San Diego

Is the North Park bike counter correct?

CBS 8 recorded the bike counter double-counting bikes, counting autos and never counting some cyclists.

SAN DIEGO — The bike counter that the City of San Diego put in alongside thirtieth avenue in North Park is miscounting the variety of bicycle riders that trip by the busy stretch of Uptown.

CBS 8 was available to observe the newly-installed bike counter tick up when a automobile was parked in the bike lane and watched some single cyclists get counted twice.

Cycling advocates say they by no means anticipated the counter to be 100-percent correct, whereas some residents and business house owners say the inflated rely solely validates what they’ve lengthy believed to be the case, that the use of the new protected bike lane alongside thirtieth Street is way decrease than the metropolis has claimed it to be.

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Business house owners and a few residents oppose the protected bike lanes. They say the elimination of parking has put the brakes on foot visitors of their shops and eating places and really feel the lanes must be positioned alongside extra residential streets.

Cyclists and others, nevertheless, say San Diego must shift from a car-centric mindset to a extra pedestrian-dominant life-style. Doing so will sluggish local weather change and at the identical time enhance foot-foot visitors in neighborhood business districts. More importantly, they are saying protected bike lanes will guarantee the security of cyclists and transfer the metropolis nearer to its aim of zero pedestrian deaths.

Pat Sexton has suspected the each day bike owner rely is off. She doesn’t see proof of a whole bunch of cyclists commuting down thirtieth Street like the counter exhibits them to be. 

In February, Sexton claims she was strolling alongside thirtieth when she and her pal noticed the bike counter tick up with none bikes or scooters in sight. 

“My question has all the time been, ‘Was it calibrated before it was installed, once it was installed, and how frequently has it been calibrated since?’ I’ve not had these questions answered,” mentioned Sexton.

On June 1, CBS 8 monitored the bike counter to look at its accuracy.

Over the course of almost three hours, CBS 8 noticed roughly 50 cyclists pedal previous the tracker. During that point, 6 cyclists had been counted twice. A big armored truck that stopped in the bike lane was additionally counted as a bike. 

CBS 8 additionally witnessed two events the place bikes weren’t counted as nicely.

Liz Saba owns Presley & Co Fine Jewelers, three blocks from the bike counter. Saba is one in all a number of business house owners who fought the metropolis proposal to take away the avenue parking in entrance of their companies with a view to set up the protected bike lanes. She says her retailer, in addition to others close by, has seen a drop in gross sales since the lanes went in.

“I know of at least three other businesses that are going to be closing soon because the rent keeps going up but there’s no parking. There’s no business. so they’re going out and trying to find locations in other areas.” 

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Added Saba, “We’ve seen an enormous decline, thirty or forty % some months.  As quickly as the bike lanes went in, our business dropped considerably”

Saba says she has suspected the counter was not correct.

“The counter has a mind of its own. Sometimes the count goes up two, sometimes it’s three. Nobody will come out and fix it so how can we ever get an accurate count when the counter does what it wants to do?”

Sexton and others have already approached the metropolis and transportation division officers about the inaccurate rely. They need assurance that the metropolis won’t use the inflated numbers as justification for added protected bike lanes equivalent to the one proposed for Park Boulevard in University Heights. 

“If it isn’t calibrated, then all these thousands of numbers that are on here, they’re all fraudulent numbers, you know, they’re not truthful. They’re not accurate,” mentioned Sexton. “I hope the counter is made to be accurate and that will dispel the wild numbers.”

But biking advocates say the bike counter and the variety of cyclists that use the lanes is barely a small a part of the bigger image. They say the protected bike lanes save lives and maintain cyclists secure from distracted drivers.

“The biggest benefit to bike lanes is always safety.  We know that protected bike-ways like the ones that were installed on 30th Street are nine times safer than standard shared lanes,” mentioned Will Rhatigan, Advocacy Director for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

As far as the counter goes, Rhatigan says that whereas some minor discrepancies might occur, the general system is reliable and used worldwide.

“It’s not completely correct,” Rhatigan said. “I’ve ridden over it and never been counted many occasions. I’m positive you probably have a very heavy cargo bike, it’s attainable you’ll be counted twice however it’s pretty correct. This is a technology that’s used throughout the nation by transportation planners to make choices. So individuals saying it’s completely inaccurate is totally ridiculous. It’s confirmed technology. It’s not going to get you an ideal quantity but it surely will get you very near what the actual variety of individuals using on the avenue is.”

Meanwhile, metropolis spokesperson Anthony Santacroce, says the counter helps present the metropolis with precious info.

“We are connecting this City with safer, separated lanes for bicycles and other micro-mobility options and aiming to achieve our Climate Action goals in the process,” mentioned Santacroce. “Bike counters, like the one on 30th Street, help us to understand how successful our efforts have been and where we can make further improvements. While we don’t have a true pre-bike lane baseline comparison, what we see from the data are encouraging numbers and an educated inference suggests that the lanes have produced increased use and ridership.”

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