Almost 400 cyclists were accounted for in the City of Port Alberni’s bike counts last week.
“Some of the results were quite surprising,” said Cycle Alberni’s Sarah Thomas, who organized the bike counts.
Volunteers counted 388 bikes from 7-9 a.m. and again from 3-6 p.m. on Saturday, April 2 and Wednesday, April 6.
The bike counts will provide the city with a baseline for cycling along the main arterial routes within the city before any cycling infrastructure is installed.
The distribution of riders was interesting, Thomas noted.
“There’s more people riding in the afternoon on the weekends but even in the morning during the week, there was actually 19 riders on Stamp and Roger. So at least some of those riders are going to work, given that we’re counting before 9 a.m.,” Thomas said.
The busiest routes were in the afternoon, however.
“There were 45 riders counted at the intersection of Stamp and Roger on Saturday afternoon,” she said, adding that it could indicate that the afternoon riders weren’t returning from work but rather running other errands.
“People that are doing different things like perhaps going to get groceries and doing different tasks,” Thomas said.
The information will be analyzed further before being presented to the city, she added.
“Something that would be interesting to do another time is try to talk to people and see where they are going to get a bit more of a qualitative sense of how people are using cycling to get around.”
Thomas also hopes to be able to look at traffic along secondary routes—in particular Sixth Avenue—at a later date.
“We only counted primarily on the major routes because that’s where the bike lanes are being proposed,” she said.
“It would be interesting to see the secondary routes. We know some areas like that but only anecdotally.”
City council has approved $50,000 in bike route funding in its 2016 budget and the city has applied for a matching grant from BikeBC.