More Women Cycling on Spring Street & 2011 Bike Count Report Finally Done!

May 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Bike News, Resources, Uncategorized | 18 Comments
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We’ve got some good news from Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles. We conducted bicycle counts on Spring Street before and after the installation of the buffered green lane so we could see how this infrastructure investment affected bicycle riding in Downtown and cycling is up 52%.

We conducted our first counts on Tuesday, November 1st and Saturday, November 5th. The Tuesday counts were conducted from 7 to 9am, 11am to 1pm, and 4 to 6pm. The Saturday count was conducted from 11am to 1pm. Our after counts were conducted on Tuesday, April 24th  and Saturday, April 28th at the same times as the before counts.

Our findings show gains in the total number of riders after the buffered lane was installed.

The weekday gains were moderate, but still noteworthy.  The most substantial increase on the weekday was seen during the midday count, which had 36% more bicyclists after the buffered lane was installed.  The morning and evening counts each had increases in ridership of 12%.  The weekend count had a whopping increase of over 250% in the number of bicyclists.

Not only were there more people on bicycles after the green lane went in, but more of them actually used the lane to travel down Spring Street on the weekday.  The number of bicyclists who used the sidewalk declined 10% overall during the weekday count.  On the weekend, however, the incidence of sidewalk riding went up a steep 117%.

Wrong way riding during the weekday remained unchanged for two of the three time periods but went up 75% during the evening time period.  Unfortunately, we did not achieve an accurate count of wrong-way riders for the weekend count.

Finally, the most encouraging news from this count is the strong gains in the number of women riding bicycles on the Spring Street lane.   As we report in our newly-released 2011 Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Report (see below), the state of female ridership for the city as a whole is not good.  The proportion of women who ride bikes in Los Angeles has remained virtually unchanged at below 20% for the past two years.  Spring Street, on the other hand, is an indicator of how in just a short while bicycle infrastructure that provides a buffer between auto traffic and the bike lane can make a big difference in the number of women who ride bicycles.  Even accounting for the overall increase in ridership on Spring Street, the gains in female ridership are impressive.  The number of female cyclists on the weekday went up 100% after the green lane was installed.  On the weekend, the percentage increase was a massive 650%.  The proportion of cyclists who were women also went up. On the weekday, female cyclists were only 8% of the riders counted before the green lane was installed, but that proportion went up to 13% afterward.  On the weekend only 7% of the cyclists counted were women before the green lane went in.  That proportion went up to 14% afterward.

We also have finally finished up the 2011 City of_Los Angeles Bike Count ReportWe shared results from the 2011 count late last year.  The full report of our findings plus our recommendations for what steps to take to make Los Angeles more bikeable and walkable is now available.  Here’s a brief summary of what we’ve found and what needs to be done as result:

  1. There has been a significant increase in the number of people who bicycle in Los Angeles.  The number of bicyclists counted at our target intersections went up 32% from 2009 to 2011.  Furthermore, there is evidence that much of this increase is among people who ride bicycles for so-called practical reasons such as commuting, running errands, etc.
  2. Bicycle infrastructure is positively related to the overall rate of bicycle ridership, the number of women bicyclists, and occurrence of safe bicycling practices.  The highest numbers of people on bicycles were observed on streets with bicycle infrastructure, especially Class I and II bikeways.  Streets that received new bicycle infrastructure between 2009 and 2011 saw major increases in ridership.
  3. Despite the general increase in the number of people who bicycle, the proportion of female bicyclists has remained basically unchanged at below 20%.

Based on these and other findings, our report recommends the following:

  1. Increase investment in bicycle infrastructure, especially Class I and II bikeways and the creation of bicycle boulevards. Future infrastructure improvements should also be geared toward promoting further increases in bicycling for utilitarian purposes by creating a more integrated network of bicycle routes.
  2. Work to increase the number of women bicyclists.  Enhanced infrastructure is one factor contributing to increased female ridership, but other barriers must also be identified and resolved.
  3. Increase funding to research issues relevant to encouraging bicycling and walking in Los Angeles and for tracking changes in bicycling and walking rates.

You can view the complete report, with all of our data and findings, here.  We’ve also uploaded it to the documents for download section of our website.

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18 Comments »

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  1. You guys are writing the book on how to change a city for the better. Keep up the bike counts! This type of data is just what we need to make informed decisions in city hall.

  2. excellent!!!!! definitely publishable

  3. […] LACBC Report: More Cyclists on Street, Especially Spring Street (LACBC Blog) […]

  4. […] The stats from Spring Street, via LACBC […]

  5. […] boost in cycling traffic and Streetsblog considers an explosion in ridership, while L.A. sees a 32% increase in cycling in just three years. A cyclist illegally rides the 101 Freeway — and in the middle lane, no less […]

  6. […] addition, The green-buffered bike lane has proven instrumental in encouraging female bicyclists. After installation of the lane, weekday ridership increased 100% and weekend ridership increased […]

  7. […] addition, The green-buffered bike lane has proven instrumental in encouraging female bicyclists. After installation of the lane, weekday ridership increased 100% and weekend ridership increased […]

  8. […] According to the LACBC: The most encouraging news from this count is the strong gains in the number of women riding bicycles on the Spring Street lane.   […]

  9. […] Green Bike Lane in LA Boosts Women Cyclists 100% on Weekdays, 650% on Weekends: “Overall, riding went up 52 percent after the green lane was installed, with a particularly big jump on the weekends (250 percent). But even more eye-opening was the gender shift,” Carolyn Szczepanski of the League of American Bicyclists writes. “The number of female cyclists on the weekday went up 100% after the green lane was installed. On the weekend, the percentage increase was a massive 650%,” the LACBC writes. […]

  10. would be curious to know what the increases were before and after the greening of the lane. that is, was it the green, or was it the buffer, that increased ridership, and for each, to what extent?

  11. […] Green Bike Lane in LA Boosts Women Cyclists 100% on Weekdays, 650% on Weekends: “Overall, riding went up 52 percent after the green lane was installed, with a particularly big jump on the weekends (250 percent). But even more eye-opening was the gender shift,” Carolyn Szczepanski of the League of American Bicyclists writes. “The number of female cyclists on the weekday went up 100% after the green lane was installed. On the weekend, the percentage increase was a massive 650%,” the LACBC writes. […]

  12. […] of sharrows add to the City’s burgeoning bike network.  This progress has yielded a comparable growth in ridership taking advantage of these new […]

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