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Bike trips from West Seattle spike 80 percent Monday, crushing record

Bike trips counted over the Spokane Street swing bridge
Bike trips counted over the Spokane Street swing bridge

On the first Monday commute since the Alaskan Way Viaduct closed, bike trips across the Spokane Street swing bridge to West Seattle went through the roof.

Compared to average weekdays in recent months, Monday’s bike count was up an unprecedented 80 percent, adding more than 1,000 trips compared to average weekdays in April.

And as West Seattle Blog noted, Monday’s 2,525 count crushed the previous record by 37 percent:

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And this doesn’t even count people biking to the Water Taxi.

Several factors likely contributed to this spike. The Viaduct closure has inspired West Seattleites to change their travel habits especially during busy commute hours. Monday was also the first weekday of Bike Month, so workplaces have been doing a lot of bike-to-work encouragement. And, of course, it was absolutely beautiful Monday, which always inspires people from the Seattle mainland to bike out to Alki.

But wow, it is truly unusual to see such a big increase in one day. We’ll keep an eye on the counts going forward to see how much of this boom sticks and becomes the new normal for West Seattle.

The Fremont Bridge also registered a big bike count Monday, clocking in just 432 below the all-time record set on Bike-to-Work Day last year. That’s a good sign.

Both bridges crushed previous totals for April. So this big increase may not just be a one-day anomaly.

The big counts in warm months are important to track not just because it’s fun to see so many people biking, but because many of those new bike users will get hooked and stick to biking for the rest of the year.

The 2nd Ave bike counter was unveiled yesterday, but it does not appear the daily count data is available online yet. We will update when/if that data becomes available. UPDATE: There it is! The 2nd Ave counter captured 1,396 trips Monday. Not too shabby for a construction-closure-plagued bike lane without any quality connections.

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15 responses to “Bike trips from West Seattle spike 80 percent Monday, crushing record”

  1. Tim F

    Looks like 2nd Ave is online at: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikecounter_2ndave.htm

    The link is missing from the pages of the other two counters, but it’s on the main bike counter page. http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikecounter.htm

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Thanks! Updated the story.

  2. I knew it! Thanks for the story!

  3. Joseph Singer

    So, when is the Broadway bikeway going to get a visual counter? (or at least periodic updates on the count) It could help with all these people that think it is a waste of money having the bikeway.

    1. Eli

      I would suspect it would do the opposite, as the actual counts are likely abysmal.

      1. William

        Tom, That translates to ~250 day which is pretty light for a dedicated bikeway. It is almost exactly the same as the 39th Ave NE Greenway which is carrying commuters from one Seattle neighborhood to the Burke Gilman. Downtown ridership must suffer from the lack of a good interconnected bike routes that can actually get folks there from most neighborhoods.

  4. David Fr

    The 2nd Ave bike counter is going to perpetually under-count riders who use only a portion of the downtown bike lane. I ride in from the north every day, but I drop off my bike at the pronto station 50 feet north of the bike counter. Likewise, anyone coming from the south won’t be counted unless they cross the “magic line” between Madison and Marion.

    Unlike bike counters at a natural chokepoint like the Fremont bridge, the downtown counter is going to make the city and the public think ridership is lower than it really is. Some data is better than no data, but the city might need to apply some sort of correction factor to estimate the number of users who don’t actually cross the counter itself.

    1. I ride into Fremont from the north every (week-)day and pass within a block of the counter without crossing it. Until a month or so ago I rode in from the south and was counted; a couple years before that it was the north, and I wasn’t counted. They’re all just points. I think we’re mostly wise enough to understand what they mean.

  5. […] hey, it looks like people are using the Viaduct closure to bike from West Seattle to Downtown. Good news. Now that it’s overcast, maybe that number will go down a bit. But still. I hope […]

  6. […] parking to build by new Seattle light rail stations: have the transit agency sell the land. And Seattle Bike Blog reports that bicycling has skyrocketed in at least one important location during the city’s […]

  7. […] parking to build by new Seattle light rail stations: have the transit agency sell the land. And Seattle Bike Blog reports that bicycling has skyrocketed in at least one important location during the current […]

  8. Broke it again on Tuesday! 2,301

  9. Mark Smith

    More proof the Viaduct should come down now and the tunnel boring should end.

  10. […] Bike trips on Seattle’s Spokane Street Bridge spiked the first Monday when the Alaskan Way Viaduct was out of commission. Meanwhile, car commutes haven’t gotten much worse during the highway closure. Graph: Seattle Bike Blog […]

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