Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 23rd, 2013 at 1:00 pm
The Oregon Department of Transportation just received shipment of an automated counter similar to the one in use on the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland. After ODOT Region 1 Transit and Active Transportation Liaison tweeted a picture of the new counter today, we followed up and learned a bit more about where it's headed.
Horning says the counter will be installed on the new segment of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail that is set to open on September 15th. As Horning shared in a guest article here on BikePortland back in May, ODOT has been investing millions to renovate and re-build the Historic Columbia River Highway's eleven miles that are set aside exclusively for hiking and biking. In September, ODOT plans to celebrate the opening of a 1.6 mile section that connects John B. Yeon State Park in Warrendale to the existing restored section of the state trail at the Moffett Creek Bridge (towards Cascade Locks).
The new counter is the Eco-Multi model by Eco-Counter, the same company that made Portland's counter. Horning says due to limited cell phone coverge, their new counter in the Gorge won't have a visual display or daily uploads to a website like the Hawthorne counter. However, ODOT will regularly download the data so staff and the public can have an accurate count of path users. The counter will also tally all path users (not just people riding bicycles) thanks to what the company calls, "the Smart Connect," technology, "which is able to prioritize choices in order to classify the different user types."
Funding for the $5,000 counter came from the same pot of money that is normally used for the state's manual trail counts. ODOT granted a special request to try this automated counter pilot program.
In other Historic Highway State Trail news... On August 2nd, an invite-only ride featuring regional dignitaries and advocates will get a closer look at the new path and other wonders of biking in the Gorge. The ninth annual "Voyage of the Visionaries" — also known as the Policymakers Ride (organized by Cycle Oregon) — will take participants 26 miles from the Women's Forum to Cascade Locks Marine Park.