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:
Another big number just in: 2,525 bicycle trips across West Seattle “low bridge” Mon., smashing old record of 1,847. #99closure
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) May 3, 2016
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.