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Long Beach to survey bike use, decide city improvements

Senior+Sydney+Kim+is+one+of+many+bikers+likely+to+be+surveyed+for+the+count+research+project.
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Long Beach to survey bike use, decide city improvements

Senior Sydney Kim is one of many bikers likely to be surveyed for the count research project.

Senior Sydney Kim is one of many bikers likely to be surveyed for the count research project.

Alfred Joseph Leone | Daily 49er

Senior Sydney Kim is one of many bikers likely to be surveyed for the count research project.

Alfred Joseph Leone | Daily 49er

Alfred Joseph Leone | Daily 49er

Senior Sydney Kim is one of many bikers likely to be surveyed for the count research project.

Sally Gonzalez, Staff Writer

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Long Beach will conduct the fourth annual bicycle and pedestrian count research project on Thursday and Sunday to inform the city where bike and pedestrian improvements are needed.

The city collaborated with Cal State Long Beach and Bikestation, a service that offers 24-hour secure indoor bike parking facilities, to organize data collection, identify count locations and volunteer recruitment and training.

The annual counts are part of a grant, funded by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, under the Policies for Livable and Active Communities and Environments (PLACE) project, according to the 2009 count summary.

CSULB’s ride-share program is expecting 300 student and citizen volunteers to conduct the counts in over 35 locations throughout Long Beach, according to Elissa Thomas, the sustainable transportation program coordinator.

The majority of volunteers are CSULB student commuters.

“Students are motivated to be a part of positive change in a city where the university is, especially students who have struggled with finding bike routes to campus and want to be a part of the solution,” Thomas said.

As a result of the previous annual counts, various bicycle infrastructures have been established, such as Southern California’s first separated bike lanes on Broadway and Third Street in downtown Long Beach.

Aside from simply tallying the number of cyclists and pedestrians, volunteers also account for gender and age, and wrong-way or sidewalk-riding bicyclists, in order to gain a better analysis of the demographics behind the counts.

“In the 2009 counts, there was a noticeable increase in female ridership in these areas, due to the safety of the bike lanes,” Thomas said.

In order to have various time frames accounted for, Long Beach is recording the counts on two different days.

From 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, the counts will be used to record the typical weekday rush hours of commuters. Whereas, on Sunday, counts from noon to 2 p.m. will be used to record leisure riding and walking throughout the city.

Volunteers will use the intersection count method to record all cyclists and pedestrians who travel through an intersection, and mark the direction in which people exit the intersection.

This method will attempt to accurately capture the total number of cyclists and pedestrians, and account for directionality.

Some locations with anticipated high traffic rates of bicycling and walking will use the screen-line count method, which had been used in the previous counts done in 2008-10.

The screen-line method records all cyclist and pedestrians crossing an imaginary screen, perpendicular to a roadway or bike path, in either direction.

According the 2009 count summary, the three locations with the highest rates of bicycle and pedestrian activity were: Broadway and Pine Avenue, with 506 total commuters during the weekday morning; Metro Blue Line at Anaheim Street, with 786 total commuters during the weekday evening; and Second Street and Bay Shore Avenue, with 737 total commuters during the weekend at mid-day.

There will be one count location for every 15,000 residents in Long Beach in order for the nine districts of Long Beach to be represented.

Because CSULB has 40,000 commuters, there will be about three count locations surrounding the campus, according to Thomas.

With the data analysis of these counts, Long Beach will attempt to improve its bicycle and pedestrian safety and accessibility.

“Long Beach has the goal of being the most bike-friendly city in the nation,” Thomas said.


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