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BikeLongBeach.org advocate Allan Crawford writes:

I thought you might like to see some of the data that are coming out of our most recent bike count. It is about SAFETY!!!

The purpose of this e-mail is to illustrate the impact that bike infrastructure can have on biking and walking in our neighborhoods and in particular on children biking and walking to school.

The e-mail highlights results from the 2011 Long Beach bike count that show a dramatic increase in the number of children walking and biking to school on the Vista Street Bike Boulevard.

If you have any questions about the projects discussed in the e-mail or would like to know more about our bike program and it’s impact please don’t hesitate to reach out to any member of Long Beach’s bike and ped team.

I have also attached a PDF version of the e-mail that may be easier to print and distribute.

This year’s Long Beach bike and pedestrian count showed a dramatic – over 100% – increase in the number of children that ride their bikes to school on the Vista Street bike boulevard.

One of the major goals of our bike and ped program has been to increase the number of children riding bikes and walking to and from school. Data from this years bike count indicate that bike boulevards, such as the Vista Street Bike Boulevard, can have a dramatic impact on these numbers.

This year’s count shows a 100% increase in both the number of children biking and walking to school at the corner of Park and Vista, a major intersection four blocks from an elementary and middle school, where we installed a roundabout to calm traffic and provide a safe crossing for pedestrians and bicyclists.

In late 2010 we installed the Vista Street Bike Boulevard. The intent of the boulevard was to provide bicyclists and pedestrians a safe and appealing place to bike and to walk. And very importantly… to provide a safe route for elementary and middle school children for their daily commute to and from school. One of the specific goals was to at least double the number of children walking and biking to school along this corridor. The numbers from this year’s bike and pedestrian count show that we achieved this goal in only one year.

A major impediment to walking and biking to school was a very busy intersection at Park and Vista. This intersection is only four blocks from a large elementary and middle school. In talking with parents most would not let their children walk or bike through this intersection…they viewed it as too dangerous. To back that up, this intersection had one of the highest accident rates in the area.

To calm traffic and promote bike and pedestrian safety, the city installed at roundabout at this intersection. The two graphs below show the impact that this structure has had on bike and walking. School starts at 8:30 AM – thus most students who walk or bike to school are “on the street” between 8:00 and 8:20. School lets out about 3:00 so most students are again on the street between 3:00 and 3:30 . As the graphs show in the two hour period that captured the students going to school (7:00 – 9:00), there was a 150% percent increase in bicyclists and 100% increase in pedestrians. The bicycle count went from 13 in 2009 to 33 in 2011 and the pedestrian count from 45 to 97.

We are very encouraged by these numbers as well as by interviews with residents in the area. Both the bike and ped count data and the interviews show that traffic calming, which increases the safety for both bicyclists and pedestrians, has a dramatic impact on usage.

The photos below show before and after the roundabout was installed at the Vista and Park intersection. Traffic on Park had typical speeds estimated at over 35 mph and the high volume made it difficult for bicyclists, pedestrians and cars to cross Park Avenue. The result was few bicyclists or pedestrians used the intersection. Speeds have now dropped to under 25mph with four way yields. The result is a much safer intersection with a significant increase in pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

In the near future the city will be developing plans for at least three more bike boulevards, each intended to provide safer primary routes for children going to and from school. We have collected the “before data” in each of these areas so that we can continue to build a data base that documents the impact of these safety related infrastructure projects.

Please don’t hesitate to get hold of any member of our bike and ped team if you have questions about these projects and their impact on pedestrian and bicycle usage.

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Frank Peters

listen to my podcast shows at cdmCyclist.com

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