North Park bike counter still counts twice as number of cyclists drops


CBS 8 revisits the bike counter in North Park and finds a number of double counts.

SAN DIEGO — Since the installation of separate bike lanes along 30th Street in North Park last year, they’ve proven useful for many cyclists who prefer to get around the neighborhood by bike.

So how many people are using the new lanes?

CBS 8 sent reporter Brian White to North Park to speak with cyclists.

“Honestly, I never use my car now because I cycle everywhere,” said Aixa Willoughby. “I work from home, so it’s great. I love it.”

“Every day, at least twice a day,” said Janice Williams. “I ride my bike everywhere.”

The bicycle counting device at the corner of 30th Street and University Avenue provides insight into cyclists and scooters passing over nearby sensors.

Since its installation in January, the counter has totaled just under 100,000 runners. After receiving reports of double counting by the machine, CBS 8 observed it on Monday. October 24 from noon to 2:30 p.m. when the counting device records 55 passages of runners. We saw double counts happen 12 times during this time so the true number was 43 runners instead of 55 during the two and a half hours we were there.

“The city has done its research and confirmed that this thing is very accurate,” said Will Rhatigan, advocacy director for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. “Of course, like anything else, he’s going to miss some people. He’ll double count someone once in a while. Nothing is perfect.”

Some business owners along 30th Street protested the bike lanes being installed because the city removed more than 400 parking spaces to do so.

“There are definitely fewer customers coming here and those who do will let me know they drove around for 15 minutes trying to find a parking space,” said Liz Saba, owner of Presley and Company Fine. Jewellers. “I have the impression that the traffic has dropped considerably. I feel like I saw about a third of the cyclists we’ve seen before when they first set up the bike lane.

The monthly cycle counter figures show a peak of over 12,000 cyclists in July and a steady decrease every month since then with less than 10,000 cyclists last month. CBS 8 contacted the City of San Diego Department of Transportation regarding the recent drop in ridership, and they responded with the following statement:

“Seasonality, weather and school hours all play a role in traffic patterns and frequency. For example, year-to-date data shows that ridership has increased as the weather becomes more temperate and the days get longer, with the highest ridership in July, during the summer holidays. summer with long sunny days. As schools resumed classes and the area experienced multiple heat waves, frequency and attendance patterns changed. None of this is evidence of a decline in ridership year over year. Moreover, this data includes both bicycles and scooters (Shared Mobility Devices, SMD). The latest SMD regulations and contracts came into effect at the end of July 2022, resulting in a decrease in the number of authorized providers and a cap on the number of SMDs deployed in the city. The new regulations also require parking/staging devices in corrals. As such, areas without corrals will temporarily see little to no SMD traffic until corral network expansion occurs.

Rhatigan from the Bike Coalition added: “Each year you will see the highest number of riders in July and San Diego also has more people, in general, with the tourist season in the summer. You’ll see the lowest when it’s coldest in December or January.

As the city continues to invest in more bike lanes, will that investment eventually pay off with more riders?

“I’m so confident that as we continue to build this network, cycling will become more convenient for many people who aren’t comfortable on a shared road, but are comfortable on a track. separate bike path,” Rhatigan said. “And we’re really going to start seeing those numbers go up.”

Regarding the role cycling plays in the city’s climate action goals, the City of San Diego sent CBS 8 the following statement:

“The City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan is about taking action to make San Diego a more sustainable place to live, work and play as we face the challenges of climate change. Connecting the city with safe bike lanes and alternative mobility options is an important part of our carbon reduction goals and future climate action.

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