One month later: Hawthorne bike counter and the Bike Commute Challenge bump

One month later: Hawthorne bike counter and the Bike Commute Challenge bump

bike barometer

(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This weekend will mark one month since the “bicycle barometer” was installed on the Hawthorne Bridge. According to data posted online by the manufacturer of the counter, there have been 180,556 bicycle trips over the bridge since August 7th — or an average of about 6,000 bike trips per day (including weekends).

Yesterday, the counter tallied its highest mark ever with 7,680 trips. That’s 195 more trips than the 7,485 recorded on the Bridge Pedal Sunday of August 12th, and 248 more trips than the third highest tally of 7,432 that was recording on opening day.

See daily trip counts on the counter’s homepage.

My hunch is that, in addition to the nice warm and dry weather we’re having, September is poised for a bump in bike traffic due to the BTA’s Bike Commute Challenge. That event pits teams of local businesses and organizations against each other in a friendly competition to see who makes the most bike trips. So far, nearly 7,000 riders are logging trips and there are over 1,100 teams participating. It will be fun to see what impact that event has on September’s numbers.

For their part, PBOT is sitting back and watching the data roll in. “Everything’s working well,” says the head of the city’s bicycle program, Roger Geller, “There were some initial kinks making sure the display was receiving the data from both sides of the bridge, but those have been worked out.”

Beyond that, a bit of feedback I’ve heard is that it’s unfortunate the counter display is placed in the westbound direction because commuters (both in cars and on bikes) see a much lower number. Since the whole idea of counter is to promote bicycling and impress people with the large number, this isn’t ideal. The counter location is also very hard to see due to sun glare. According to PBOT, the location was chosen because it was the most suitable place that wouldn’t block the biking/walking path and it’s a “gateway to downtown.”

With one month under its belt, what do you think about the counter?

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