Fremont Bridge bike counter will start ticking away Thursday – UPDATE: Delayed

Update: The counter has been delayed another week, says Cascade:

I got the call this morning that the display isn’t working properly. SDOT engineers were testing it yesterday, and happily reported that it was counting accurately and displaying each bike trip over the sensors. Then the display started failing intermittently and eventually stopped displaying. The sensors and counter are working, but trips are not displaying. That sort of defeats the fun of riding over a bike counter, but I suppose it’s better to have these kinks worked out now than during or after the launch.

We are putting the unveiling on hold for about a week. A new part is expected to arrive on Saturday and should fix the problem. If you ride over the bridge, thank the SDOT engineers working on the counter and making sure it’s ready to roll in good working order. Stay tuned for an update on the official launch.

Original post:

After delays due to damage during shipping, the Fremont Bridge bike counter announced during Bike to Work Week is almost ready to start keeping a tally of every bike that rolls by.

Bike counters accomplish several goals at once. They demonstrate to passersby that bicycles are a legitimate and popular mode of transportation, they generate tons of useful real-time data on bike traffic patterns, and it is fun to see the counter add 1 as you roll by.

More details from Cascade:

Come one, bike all! You are officially invited to the unveiling on Thursday at 11 and be among the first counted with the new counter.

Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation is donating the bike counter to the City of Seattle with funding from the Mark & Susan Torrance Foundation for the project. We are grateful for the Torrance Foundation’s interest in supporting our mission of creating a better community through bicycling and to helping increase the visibility of bicycling in our city.

Cascade will cover the cost of the counter installation, and cover some initial administrative overhead and maintenance during the first year of operation.

This is the last day of my vacation in St. Louis. So Seattle Bike Blog should be back up to full speed starting tomorrow!

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12 Responses to Fremont Bridge bike counter will start ticking away Thursday – UPDATE: Delayed

  1. Gary says:

    It would be nice to have these counters at all of the choke points for riding through the city, ie the I-90 bridge tunnel, the Montlake Bridge, and a couple along the Burke Gilman trail.

    But in these times of tough budgets we may have to wait awhile.

  2. Joseph says:

    I’m wondering why there are no images of what this contraption is and some details on how it works. I’m assuming that it’s a device rather than some human with a tally counter in hand.

  3. RTK says:

    I’m also curious about how it works. It sounds like it will count traffic on only one side of the bridge. How does it tell the difference between a pedestrian and a bike. I’ll have to stop by tonight and take a look.

    • RTK says:

      Well I just looked at the image, detector loops on both sides. What does it detect to distinguish between a bike and a pedestrian? Metal? Minimal amounts in some modern bikes, similar volume to someone carrying a laptop. I have to assume it will count jog stroller as bikes.

  4. M.J. says:

    The counter is made by Eco Counter, and the model is the Eco Totem. Here is some information from the manufacturer: http://www.eco-compteur.com/Eco-totem.html?wpid=45008.

  5. basketlover says:

    Who will remove the graffiti?

  6. Steve A says:

    I hope you will post follow-ups on this. Your public awaits!

  7. Al Dimond says:

    L. O. L.

    So you have the Fremont Bridge. A pretty mediocre bike facility (I appreciate that the sightlines, signage, and curb-cuts are better-designed than those on the Montlake Bridge, so that at least there’s one standard way of getting across and down the continuing streets, but a facility where you can never ride more than 10-ish MPH safely and can rarely proceed above a walk when the weather is nice can’t honestly be called anything better than mediocre). One that only really gets lots of bike traffic because the alternatives (Eastlake? Ballard Bridge? Locks?) are so lousy… also because cyclists filter north because every other barrier in this town makes the ship canal look easy (the Duwamish; the rail yard in SODO; I-5 in many places; Interbay; etc.).

    So on this monument to mediocrity, SDOT and maybe some politicians will hold an event blocking the main southbound bike route for a while to celebrate cyclists’ newfound ability to congratulate themselves by incrementing a counter every time they ride over this bridge. The counter will unfortunately not be installed for maximum blockage of the narrow bridge sidewalk, but can at least be expected to slow things down by encouraging rubber-necking and cell-phone photography.

    And now, News From The Future!
    – January, 2013: All Seattle cycling improvements put on hold indefinitely until baseline measurements at the bike counter are concluded.
    – March, 2013: Amazing bike detection technology used in Fremont Bridge bike counter considered for triggering traffic signals along the Burke Gilman. Rejected following mass protests by dog-walking morons in Lake Forest Park.
    – June, 2013: SDOT provides a vital link to the bike counter with a descent-direction-only door-zone bike lane down 4th Ave N. To help northbound cyclists from Queen Anne reach the southbound counter, SDOT helpfully signs a “Queen Anne U-Turn Route”, honoring Seattle’s time-honored convention of giving different things the same name at a press conference in Fremont, on Fremont Avenue, between Fremont Way and Fremont Place.
    – October, 2013: One-year anniversary of bike counter. Report finds that this mediocre bridge has been crossed some impressive-sounding number of times by people on bikes, though it’s suspected that the winter numbers are inflated by large numbers of cyclists crossing back-and-forth repeatedly, trying to stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder with the constant euphoric rush of self congratulation (it’s a real problem — they’re blocking the crosswalks, delaying desperate Prius drivers from the rush of self-congratulation they get when they accelerate and the electric motor kicks in). People may or may not be biking elsewhere, nobody really knows or cares.
    – November, 2013: After carefully considering the report the City of Seattle announces that under a new data-driven transportation policy initiative every new bike project must have a plan to measurably increase cycling. Therefore all cycling projects that don’t connect directly to the Fremont Bridge are canceled and the money is funneled into the immediate construction of the Jane Jacobs Memorial Freeway from Ballard to 520. To the shock of the Seattle Times editorial department, all the money saved on “wasteful” bike projects covers only a single mile of guardrail for the freeway. The city makes up the remainder with one of the only two remaining taxes allowed it by the state of Washington: a 50% sales tax on locally-grown fruits and vegetables. The other option was a coffee tax, and there are some things you just can’t do near election time in Seattle.

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