The City of Seattle is collecting information to document the current levels of walking and biking.
This is good news. Have you heard the acronym LOS? It stands for the Level of Service and it is crucial in transportation planning and investments.
A grade is given to the LOS for roadways for vehicles. So a road might get a “F” if it is not moving vehicles quick enough through a particular corridor.
Unfortunately, for years this same measurement has not used to measure the number of pedestrians walking. It also doesn’t measure the latent demand for pedestrians. What if you improved a street, put more lighting, calmed the traffic? Would the number of people walking go up? I am sure it would. And this is currently not being measured.
That is why this effort the city is spearheading is so crucial to telling a better story. In order to make a case to get the funding needed to build a new sidewalk, traffic calming circle or provide the pedestrian amenities, which will make it safer and easier to walk to the store, to the library, to work, we need to know how many people are walking.
Here’s an opportunity for people like you and me to measure our progress towards increasing the number of people who walk and bike in Seattle, and help make the case for additional investments. The new measurement will use the the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project for its methodology. It is a great start to measuring users of the system right now; it falls a little short to measure the potential demand for the area, however we need to start somewhere and I think it begins to build a case for creating more places for people to walk. Please join this important effort.
Seattle Department of Transportation is looking to recruit approximately 120 people to assist with the quarterly counts. Each volunteer will be asked to:
- Attend a short training (either in person or by viewing the training materials on line)
- Conduct counts for a two-hour period on a weekday or Saturday (or both!) once per quarter, starting in January.
- Counts will take place January 11-13, May 10-12, July 5-7 and September 13-15, and the Saturday preceding. Count periods are 10 am to noon and 5 to 7 pm on weekdays and noon until 2 pm on Saturdays.
There are count locations throughout the city and they will make every effort to match volunteers with their preferred area. To volunteer, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, e-mail address, phone number, preferred neighborhood, and whether you are available weekdays or weekends or both.
Let the counting begin!