Harbor to Brewer’s Hill bike route)
Aliceanna Street and President Street (Inner Harbor to Brewer’s Hill bike route)
Pratt Street and Market Place (Future Jones Falls Trail & Inner Harbor to Brewer’s Hill bike route)
Roland Avenue and University Parkway (junction of two bike lanes)
Keswick Avenue and Wyman Park Drive (junction of bicycle route & Jones Falls Trail)
Guilford Avenue and 32nd Street (northern end of bicycle boulevard)
Parked bicycles were also tabulated at two high-demand bicycle parking areas at Penn Station and the Candler Building (111 Market Place)
The results of the bicycle counts confirmed the trend of increased bicycle ridership:
3,002 bicycles were counted
381 parked bicycles were counted at Penn Station and the Candler Building
14.89% increase from May 2012 (up from 2,613)
0.08% decrease from September 2011 as Tuesday, September 18th afternoon featured severe thunderstorms (compared to three fair weather days in September
48% increase when comparing fair weather days this September with sunny days in September 2011 at the same locations
63% increase at the southern end of the new Guilford Avenue Bike Boulevard (when comparing fair weather days this September 2012 with September 2011)
Percentage of woman cyclists is up 2% from 22% in September 2011
Helmet use remains constant at 67% overall
According to the chart above, the greatest increase in cycling occurred where bicycle infratstructure improvements have recently been made . Numbers are up at both ends of the Guilford Avenue bicycle boulevard (at both 32nd Street and Mt. Royal Avenue). As the Jones Falls Trail around the Inner Harbor continues construction, noticable bike traffic increase has taken place at Pratt & Market. These are both examples of ”If you build it, they will come” theory in action.
The next bicycle counts in Baltimore will take place January 15th, 16th and 17th.
Despite a very rainy start, volunteers for the Department of Transportation are collecting bicycle traffic data this week. From 7:30 – 9:30 am and 4 -6 pm, volunteers at 7 locations around town are noting the number and gender of cyclists as well as helmet use and direction of travel.
These counts verify:
- That there really are more people riding – up 50% in 3 years
- A greater percentage of women (35-40%) are riding which means we’re creating bike infrastructure that’s more comfortable for more to use
- Turning movements at intersections to verify safety of new improvements or determine need for better bike infrastructure
- The need for more bike parking at Penn Station
- (in some cases) where cyclists are choosing to ride on the sidewalk due to challenging road conditions
Even with the rain, there were still many out braving the deluge!
With only 2 weeks left until the September bike counts (18th, 19th & 20th), the Department of Transportation could use some more assistance. Volunteers are needed at the (very active) intersection of Guilford Avenue & Mt. Royal Avenue as well as Falls Rd & Maryland Avenue, Aliceanna & Boston and Aliceanna & President.
If you can lend a hand, sign up here!
As Friday’s bike party indicated, more people are riding!