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Portland’s first-ever 24-hour bike count shows bike traffic on Ankeny never stops

Posted by on May 20th, 2015 at 9:21 am

everybikecounts

The city’s hour-by-hour count sheet.
(Photo courtesy PBOT)

Portland: the city of bikeways that never sleep.

A 24-hour count of bike traffic at the corner of Southeast Ankeny and 28th Avenue observed 2,231 bike trips from noon on Thursday, May 14 to noon on Friday, May 15. In the busiest hour, 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, 325 bikes went past; in the least busy, 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Saturday, six bikes did.

“I think one of our event volunteers said it best,” Taylor Sutton, a city worker who helped organize the first 24-hour count, said in an email Tuesday. “There’s never not a bike on Ankeny.”

Portland’s 10 years of peak-hour bike count data at dozens of locations around the city would be the envy of almost any city in the world. But those counts neglect the many commuters who don’t work traditional office hours, not to mention many of the non-work trips that account for more than 80 percent of our transportation. Sutton said the 24-hour bike count was intended as a way to enrich the city’s understanding of other hours of the day.

Though the data is being used in part to assess and calibrate the city’s experiment with cheap automated bike counters, Sutton said it’s mostly intended as research for research’s sake rather than intended to answer a specific question.

“Ultimately, Every Bike Counts was a celebration for people riding their bike, regardless of destination or peak commute times; sometimes taking the opportunity to sit back and observe is a good place to start to find the questions,” Sutton said.

The event required 30 staff hours and 48 volunteer hours, including people to work a table where the city offered giveaways donated by local businesses and collected information about the origins and destinations of passers-by.

“We chose this intersection because we knew there would be a lot of bikes there (Ankeny & 28th was in the top 20 high-volume sites in last year’s count, out of 217 counted) and it is centrally located,” Sutton said. “The intersection is also a great combination of neighborhood greenway (Ankeny) and business district (28th).”

In addition to the number of bikes, Portland turned up some potentially useful information about the proportion of people riding with lights at night:

Screenshot 2015-05-20 at 8.18.21 AM

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The purpose of people’s trips (at least among those who chose to stop and chat):

Screenshot 2015-05-20 at 8.20.54 AM

And the direction of the trip (the darker purple line is Ankeny eastbound, away from downtown; the lighter purple line is Ankeny westbound; dark green is 28th northbound; and light green is 28th northbound).

Screenshot 2015-05-20 at 8.23.34 AM

The event also observed 26 skateboard trips; the peak skateboarding hour was 7 to 8 p.m. on Friday, when five were observed:

Screenshot 2015-05-20 at 8.22.36 AM

You can see the city’s full data summary here.

Sutton said the event was also, in part, a way to raise awareness of the city’s regular peak-hour bike counts, which rely heavily on volunteers. (Volunteers can choose any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from June through September to conduct counts.) A bike count training, required for first-time volunteers but optional for others, is next Tuesday.

“We could always use more volunteers!” Sutton said.

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coltonJesse BMichael Andersen (News Editor)Chris ITerry D-M Recent comment authors
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Terry D-M
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Terry D-M

Maybe we should let their business association know. I wonder how many of these businesses have lost customers because of their activism surrounding the preservation of their Precious Parking on 28th?

I know I have not spent any money on that corridor since then, and Ankeny is my most used bikeway. There are plenty of other places to eat, drink and be merry at……..so now, I look at that corridor as just a stop sign.

Indy
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Indy

I love this street. It’s changing like Division is, though. Some really cool structures going up, and some really dreadfully boring ones, too.

As a West sider, it’s one of my most frequent rides on the East side.

Kyle
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Kyle

“The intersection is also a great combination of neighborhood greenway (Ankeny) and business district (28th).”

Too bad it’s difficult to get to the businesses. I live near this intersection and I’ve seen more and more cyclists using the sidewalks to cross Burnside and get to/from businesses on 28th. Such a shame the businesses have flat-out rejected, with prejudice, making their neighbourhood safer for bikes.

John
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John

Not that anyone cares, but I’ve continued to spend the same amount of money at the restaurants on 28th as before — I’ve just chosen to only eat at the restaurants that did not sign the petition. Pambiche instead of Dove Vivi, Navarre instead of LaBuca. Wolf & Bear instead of the Grilled Cheese Grill. Personal victory – the Grilled Cheese Grill closed and moved out.

J_R
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J_R

There are some really interesting things in this data set.

The peak hour (5-6 pm on Thursday) accounts for 14.6 percent of the daily volume (177/2231). This is significantly higher than the typical 10 percent of weekday volumes that are associated with auto travel. This suggests we should be especially cautious about extrapolating weekday counts from shorter-duration hourly counts.

The percentage of trips by purpose for bicycle trips appears to be somewhat consistent with those of auto drivers, though there are some differences that may need some further work.

There is an apparent discrepancy between the statement by Sutton (who stated that more than 80 percent of trips were non-work trips) and the graph that clearly shows more than one-quarter of trips were destined for work.

Another issue relates to the travel purpose question. Typically, travel by purpose data sets defines “work trips” as both those going to work or returning home from work. If we adopt that definition of work trips (and assume every trip to work is matched with a trip home from work), we get a very different conclusion from this data. This suggests that “work trips” are about twice as likely to be taken by bike than by auto.

It’s really great to have this information. I hope it leads to more. Thanks to all the volunteers who participated.

Jonathan Radmacher
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Jonathan Radmacher

Although the graph makes it hard to tell the extent of the issue, there are a surprising number of riders without lights, during hours when the absence of a light could be particularly dangerous.

mikeybikey
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mikeybikey

Pretty cool. Although looking at the full PBOT report, I find it disheartening that they bothered w/ a helmet vs. no helmet count. There are lots of other stats that would have been more interesting and useful It is hard to have faith that PBOT has its head on straight and is ahead of the biking curve when someone there thinks helmet counts are more important than say counting the # of people biking w/ kids vs. those biking w/o.

Scott H
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Scott H

People that drive places do so at all hours. I wouldn’t expect people that bike places to behave very differently. ( I’m not saying the data isn’t useful, just that I’m not surprised by it )

Champs
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Champs

Ankeny skews outbound, yet it’s (generally) the best option near Burnside. Where’s the inbound coming from and why?

Fanning outbound from Ankeny/28th there is a difficult crossing at 39th, the greenway ends at 41st, and there are hills in all directions. What changes would increase ridership on that route?

There are 12 sections of pie chart, but only eight labels. What are the four unlabeled slivers?

Bald One
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Bald One

I’m curious about the photo showing the tally sheet with the thermometer-style graphic with the hand-filled, different-colored fill-up… what is this? It looks like a classic fund-raiser graphic poster – “just 100 more cyclists and we will achieve our funding goal for new infrastructure”. I guess the city haven’t yet anted up for some data analytics software and instead are using the same worksheets my kids are using in PPS.

shirtsoff
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shirtsoff

It’s a good feeling knowing that I’m one of the six bikes keeping Ankeny rolling ever during its slowest hour of the day. 😉

Jesse B
Guest
Jesse B

As a comparison.

From 7am to 6pm on a sunny day:

Ankeny Corridor: 1390 Bicyclists
SW Moody Corridor: 1350 Bicyclists

These corridors are the bicycle arterials of Portland!