2018 - Research

2015 – 2016 City of Saint Paul Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Report

Key takeaway:

  • The City of Saint Paul conducted annual bicycle and pedestrian counts mid-week in September since 2013. Between 2015 and 2016 there was a 14% increase in both bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Between 2013 and 2016 there was a 2% increase in bicycle traffic and a 10% increase in pedestrian traffic. 

Results:

  • Bicyclists tend to ride on the sidewalks when there are no dedicated bicycle facilities available (i.e., off-street paths, bike lanes, bike boulevards, and enhanced shared lanes). Meanwhile, there is less sidewalk bicycling when there is safe bicycling infrastructure.
  • Public Works measured changes in bicycle traffic following the installation of new bicycle lanes in 2015 and 2016 at five locations in the city. In all five locations, there was a significant (63% – 160%) increase in bike traffic.
  • The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) created a Minnesota Bicycle and Pedestrian Counting Initiative, which involved two permanent index monitoring sites for bicycle and pedestrian traffic in Saint Paul. At one site (Summit Avenue), MnDOT installed an inductive loop counter to only count bicycle traffic, and at the other site (Jackson Street) it installed an inductive loop and infrared beam to count both bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • At the Summit Avenue permanent index monitoring site, Sunday was the busiest day of the week for bicycle traffic (17.5% of annual traffic volumes) and Saturday was the second busiest day (15.2%). Overall, 67% of total bicycle traffic measured on Summit Avenue occurred during weekdays and 33% occurred during weekends.
  • The Summit Avenue counter reflects a typical commuter pattern in bicycle traffic, with distinct peak periods during the morning and evening commute hours.

 Methods:

  • To supplement data from the automated permanent counters at Summit Avenue and Jackson Street, Public Works utilized manual field counts conducted by volunteers at designated locations throughout the city from 4 – 6pm to capture ‘peak hour’ traffic and were administered mid-week during September.

 City of Saint Paul Department of Public Works. (2017). 2015 – 2016 City of Saint Paul Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Report.