By Damien Newton, September 4, 2013
“I never see people ride on the existing bike lane, why should we extend it?”
“The census shows that less than 1% of people bicycle, even if a new bike lane doubles the amount of people biking, it’s not worth losing a travel lane/parking lane.”
“Nobody walks in my neighborhood.”
As advocates, you are likely to hear some version of each of these comments. In people’s desperation to cling to their car culture, it seems car culture warriors will trot out the same tired arguments, no matter how often they are beaten down.
But you know what never loses and argument? Data. Cold hard facts are the best answer to conjecture. And the best data comes from the data we collect ourselves.
“This bicycle and pedestrian count is a massive undertaking, requiring 450 volunteers for 900 hours of counting. But the data is worth the effort,” explains Eric Bruins with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. “Because of the counts in 2009 and 2011, we know that bicycling increased 32% during that time generally, and 101% at locations that added new infrastructure. There have been over 150 miles of new bikeways added since the last count, making this year’s count critical for measuring the effectiveness of those investments.”
For the 5th time, the LACBC is doing the work that the City of Los Angeles should be doing and holding a series of bicycle and pedestrian counts next week. This year, Los Angeles Walks is joining them, for a truly multi-modal event. While the counts are next week, volunteers need to go through a short training course being held tonight, tomorrow night or Saturday.
“In a city that counts cars every day, we need to ensure people walking, biking and catching transit are counted as well,” explains Deborah Murphy, the founder and executive director of Los Angeles Walks. “We see the massive volunteer undertaking of the 2013 City of LA Bicycle and Pedestrian Count as an example of how much residents in the City of LA care about creating a city that is safer and more inviting for people to be able to walk, bicycle, and use transit to meet their daily needs.”
Both trainings and counts will take place in all corners of the city. The city has built and painted 150 miles of bike infrastructure in the past three years, and this year’s counts are crucial to show how that investment is paying off.