All I want for Christmas is 1 million Fremont bike trips – UPDATED 12/28

UPDATE 12/28: It could happen today! Rider number 645 on Sunday will be number one million for 2014.

However, if bike trip levels today are like Saturday, the one millionth trip will happen Monday morning.

UPDATE 12/26: I have updated the numbers in the story to reflect counts as of midnight. If cycling rates are very high today and tomorrow, the one millionth trip could possibly happen as early as late Saturday. But more likely it will happen either Sunday or Monday.

Each slice is a month

Each slice is a month

It’s looking very good that we will break the one millionth bike trip over the Fremont Bridge in 2014 will happen this weekend. As of midnight(ish) Christmas night, there have been 997,813 trips measured across the bridge leaving only 2,187 to go.

The holidays — and Christmas especially — depress bike trips because so many people are off work, so it’s gonna feel more like a crawl across the finish than a sprint. Christmas and the days immediately before and after it are the least bikey days of the whole year, at least in terms of commute trips (Dec. 25, 2013 counted fewer than 400 trips all day). So getting those final 2,187 trips will probably take a few days. If it’s really rainy, it could maybe even happen Monday (though Saturday or Sunday seems more likely).

I will keep you updated on the progress through the week in case you want to go out and try to be trip number one million. So check back in here or follow @seabikeblog on Twitter for updates.

As we reported earlier this month with the help of reader Doug Ollerenshaw, we actually already achieved one million rides in a 12-month period back in September. But 2014 is on the verge of being the first calendar year Seattle reaches that mark, which seems like cause for celebration. It’s a cool symbol of how fast biking is growing in this city. Through November, biking across the Fremont bridge was up 8.3 percent over 2013. We passed the 2013 final tally of 926,025 back in mid-November.

That much growth in just one year is great, and it happened in a year that the busiest section of the Burke-Gilman Trail experienced some significant construction and sometimes confusing detours. I would not be surprised if that construction deterred some people from biking, especially people first starting out (like UW students).

I am in St. Louis visiting family, so I won’t be around to throw confetti at the person who makes the one millionth trip across the bridge. But we’ll have to celebrate this early next year for sure.

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13 Responses to All I want for Christmas is 1 million Fremont bike trips – UPDATED 12/28

  1. Market St mark says:

    This will include the hundreds of times I roll my bike back and forth on the sensors while waiting for the stupid bridge to close.

  2. Gary Anderson says:

    Gee, I wonder how this compares to the number of car trips across the bridge.

    • bill says:

      SDOT’s AAWDT (average annual weekday total) for the Fremont bridge is 9600 cars/day. That works out to about 3.5 million car trips in a year.

      If bikes carry about 1/4 of the traffic across the bridge, can we get 1/4 of the bridge’s funding for bikes?

      • Gary Anderson says:

        My thoughts exactly. If you add pedestrian counts, non-motorized must account for a third of the total people movement over the bridge. Interesting.

      • Clark in Vancouver says:

        Does anyone know how much money goes into the bridge during maintenance and repairs?

        It should be just as a general principal everywhere that the percentage of funding for cycling infrastructure should be at or more than the modal share. Traditionally it’s always been much lower.

      • jay says:

        “1/4 of the bridge’s funding for bikes” I doubt this bridge is a good place for comparison, even though the counter and relatively high share does make it tempting compared to most roads. But for the current big expenditure, they are painting the whole bridge, it’s not like they are letting the sidewalks rust away and fall into the canal. As for the bridge tender and maintenance of the lift mechanism, by some measures bikes get way more than 1/4 of the benefit of the bridge. If the bridge were stuck in the open position, the detour options are much less arduous/life endangering for a motorist than for a bicyclist. Of course due to most motorists sense of entitlement, having to detour may be mentally more challenging than it would be for a bicyclist, but physically not a huge problem.
        Also, since many the alternatives for bikes are so bad (e.g. I cross at Fremont when the Ballard bridge would actually be far closer to my destination), the Fremont bridge counts are probably a bit of an anomaly, I bet if one calculated average the modal share of bikes for all the canal crossings (minus I-5, but including 99) the bike share would likely be in the single digits.

        Also, the green bar graph has been fully lighted (at or above 1,000,000) for over a week now.

  3. Clark in Vancouver says:

    This is really great. Hope it happens. So close…

    It appears that Vancouver will be getting it’s second bike counter and it’s first at a bridge. Nobody really knows but some people are speculating that they’re going to start it up on January 1st.
    https://pricetags.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/ohrn-images-burrard-bridge-bike-counter/
    It looks like the same technology as gas station signs.

  4. Forrest says:

    If I have this right, I’m assuming we can figure out which # on the counter will be the millionth…

    So if I’m #2,187 today (Dec. 26), that’d be 1M?
    (will recalibrate daily until we’re there!)

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  6. merlin says:

    So – as of 4:40 pm today -Sunday – there were 561 rides (and 565 by the time I took a photo, tweeted it and rode on) out of 645 needed to make a million. If I was about 20 years younger I would have just ridden back and forth on the bridge until I hit 645 – but now I’m counting on Tom’s other fans to do this. Gotta believe there are 80 people who want to ride across the bridge this evening – It would be a shame to have this lapse over to the wee hours of Monday morning!

    • jay says:

      Back and forth? why, that’s not very sporting!
      Though I admit it was tempting when I crossed at around 7:00pm and the count was 637, I also considered loitering there until another 7 riders crossed, but, also not so sporting. So I rode to Trader Joe’s and did some shopping to make my trip “legitimate”, figuring that someone else was going to be #645 in the time it took me to do the round trip. Imagine my surprise when approaching the bridge on my way back I saw the counter at 644!
      You may be happy to hear that the nominally* millionth crossing was made on a utility bike replacing a trip many would make in a car, by a year around, all weather, bike commuter.

      * of course with some bicyclists riding on the main bridge deck, problems with the counter and the first commenter here and others of his ilk, there is undoubtedly a large error in the actual count.

  7. merlin says:

    Tom, I look forward to your post explaining the discrepancy between the numbers on the Fremont counter and the numbers posted online. In a way the murkiness is appropriate, because as Jay reminds us, the count is not entirely accurate anyway. Either way – whether Rider One Million was Jay on Sunday, or the first person across the bridge on Monday – well over one million riders have been counted on the Fremont Bridge in 2014!

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