SafeTrack’s Early Surge: Cycling!

henry dunbar active transportation arlington county
Henry Dunbar Tweet Us @BikeArlington@BikeArlington June 16, 2016
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Henry Dunbar is director of Arlington’s active transportation programs including BikeArlington, WalkArlington and Capital Bikeshare. He is a 26-year resident of Arlington and works to make it easy to get around by whatever mode you choose.

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BIKE TAKEAWAY:

Will people take to biking when the rail system isn't operating smoothly?

Nightmare Commute

With the predictions of snarled traffic and jammed trains, one of the big questions about the effects of Metro’s SafeTrack campaign is starting to be answered: Would people take to biking to avoid the rail system? The early returns are in and answer appears to be YES! No matter how you slice the data, Arlington (which bore the brunt of Surge 1 with single-track service between two of its stations, East Falls Church and Ballston) saw record riderships all week long along its major bike commuting routes. Some counters were more than 90% above the June 2015 weekday averages.

Counts Compared to June 2015 Averages

Date Bikeometer (Lynn & Lee Hwy.) Custis Trail (Top of Rosslyn Hill) Mt. Vernon Trail (Airport, near FMR Intersection W&OD Bon Air (West of Custis Intersection)
Average June 2015 Weekday 1337 1410 2077 1457
Mon., 6-6-16

No. above avg.

% above avg.

2325

988

74%

2739

1329

94%

2945

868

42%

2505

1048

72%

Tue., 6-7-16

No. above avg.

% above avg.

2390

1053

79%

2724

1314

93%

2854

777

37%

2448

991

68%

Wed., 6-8-16

No. above avg.

% above avg.

2331

994

74%

2677

1267

90%

2911

834

40%

2357

900

62%

Thu., 6-9-16

No. above avg.

% above avg.

2346

1009

75%

2645

1235

88%

3174

1097

53%

2333

867

60%

Fri., 6-10-16

No. above avg.

% above avg.

2145

808

60%

2332

922

65%

2839

762

37%

2235

778

53%

Not only were the counts well above last year’s averages, the counts were all-time records across the board. The tables below show the Top Ten Five-Day Work Week counts for the same counters above. Again, the biggest leaps were along the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor, with three counters breaking the previous records by 22%-37% margins. Previous record breaking was usually less than a single percentage point, and rarely more than five points. But even the Mt. Vernon Trail had its best week ever, improving on the old mark by 7.7%.

Top Ten Counts for 5-Day Work Weeks, Since April 2014

Rosslyn Bikeometer (Custis)

Dates Count % over next highest
June 6-10, 2016 11,537 30.08%
May 11-15, 2015 8,869 5.03%
June 2-6, 2014 8,444 1.43%
May 23-27, 2016 8,325 2.64%
June 23-27, 2014 8,111 0.9%
September 14-18, 2015 8,039 0.22%
August 25-29, 2014 8,021 0.15%
May 4-8, 2015 8,009 0.35%
July 28-August 1, 2014 7,981 0.53%
May 19-23, 2014 7,939

Rosslyn Scott Street (Custis)

Dates Count % over next highest
June 6-10, 2016 13,117 36.62%
May 11-15, 2015 9,531 1.25%
May 23-27, 2016 9,413 2.72%
June 2-6, 2014 9,164 0.01%
September 14-18, 2015 9,163 2.59%
July 28-August 1, 2014 8,932 0.40%
May 19-23, 2014 8,896 0%
May 16-20, 2016 8,896 0.92%
May 30-June 3, 2016 8,815 1.72%
September 21-25, 2015 8,666

Airport South (Mt. Vernon)

Dates Count % over next highest
June 6-10, 2016 14,723 7.71%
May 11-15, 2015 13,669 1.86%
May 25-29, 2015 13,419 3.93%
August 24-28, 2015 12,912 0.49%
August 25-29, 2014 12,849 0.25%
July 20-24, 2015 12,817 0.37%
July 28-August 1, 2014 12,770 .20%
June 29-July 3, 2015 12,744 1.74%
May 23-27, 2016 12,526 0.31%
August 4-8, 2014 12,487

Bon Air West (W&OD)

Dates Count % over next highest
June 6-10, 2016 11,878 22.35%
May 25-29, 2015 9,708 0.02%
June 2-6, 2014 9,706 0.42%
May 11-15, 2015 9,665 5.57%
May 23-27, 2016 9,155 0.02%
July 28-August 1, 2014 9,153 1.28%
June 23-27, 2014 9,037 0.07%
July 20-24, 2015 9,031 0.26%%
August 25-29, 2014 9,008 0.31%
August 4-8, 2014 8,980

We’ll continue watch the numbers as one surge gives way to the next. Will the increases stay, grow, or even falter as people filter back to other modes? Will the Mt. Vernon Trail see a double-digit bump once Blue Line Service is affected? We’ll see. One thing is for sure. For bike advocates, these numbers are off to a great start!

Photo Credit:

Sam Kittner/Kittner.com

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