Archive for Thursday, September 16, 2010

Count of bicyclists, pedestrians under way in Lawrence

Chuck Wehner, of Lawrence, works at his station near downtown on Thursday, counting pedestrians and bicyclists who go by. He is among dozens of volunteers who are tallying the numbers to determine where there’s a need for more paths, crosswalks and bike lanes.

Chuck Wehner, of Lawrence, works at his station near downtown on Thursday, counting pedestrians and bicyclists who go by. He is among dozens of volunteers who are tallying the numbers to determine where there’s a need for more paths, crosswalks and bike lanes.

September 16, 2010, 1:53 p.m. Updated September 16, 2010, 3:10 p.m.


Lawrence bikers, walkers counted

Volunteers were hanging out around Lawrence Thursday counting the number of bicyclists and pedestrians sharing roadways in town. The numbers, which will be collected Saturday as well, will help the city get a better idea of how many more bike lanes and shared-use paths are needed. Enlarge video

If you ride a bike or walk in Lawrence, you may be counted.

Reader poll
Have you ridden a bike in the last six months?

or See the results without voting


About 35 volunteers are assisting the city and county with a bike and pedestrian count to determine where there is a need for more paths, crosswalks and bike lanes. The count was under way at some sites Thursday and will continue through the weekend.

Transportation planner Jessica Mortinger said last year’s inaugural count, not surprisingly, found a lot of traffic near campus.

“From the proximity maps that we had done we found a lot of volume and density in the center core of the city, so that would be around the university and closer to downtown,” Mortinger said.

Last year, 1,112 pedestrians and 787 bicyclists were counted. A total of 61 percent of cyclists used sidewalks, while the remainder used the road. And only 34 percent of cyclists were wearing helmets.

This year, there are 12 counting locations throughout the city. Planners added an additional spot in west Lawrence to determine the impact of new construction and population growth. In an effort not to skew the numbers, the count locations are not being made public.

“We want the counts to accurately reflect an average travel day,” Mortinger said.

Counting is done the old-fashioned way, with just a pencil and paper, but the data will eventually wind up in a nationwide database.

Mortinger said Lawrence ranks well above the state average for the number of walkers and cyclists on the road.

“Lawrence is a very walkable city,” she added. “There are a lot of environmental and sustainability issues that encourage people to choose bikes or to walk or run for fitness, and there is a lot of culture in this city that promotes walking and biking.”

Lifetime bicyclist Kelly Barth said it’s true. She moved to Lawrence from Kansas City in 1992 because the city fits her lifestyle.

“It’s primarily for environmental reasons,” Barth said. “I want to reduce my carbon footprint, and it’s also easier to park a bike than it is to find a place for a 2,000-pound car. And I can get plenty of exercise.”


Emily Campbell 7 years, 2 months ago

how about counting the cyclists that don't obey traffic laws? (I didn't mention cars because that's not what they're looking at ... so don't get upset!)

parrothead8 7 years, 2 months ago

Probably because that would do little to accomplish the stated goal: " determine where there is a need for more paths, crosswalks and bike lanes."

Emily Campbell 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes, but before the update to this article they mentioned counting those cyclists wearing helmets too which doesn't help to determine paths, crosswalks and bike lanes either.

BigPrune 7 years, 2 months ago

Why didn't they widen Clinton Parkway to 6 lanes instead of putting in 10' wide concrete bike lanes on each side of the road? It's a great thing when the bike paths in this town (used by about 1%-2% of the population) are far nicer and better constructed than our roads for the demon automobile. I guess it's called subsidizing a hobby at taxpayer's expense. I wonder what a cost/benefit analysis would say about all these bike paths?

parrothead8 7 years, 2 months ago

"Subsidizing a hobby" means building "all these bike paths" you speak of? Bike paths that cover about 1% of the areas that roads do and go very few places most people need to go? And you think it's more important to have two more lanes on some road that will allow you to get to your destination 8 seconds sooner? Is getting somewhere a little bit sooner in your car that much more important than someone else getting there at all on her bike?

Chuck Wehner 7 years, 2 months ago

Also the bike, pedestrian paths are built much less stronger than the roads. So they probably cost much less also.

broadpaw 7 years, 2 months ago

omega is right, sidewalks cost peanuts compared to roads that require extensive soil compaction, sub-grade drainage layers, steel reinforcement, and then finally concrete. not to mention that the clinton parkway path is one of the most used in the west half of the city.

BigPrune 7 years, 2 months ago

I watched the construction....looked like concrete reinforced with rebar and 6" of concrete. Not bad for a light weight bicycle used about 10 times an hour at its peek hour, but then someone told me this was Federally funded by pork barrell money provided by Barney loves Frank - I don't know if this is true...but it could explain why our roads suck but bike paths are great.

Jake Esau 7 years, 2 months ago

Clinton Parkway doesn't need 6 lanes...

BigPrune 7 years, 2 months ago

You must be too young to drive an automobile, or perhaps you are driven around in a limousine.

Tim Quest 7 years, 2 months ago

Reading comprehension is a skill you evidently don't possess.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 2 months ago

Bicycles do not wear down surfaces such that motorized vehicles do = bike paths a best bang for the tax buck.

Roads for thousands of one person motorized cars and trucks require lots of local big government tax dollars = one huge tax dollar budget item in perpetual motion

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 2 months ago

Do you haul your lawn mowers with your bike or do you use a truck?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

cozy 7 years, 2 months ago

Oh god, don't tell them about it. Then the fair-weather cyclists will be out in force for their "cause". Costing more money for bike paths and bike lanes that the cyclists ride on the line (in traffic) so you still have to wait behind them. Not to mention the hazards when many cyclists don't obey traffic laws.

kernal 7 years, 2 months ago

While you're out there canvessing pedestrians and cyclists, make note of all the morons who drive in the bike lanes. I'm seeing too many people doing that when I'm driving around town.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 2 months ago

  1. Theo Hayes, you really rock on TV. glad you've started here.

  2. Jessica, Lawrence is not a very walkable city. a lot of people walk because of the population here. take a look at the city's study of the condition of sidewalks!
    ol' Simon Gilmore once said it right that he walked down the middle of the street because it was safer than trying to walk where the sidewalk was supposed to be! lol.

please, just fix sidewalks. put in sidewalks where they are absent.

pedestrians often walk in the street because of the missing or bad sidewalks, putting themselves at high risk of being hit.

yankeevet 7 years, 2 months ago

The guy in the chair looks awful unhappy; whats up wit dat??

Richard Heckler 7 years, 2 months ago

Ray LaHood: “This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”

When the Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood stood on a table at the National Bike Summit to thank the crowd and show his support for bicycling and walking, he was just getting started.

Today, he announced his new Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations. It is simply the strongest statement of support for prioritizing bicycling and walking ever to come from a sitting secretary of transportation.

On his blog, he writes:

Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.

We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

To set this approach in motion, we have formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities:

    * Treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.
    * Ensure convenient access for people of all ages and abilities.
    * Go beyond minimum design standards.
    * Collect data on walking and biking trips.
    * Set a mode share target for walking and bicycling.
    * Protect sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected (for example, snow removal)
    * Improve nonmotorized facilities during maintenance projects.

Tim Quest 7 years, 2 months ago

Let's also hope we see a real (not just lip service) focus on upgrading public and rail transit infrastructure. But that's a good start.

And I am more of a "car guy" than anyone here, I assure you. Loving cars/driving and being pro-cycling/walking/public transit are NOT mutually exclusive, despite what some of the morons here would say.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 2 months ago

Are potholes still good traffic-calming devices, merrill?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 2 months ago

Feministing hipped me to this amazing video from Utrecht, a city of about 300,000 in the Netherlands, where one-third of all trips are made by bicycle.

The video shows a busy—but never too gummed-up!—intersection during rush hour. Utne’s hometown of Minneapolis is a great city for cycling.

tparman 7 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for the story--I was wondering what the man in the lawn chair was doing on 19th Street!

puddleglum 7 years, 2 months ago

for a second there, I thought you were making a cool reference to FOX news....then i REALIZED you are just another sheep in the henhouse.

puddleglum 7 years, 2 months ago

they are all volunteers....why don't you go volunteer so you can Fox news your own results?

Joe Hyde 7 years, 2 months ago

The statistic from last year's survey that shows only 34% of cyclists were wearing a helmet, that is not encouraging. No helmet = No brains.

remember_username 7 years, 2 months ago

How is this going to be a realistic count? By advertising the fact that there is a count taking place the numbers are easily manipulated and as the volunteers are obvious keeping the locations unannounced does little to keep the numbers accurate. No wonder traffic is chaotic for a town this size if our planners rely on such unscientific methods for data collection.

Brian Laird 7 years, 2 months ago

H_M, Maybe arrogant characters (I had a stronger word, but restrained myself) like you need to realize that pedestrians and bicyclists pay into the system just like you do and are entitled to some share of the resulting infrastructure. Why should your perceived needs take precedent over those of others? Why would you choose to view your freedom as more important that of pedestrians and bicyclists.

Your crybaby avatar is quite fitting for you.

"Why would anyone want to ride a bike to work or to shop so when they get there they smell like BO?"

Maybe they are fitter than you and don't sweat as much as you would.

kenos 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm getting tired of this paper promoting the long disproved theory of anthropogenic global warming. Kelly Barth's quote was highlighted in the paper. Anyway, you actually increase your carbon output while riding a bicycle because you breathe harder and put out more CO2. I love to ride a bicycle; but it's not because of carbon dioxide, it's because it's more enjoyable and much cheaper.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 2 months ago

Introducing the Obama administration's Non-Automotive Traffic Czar! (Pictured above)

beatrice 7 years, 2 months ago

17,865 17,866 17,867 ... no, wait a second. Didn't I already count that guy in the KU t-shirt when he walked past earlier? Did I?

Oh shoot.

1 2 3 ...

Commenting has been disabled for this item.