UPDATE: This story was updated at 1:39 p.m on October 6, 2010.
Braving the drizzly weather to commute to and from work today?
Wave to one of the dozens of city volunteers, who, like the city's suspected growing number of bicyclists, will be out there in the gray, chilly fall weather.
Jeremy Mendelson and Julia Prange are two of the dozens of dedicated folks who will be at 35 locations around the city during the morning and afternoon commutes this week, tallying the number of bicycle and pedestrian commuters that pass them by.
"Why we do this, is we want to get a better idea of our bicycle traffic around the city," said Michael Meehan, Somerville's Communications Director. "We want to see who is using the infrastructure, and how we can improve it. We know a lot of bikers are using routes that don't have a share-lane and we can get that taken care of."
Volunteer Jeremy Mendelson of Spring Hill was stationed at College Ave and Winter St. this morning counting walkers and bikers alike. He shares what he observed: "Due to this morning's steady rain, bicycle counts in each direction were much lower than what I believe are normal numbers. However, I counted over 600 pedestrians per hour just on College Ave north of Davis Square."
This is the second time the City has counted the number of bicyclists and pedestrians around town. The initial count in May tallied 5,000 riders across a three-day period. Since that count, the City has added ten additional miles of bike lanes and designated share-lanes. In all, approximately 18 miles of Somerville's roads are now biker-friendly.
Now, five months later the city is recounting the number of bicyclists to see if the improved infrastructure has increased bicycle traffic. But, some fear, the rainy weather might put a damper on the count.
"The weather has been noncompliant, so we'll have to see how that affects the count. I bike to work, but when it's raining I take public transportation because I can't get filthy on the way to work," said Meehan.
Mendelson will be tallying in Union Square tomorrow morning and assuming the weather cooperates, he hopes to see more people using the nearly complete bike-friendly roadway along Somerville Ave.
Volunteer Julia Prange, opted not to take a count today. Prange said she's learned from years of transportation planning, that today's "unusually bad weather" was not prime for data collection. She says she'll be out (she hopes) with the sun tomorrow.
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