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View Full Version : Bikeometer Unveiling: You're invited!



Tim Kelley
03-27-2014, 02:54 PM
Join Us As We Unveil Arlington County's New Bikeometer

The first real time bicycle counter on the East Coast will be unveiled on Tuesday, April 1 at 10am on the Custis Trail at Lee Highway and Lynn Street. Arlington County Board Chair, Jay Fisette, Director of Transportation, Dennis Leach and League of American Bicyclists President, Andy Clarke will all speak. For more information about the Bikeometer click here (http://www.bikearlington.com/pages/biking-in-arlington/counter-dashboard/about-the-counters/rosslyn-bikeometer/).

Flyer! (http://www.bikearlington.com/tasks/sites/bike/assets/Image/BikeometerInvite.jpg)

consularrider
03-27-2014, 03:16 PM
To bad I have a division meeting at 10 am.

jnva
03-27-2014, 03:24 PM
Is this the obelisk near the lee/Lynn intersection? I'll be riding by at that time.

DismalScientist
03-27-2014, 03:30 PM
Sorry, I don't ride on sidewalks.

Steve O
03-27-2014, 04:06 PM
The first real time bicycle counter on the East Coast will be unveiled on Tuesday, April 1 at 10am on the Custis Trail at Lee Highway and Lynn Street.

So in addition to it counting cyclists, can it also count near misses and crashes at the intersection? That would really be useful!

Phatboing
03-27-2014, 04:13 PM
So in addition to it counting cyclists, can it also count near misses and crashes at the intersection? That would really be useful!

I was thinking the same thing. Have one on either side of the intersection, to compare pre- and post-doom numbers.

Morbid? Yes!

Dirt
03-27-2014, 05:26 PM
I'll be there, Tim! Thanks for the heads-up!

dbb
03-27-2014, 05:38 PM
To bad I have a division meeting at 10 am.

Bring them along! Call it a community engagement activity.

Rod Smith
03-27-2014, 05:43 PM
Pretty cool! I go to Rosslyn everyday, sometimes twice but I never pass that spot. It's well placed though to catch much of the bike traffic going between Custis Trail and DC. A block west might have been better. I guess I'll have to change my route. :)

consularrider
03-28-2014, 07:37 AM
Bring them along! Call it a community engagement activity.
Maybe I could call it a coffee excusion and invite our deputy director along which would count for our afternoon meeting as well. :D

baiskeli
03-28-2014, 07:58 AM
Sorry, I don't ride on sidewalks.

It's not a sidewalk, it's a trail that looks suspiciously like a sidewalk, in a place where a sidewalk would be, if it were a sidewalk.

rcannon100
03-28-2014, 08:48 AM
Um, so I will ask. How much did the bike meter cost?

consularrider
03-28-2014, 08:53 AM
Um, so I will ask. How much did the bike meter cost?
'cause I'm sure our friends at Arlnow really want to know so they can trash talk it some more. :(

GuyContinental
03-28-2014, 09:04 AM
'cause I'm sure our friends at Arlnow really want to know so they can trash talk it some more. :(

Right now they are tossing about "Another million dollar buss stop" so maybe admitting that it cost something like $20K (I hope...) wouldn't be all bad? Nevermind, don't feed the trolls...

Does anyone want to admit to being the noble defender of cycling, "Cyclist" on ArlNow? I'm impressed with your fortitude, I gave up long ago (also a tip of the helmet to "Crikey" on WaPo).

rcannon100
03-28-2014, 09:05 AM
'cause I'm sure our friends at Arlnow really want to know so they can trash talk it some more. :(

The sign will be unveiled days before an election where arlco cost overruns and excesses are key issues: the million dollar dog park, the million dollar bus stop, the $300 million 5-mile trolley, and the aquacenter. Unfortunately Arlco spending has become a raw never. In my neighborhood, I am seeing people who I know always vote democrat, putting up signs for the independent. I am seeing other yellow-dog democrats noticeably not putting up yard signs at all. People are getting sore about spending ~ and I think people have a right to know how their money is being spent.

The sign is pretty. How much did it cost - and what is the benefit (would that money have been better spent actually fixing the intersection of doom).

Edit: And I think Guy is right. If it was a reasonable expense, say so in order to deflate speculation. If it was not a reasonable expense, or if Arlco does not admit to what it costs - this could be well, unfortunate timing, as it does look like another $million bus stop expenditure.

consularrider
03-28-2014, 09:12 AM
One of the other questions is the funding source, Arlington County taxes or a grant (which was probably someone else's taxes). Sigh.

rcannon100
03-28-2014, 09:17 AM
My understanding is that most of the BikeArlington money is federal money (right, Tim). And while you are 100% right, and we could actually celebrate Arlco effectively bringing money into the county (they have been very good about it), this nonetheless is in the context of larger budget issues. And I AM NOT trying to advocate for the independent, but the argument goes like this "We have massive crowding in schools, and classrooms in trailers. We have bridges that are falling down and potholes galore ~ but we have a $$$$ bikemeter." There is a point where this is a problem.

chris_s
03-28-2014, 09:17 AM
One of the other questions is the funding source, Arlington County taxes or a grant (which was probably someone else's taxes). Sigh.

I don't know for 100% sure, but all of the other counters in the ArlCo have been out of Decal Fee money (what you pay for that sticker you put on your car that proves you've paid for personal property tax).

lordofthemark
03-28-2014, 09:23 AM
My understanding is that most of the BikeArlington money is federal money (right, Tim). And while you are 100% right, and we could actually celebrate Arlco effectively bringing money into the county (they have been very good about it), this nonetheless is in the context of larger budget issues. And I AM NOT trying to advocate for the independent, but the argument goes like this "We have massive crowding in schools, and classrooms in trailers. We have bridges that are falling down and potholes galore ~ but we have a $$$$ bikemeter." There is a point where this is a problem.

Given that local funding for the streetcar would be, IIUC, from a tax that is legally dedicated to transportation, and cannot be used to fund education, and that that fact seems to be virtually ignored by the many fiscally unhappy people in ArlCo, I really doubt that the source of funding for the bikemeter will sway anyone.

rcannon100
03-28-2014, 09:25 AM
Money is money. It comes from tax revenue. The body with the legislative authority allocates it to different pots and then the executive body can only do that function with the money. But there is no reason at all that the legislative authority cannot allocate the money in a different way. Can transportation money be spent on education - no. Can more revenue be taken out of the transportation pot and put in the education pot by the legislative authority - yes.

It is also indicative of whether the governing authority has fiscal discipline. A lack of discipline in one area suggests a lack of discipline in other areas.

run/bike
03-28-2014, 09:32 AM
I find it funny that folks on ArlNow are complaining about the cost for this sign when in the past year two large overhead signs appeared on Lee Highway (one in Rosslyn, the other near EFC) to tell drivers the estimated travel time to the county line. I know nothing about the costs for either those signs, but I would imagine given their size that just one of those is more expensive than the bike counter.

lordofthemark
03-28-2014, 09:50 AM
Money is money. It comes from tax revenue. The body with the legislative authority allocates it to different pots and then the executive body can only do that function with the money. But there is no reason at all that the legislative authority cannot allocate the money in a different way. Can transportation money be spent on education - no. Can more revenue be taken out of the transportation pot and put in the education pot by the legislative authority - yes.

It is also indicative of whether the governing authority has fiscal discipline. A lack of discipline in one area suggests a lack of discipline in other areas.

1. IIUC the commercial tax is over and above the standard property tax which is paid on both residential and commercial property. It was passed with the commitment it would be dedicated to transport. Were the BoS to redirect it, commercial property owners might object to paying a higher general property tax than residential property owners. That would certainly be a major political fight. I have also not heard that Mr Vilstadt (sp?) has called for the redirection of that tax. AFAICT he would leave it a transport dedicated tax

2. The causes of the cost of the superstop are under investigation now. What is missing from those discussions is that A. A different kind of stop from a standard plastic sheter is warranted on Col Pike, which even if the street car is never built is supposed to be a high priority enhanced bus corridor - and similar stops in other cities are still in the hunders of thousands range B. It was more expensive because it was a prototype C. some higher costs may have been due to WMATA

3. IIUC Mr Howze opposes the dog park (though as a cyclist, I think dog parks that get more dog walkers off the trails may have benefits some folks do not think of)

consularrider
03-28-2014, 09:56 AM
I find it funny that folks on ArlNow are complaining about the cost for this sign when in the past year two large overhead signs appeared on Lee Highway (one in Rosslyn, the other near EFC) to tell drivers the estimated travel time to the county line. I know nothing about the costs for either those signs, but I would imagine given their size that just one of those is more expensive than the bike counter.
That was one of my thoughts when the commentators started their expected whining. We can spend pots of money for information for drivers, but heaven forbid we provide data for other transportation users (of course some of that on the bike pylon is more feel good information).

rcannon100
03-28-2014, 11:57 AM
Okay, so here is the answer: The unit appears to cost ~$30,000

http://www.eco-compteur.com/Read-our-brochures.html?wpid=46981

http://www.sacog.org/regionalfunding/fundingprograms/pdf/2013/BikePed/applications/19-SACOG_bike%20ped%20data.pdf

The cost is about $30,000 for the purchase, installation and first-year maintenance. http://www.seattlepi.com/local/transportation/article/Bike-counter-installed-at-Fremont-Bridge-3937146.php

http://www.broadviewseattle.org/2012/10/17/community-members-talk-to-seattle-dept-of-transportation-about-taffic-safety-issues/

Dickie
03-28-2014, 11:59 AM
Love it Tim, I'm gonna try and be there for the party. Being that this is some sort of awesome robot costing millions, can we teach it to plow the trail in winter and retro-fit it with a keg for Happy Hours on the go?

jnva
03-28-2014, 01:57 PM
I would like an electric bike charging port added to the obelisk.

dasgeh
03-28-2014, 05:07 PM
In my neighborhood, I am seeing people who I know always vote democrat, putting up signs for the independent.

Vihlstadt is not an independent. He's a Republican endorsed funder of Tea Party candidates.

rcannon100
03-28-2014, 10:28 PM
Vihlstadt has wide endorsements (http://www.voteforvihstadt.com/supporters/) from democrats (including Libby Garvey), the Green Party, and yes, republicans. He has old Arlington roots (http://www.voteforvihstadt.com/about-john/) and has worked his way through the civic associations.

The issue we are discussing here is the sentiment among many in Arlington that spending has become excessive. That's probably fundamentally what this election is about, with the poster child being the street car project. I think its been about 20 years since a republican even viably challenged for a seat on the board, and that was an election where the dems had fallen asleep.

It is unfortunate that the only good sound bite the dems seem to have in this race is "he's a republican." Partisan name calling isnt all that persuasive.

Me, I am a yellow dog dem. In this election, I am undecided (truly changing my mind daily). But one thing that I cant say helps is superficial partisanship.

mstone
03-29-2014, 07:07 AM
The thing is, politicians don't actually spend less money, even if they claim that's what they are going to do--they just spend it on stuff they think is more important than what that other guy was spending it on. So smart money will assume a pretty constant level of expenditures and pay more attention to the likely priorities. So if someone is bashing streetcars what are they going to spend the money on instead? Streets?

lordofthemark
03-29-2014, 09:02 AM
Vihlstadt has wide endorsements (http://www.voteforvihstadt.com/supporters/) from democrats (including Libby Garvey), the Green Party, and yes, republicans. He has old Arlington roots (http://www.voteforvihstadt.com/about-john/) and has worked his way through the civic associations.


Garvey's position on the street car is IMO incoherent. IIUC there are Greens who have broken with the party to support Howze (the Green Party in Arlco seems to be generally weak on support of smart growth.) And I don't know for sure about Arlco, but here in FFX civic associations tend to the NIMBY side of things.

Are the Dems using partisanship? Sure. Vihstadt is taking support from contradictory opponents of the street car (the Greens who oppose redevelopment on the Pike, and others who say "BRT" will lead to it anyway) - not to mention eliding the issue of the dedicated transport tax.

ShawnoftheDread
03-29-2014, 09:37 AM
Hehe. <munching popcorn>

Tim Kelley
03-31-2014, 10:46 AM
The sign is pretty. How much did it cost - and what is the benefit (would that money have been better spent actually fixing the intersection of doom).

Edit: And I think Guy is right. If it was a reasonable expense, say so in order to deflate speculation. If it was not a reasonable expense, or if Arlco does not admit to what it costs - this could be well, unfortunate timing, as it does look like another $million bus stop expenditure.

Not to wade into this too much since you've already been quite thorough on this topic in this thread, but money has never been the problem fixing the intersection. We donít control the property. Itís NPS, VDOT, a private land owner, and DDOT.

guga31bb
04-01-2014, 09:35 AM
Dirt will probably have better pictures, but here's some from this morning:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Y1t6ww_M4Ac/UzrH66HwiAI/AAAAAAAAUjA/N5i5nSZpT9g/w1239-h929-no/IMG_20140401_100613.jpg

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-68edAG7_4M0/UzrJLQLNE5I/AAAAAAAAUjY/8gWWYo2myss/w1239-h929-no/IMG_20140401_101103.jpg

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7toce0_lSJU/UzrK3YVRXmI/AAAAAAAAUjo/7gWKdBLnvh8/w1239-h929-no/IMG_20140401_101842.jpg

(the middle picture also serves as a great example of why the intersection of doom is a problem!)

Tim Kelley
04-01-2014, 12:39 PM
Photos from today's bikeometer unveiling are up on Facebook now: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.611280362273817.1073741850.205971902804667&type=1&stream_ref=10 #BikeDC

cvcalhoun
04-01-2014, 01:28 PM
Surely some of those photos should be posted on the Inter-team photos contest (http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?6730-Final-Contest-Inter-team-photos)?

guga31bb
04-01-2014, 03:04 PM
Photos from today's bikeometer unveiling are up on Facebook now: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.611280362273817.1073741850.205971902804667&type=1&stream_ref=10 #BikeDC

This one is great:

http://i.imgur.com/q0IMHb1.jpg

brendan
04-01-2014, 06:06 PM
This one is great:

http://i.imgur.com/q0IMHb1.jpg

I always wondered what had happened to DEVO.

Rod Smith
04-01-2014, 06:12 PM
Counted me and my trailer as two bikes. :cool:

TwoWheelsDC
04-01-2014, 07:07 PM
This thing has made my Strava feed HILARIOUS. Worth it already.

Steve O
04-01-2014, 08:25 PM
On my ride home today I bumped into my neighbor, who was also cycling home. He asked if I had seen the stupid, new bike counter, waste-of-money thing. "If they can afford that, they can afford to plow the trail" (which I do not disagree with). However, I said I liked it, and I think it's worth the 15 cents extra taxes each resident will have to pay. With more time to reflect afterward, I put together a few arguments. Feel free to add to these:

1 - Any spending on bicycle related facilities, infrastructure, culture, visibility, etc. is better than none. People may disagree on the best use of money ("they should use that money to plow the trail", "they should use that money to fix the root heaves", " they should use that money to build a cycle track," etc.), but we can't let perfect be the enemy of good. AND - it's never either/or this or that. The idea is to increase the pie, not assume it's fixed. We need to do all those other things, too.

2 - It's visible and raises awareness of cycling. Families driving by will see it, and the kids will say, "Let's bike down there and change the numbers." People will ask questions and have conversations (including debates), all of which raises awareness of cycling. As they say, all publicity is good publicity.

3 - It actually increases the likelihood that the trails will get more attention. Next winter when the numbers drop like a stone after the first snowfall, they will be plainly visible to all. And the active bike advocates will go out and take photos and hold Jay Fisette to task for all the big promotin' he was doin', but how come we can't plow the trail, huh?

4 - It may also raise the visibility of the other issues around Lee/Lynn. Now that area will be the center of attention even more than before. And when the numbers roll into 6 digits, it will be more obvious than ever that a volume of traffic that high needs to be accommodated better than it is.

So all in all I think it's a big plus for cycling.

cvcalhoun
04-01-2014, 08:47 PM
Well, if you count by weight, they definitely are! Maybe you should get to double your BAFS miles, on the theory that you actually rode two bikes at once?


Counted me and my trailer as two bikes. :cool:

Rod Smith
04-01-2014, 09:13 PM
I suggested that but there was no support for the idea.

Tim Kelley
04-02-2014, 07:41 AM
However, I said I liked it, and I think it's worth the 15 cents extra taxes each resident will have to pay.

*each resident who pays for their car's decal fee

Tim Kelley
04-02-2014, 07:48 AM
Counted me and my trailer as two bikes. :cool:

One thing we've noticed is that the sensor closest to Lynn Street will occasionally count a bike as two. The theory is that the overhead traffic signals cause interference, but we should have a software patch for that soon.

Steve O
04-02-2014, 08:08 AM
*each resident who pays for their car's decal fee

My original statement was inaccurate (but it had "truthiness!"). I just took the cost and divided by population, which isn't how it's actually funded. I don't know how many cars are in Arlington, but I have one, so I chipped in my 50 or 75 cents I guess.

Tim Kelley
04-02-2014, 08:10 AM
My original statement was inaccurate (but it had "truthiness!"). I just took the cost and divided by population, which isn't how it's actually funded. I don't know how many cars are in Arlington, but I have one, so I chipped in my 50 or 75 cents I guess.

The back of the napkin number I heard was 27 cents per car. Amortized over 10 year?

culimerc
04-02-2014, 08:17 AM
We should start a pool on the date and time that it turns the 1,000,000th rider. dollar a guess, winner gets 1/2, BA gets half. But gambling is "illegal" in VA. Oh well.

dbb
04-02-2014, 10:10 AM
We should start a pool on the date and time that it turns the 1,000,000th rider. dollar a guess, winner gets 1/2, BA gets half. But gambling is "illegal" in VA. Oh well.

Not if there are no winnings. How about bragging rights to the winner, half to BA and half to Phoenix Bikes? We could start it at the BAFS happy hour tomorrow.

baiskeli
04-02-2014, 02:26 PM
I was 1,021 yesterday and 234 this morning.

dasgeh
04-02-2014, 02:53 PM
Not if there are no winnings. How about bragging rights to the winner, half to BA and half to Phoenix Bikes? We could start it at the BAFS happy hour tomorrow.

You could also give half to Kidical Mass Arlington. Just saying.

kcb203
04-02-2014, 03:23 PM
How do these bike counters work? Do they differentiate between pedestrians and cyclists? How?

Tim Kelley
04-02-2014, 03:35 PM
How do these bike counters work? Do they differentiate between pedestrians and cyclists? How?

Short answer: Using two sensors. An in ground loop detector catches bikes and an above ground infrared beam catches warm bodies from bikes/peds. The system can then subtract out just the peds. (The Bikeometer doesn't have the pedestrian sensor, but the most of the 30 other counters in the county do).

More reading here: http://www.bikearlington.com/pages/biking-in-arlington/counter-dashboard/about-the-counters/

jnva
04-04-2014, 11:07 PM
I'm still waiting to see this reenacted by.
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef015391422b9f970b-pi

ShawnoftheDread
04-05-2014, 07:11 AM
Short answer: Using two sensors. An in ground loop detector catches bikes and an above ground infrared beam catches warm bodies from bikes/peds. The system can then subtract out just the peds. (The Bikeometer doesn't have the pedestrian sensor, but the most of the 30 other counters in the county do).

More reading here: http://www.bikearlington.com/pages/biking-in-arlington/counter-dashboard/about-the-counters/

Ah, warm bodies. Maybe my cold, cold heart is why it usually doesn't count me.

consularrider
04-07-2014, 09:39 AM
Lizards

Geoff
04-08-2014, 12:07 PM
How do these bike counters work?

The same way all of today's gadgets work. Elves.

johnnyhowell
05-02-2014, 01:16 PM
Hi - I missed seeing the total count for April before it reset to May. What was the total and where / what website can this info be seen? I know the count is inaccurate, as at least I get counted 3x times when heading west on Custis (uphill into Arlington), but correctly counted (1x) headed the other way (to MV trail). It's too bad that the "Arlington - Bike Friendly Community" (or whatever) blocks the view of the counter when heading towards MV trail. Funny. OK, thanks all....enjoy the perfect weather! JOHN

thucydides
10-07-2014, 11:26 AM
Perhaps this has been mentioned elsewhere and I missed it. The daily counter is stuck on zero.

Tim Kelley
10-07-2014, 11:52 AM
Perhaps this has been mentioned elsewhere and I missed it. The daily counter is stuck on zero.

Thanks for the heads up!

Tim Kelley
10-07-2014, 12:18 PM
Top Men are on it.

Vicegrip
10-07-2014, 04:15 PM
Top Men are on it.

Ask them to move, they seem to be blocking the sensor....

Tim Kelley
10-08-2014, 08:58 AM
Ask them to move, they seem to be blocking the sensor....


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoy4_h7Pb3M

elbows
03-16-2016, 11:31 AM
Pretty cool! I go to Rosslyn everyday, sometimes twice but I never pass that spot. It's well placed though to catch much of the bike traffic going between Custis Trail and DC. A block west might have been better. I guess I'll have to change my route. :)

I had the same thought although I am two years slower. Why is it not one block west? I'm either taking the north span of Key or I'm taking Lynn over. Am I the only one? I guess a decision was made to value over placement over maximizing cyclists counted.

Tim Kelley
03-16-2016, 11:44 AM
Why is it not one block west?

Because where it is now is where there was space for it where there are cars stopped at stop lights that can easily see it. Also, it's where Yay For Bike Riders Day (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.624291917639328.1073741852.205971902804667&type=1) is held.

It will be shifted during the Custis redesign there, but likely not beyond that block.

huskerdont
03-16-2016, 11:45 AM
I had the same thought although I am two years slower. Why is it not one block west? I'm either taking the north span of Key or I'm taking Lynn over. Am I the only one? I guess a decision was made to value over placement over maximizing cyclists counted.

You aren't the only one. I actually changed my afternoon route to go by the bikeometer. At first to see the afternon count, and then b/c I found that I liked it better. In the early part of the afternoon, there isn't too much traffic on the TR Bridge, so I don't mind the narrow lane as much as I thought I would, and it gets me off of M Street in the afternoon.

Arlington does have other counters though, so even if you are missed by the visible one, you're likely still counted.

http://www.bikearlington.com/pages/biking-in-arlington/counting-bikes-to-plan-for-bikes/counter-dashboard/

Tim Kelley
03-16-2016, 11:48 AM
Arlington does have other counters though, so even if you are missed by the visible one, you're likely still counted.

Including two on either side of Key Bridge....don't worry. Top Men are on it.

huskerdont
03-16-2016, 11:51 AM
Including two on either side of Key Bridge....don't worry. Top Men are on it.

Still funny two years later.