Have you been wondering why someone shouted questions to you as you rode across the Tilikum Bridge today?
It’s all in the name of data. Metro’s bicycle planner Lake McTighe, Metro Intern Charlie Tso and several volunteers are camped out on the bridge all day today (from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm to be exact) to learn more about how this new crossing of the Willamette River is impacting bicycle travel behaviors. Metro has teamed up on the survey with PBOT, Portland State University, and TriMet.
McTighe said they jumped at the chance to survey Tilikum users as a way to help inform their ongoing work to accurately model bicycle travel. “We want to understand whether or not people are changing the way they travel based on this big investment,” McTighe shared with us during a phone call from atop the span today.
In addition to a survey card that links to an online questionnaire, Metro is doing “shout-out” surveys. McTighe said they heard about this method from Eugene where planners got a 90 percent response rate during a recent bike path survey.
McTighe says the survey has gone well so far and she’s confident they’ll get the 400 responses needed to make it statistically significant. And she’s getting a good laugh from some of the responses. When asked what bridge they used prior to Tilikum, one person shouted back to McTighe, “The Hawthorne is dead to me now.” “I would have had to swim,” another person replied.
Several of the riders McTighe has heard from today said they started biking specifically because of the Tilikum.
Metro plans to repeat this survey effort in six months and then in a year. Stay tuned for a final report where we’ll share the results. And make sure to grab a card when you pass by this afternoon. If you take the survey prior to October 30th you’ll be entered to win one of two $50 Powell’s Books giftcards.