I am forwarding a message along from a friend who serves on ACHD's Bicycle Advisory Committee. Please let Rick know if you're interested in helping out. This seems like a worthy (and fairly simple) endeavor for the team:
Rick Overton's Message:
I am fortunate enough to be a member of the ACHD's Bicycle Advisory Committee, and we're organizing a volunteer activity that I thought all of you might connect with.
Between September 14 and 16 we'll be conducting bike traffic counts, a not-annual-enough quantification of how many cyclists are actually on the roads. It's the sort of data that is collected about cars automatically, and without it bicycle advocates have a hard time really selling how important the self-powered community is to the valley's transportation picture. The scope of the study--as in, the number of intersections we can quantify-- is limited by one factor, and that is the number of volunteers who are willing to help.
Given how big an impact this can have, the volunteer commitment is surprisingly small. What we're asking is that each volunteer commit to a location, and then make themselves available to watch and record activity at that location or a minimum of 2 hours during the study period. During the Tuesday-to-Thursday study window in September we ask that our volunteers show up at least once on the day that best suits them. We prefer counts done during the evening time frame, which is from 4:00 to 6:00pm, though you can also opt for the morning, from 7:00 to 9:00am. If you are so ambitious, you can do a morning and an evening count, as I will be doing. There is an optional volunteer training session on Monday, September 13, at AHCD headquarters in Garden City.
In terms of tangible results, this committee is the most effective board I've ever sat on. We have a small budget, but mostly we have the ear of ACHD staff and the commissioners. We're often active in prioritizing road projects that relate to bicycle transit, which the county has already established as a high priority for all future road construction. Statistics like those collected during the bike count only give us more gravitas when it comes time for planners to make tough funding decisions.
If you are interested, just reply to me and say so. I will forward your name and email address to Justin Lucas, the ACHD staffer who is organizing the volunteers. There's a long list of intersections that have been counted in the past, and a wish list of new areas that are one volunteer away from being part of the project. Maybe that new intersection is where you ride your bike every day, who knows. If you know of any cycling enthusiasts who would also like to participate then please forward this message to them--especially if they live and can do counts in areas far from downtown. (DOOM softballers, can someone forward this to the whole team?)
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope you'll join me in September in showing county transportation planners just how much more attention cyclists in this valley deserve.