Volunteers needed for annual state bicycle, pedestrian count

Every autumn for the past four years, a troop of volunteers armed with clipboards and tally sheets have taken to the streets to count the number of people who walk or ride bicycles to their destinations. Volunteers are needed again this September to capture a snapshot of walking and bicycling in communities across Washington state.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Cascade Bicycle Club are seeking more than 300 volunteers to help conduct the fifth annual bicycle and pedestrian survey. Organizations like FeetFirst and the Bicycle Alliance of Washington will also participate to help count the numbers of people bicycling and walking on paths, bike lanes, sidewalks, and other facilities on Sept. 25, 26 and 27.

“Volunteers are key to the success of this project,” said Ian Macek, WSDOT bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. “With their help, we are able to count bicycle and pedestrians in 35 cities across the state. The counts help us more accurately gauge where pedestrian and bicycle trails and lanes are being used, and where they are needed.”

Past surveys showed that bicycle use is highest on trails, bridges and in downtown areas. The highest pedestrian counts were recorded near universities, in downtowns, near transit stations and in neighborhoods with mixed residential and commercial areas.

The information gathered this fall will be used to track progress toward the state’s goal of increasing bicycling and walking in Washington. In addition, WSDOT’s survey will become part of the National Documentation Project, an annual bicycle and pedestrian count and survey effort that is sponsored by the Institute of Transportation Engineers Pedestrian and Bicycle Council.

Volunteers are needed to perform the counts in selected cities: Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Bellingham, Bothell, Bremerton, Burien, Ellensburg, Everett, Federal Way, Gig Harbor, Issaquah, Kelso, Kent, Kirkland, Lakewood, Longview, Milton, Mercer Island, Mountlake Terrace, Olympia, Orting, Puyallup, Redmond, Richland, Seattle, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, Spokane, Tacoma, Tukwila, University Place, Vancouver, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Yakima.

Those who are interested in helping can learn more by visiting WSDOT’s Bicycling Web site or by contacting Cascade Bicycle Club at tessa.greegor@cascadebicycleclub.org or (206) 204-0913.