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Reader Response #1: Parking and Data

Randy LoBasso, communications manager

As cyclists, we understand there are some people who don’t like us, no matter what. Maybe they had a bad experience with a person on a bike at some point, maybe they don’t think we belong on the roads. Whatever the case, those people send me emails and comments based on stuff I write on our blog, and in my column in Metro Philadelphia.

In the hopes (false hopes, most likely) that I never have to answer the same question twice, I’m beginning a regular feature on this blog answering your FAQs. Starting today.

And hey, if you want me to answer one of yours, please send me a non-explicit email to randy@bicyclecoalition.org.

So. Let’s start with a comment based on the bane of bicyclists’ existence: Cars parking in bike lanes.

In one instance on this blog, I noted the “privilege” some people in some communities in Philadelphia have to park in the bike lane without repercussions. To that, a commenter affiliated with the National Motorists Association wrote, “Privilege? Where are people supposed to park. (sic) Do you have data that thousands of people are riding bikes on this street daily? The answer to that is no.”

There are two things to note here. First off, on the “Where are people supposed to park” question, the answer is: a legal parking space. Or a garage.

One the second comment/question — “data” — the answer to the first part is, Yes! We have the data! The Bicycle Coalition conducts bike counts each and every fall, and the National Census does its own counts. All of that information is available here, but as a gift, I will summarize it below.

As far as cyclists specifically riding on Spruce and Pine Streets (“this street,” as mentioned by the commenter), our 2016 volunteers counted 224 bikes per hour on 10th and Pine, 345 bikes per hour on 13th and Spruce, 276 bikes per hour on Broad and Pine, 240 bikes per hour at 22nd and Spruce, and 199 bikes per hour on 21st and Pine.

Additionally, the 2016 U.S. Census Community Survey (the most recent national statistics available) show 2.2 percent of Philadelphians commute to work.

What’s that mean in real numbers? According to the ACS, that means 14,167 people are using a bicycle to get to work each day, out of Philadelphia’s estimated 658,498 workers.

We assume the number is actually much higher than that. Why? Because Philadelphia has (as of 2012), an estimated 450,000 college students, many of whom we know ride bicycles, and most of whom were not included in this estimate.

Need more bike count information? Center City District and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission do bike counts, too. Check them out.

Topics: Biking in Philly, Featured

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