History of Fort Hill, Part 2 (2008). Mural by: Loray McDuffie, Taylor Saintable, Edwin Perez-Clancy, Christine O'Connell, Julia Andreasson, Jorge Benitez, Divah Payne, Lucy Saintcyr, Laua Dedonato, Gregg Bernstein.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rush Hour Bicycle Census at Columbus & Cedar

While waiting 22-1/2 minutes on a weekday evening for a #22 bus at the outbound Columbus Avenue and Cedar Street stop, I did an informal bicycle census. [NB: maps.google has the outbound bus stop south of Cedar Street, when it is actually located north by about ten yards.]

I shouldn't have been waiting for that long. I should have had only a four minute wait, but I wound up waiting five times that long. I arrived at the bus stop at 5:18 pm. The next two scheduled buses (5:22 pm & 5:31 pm) did not run. As I waited for the outbound #22, four inbound #22s passed by. When I finally got picked up at 5:40 pm, two #22s were headed outbound in tandem.

So, making lemonade out of MBTA lemons, in the 22-1/2 minutes, I counted the following:
  • 103 bicycles traveling (outbound & inbound) on the Southwest Corridor bike path
  • 1 bicycle traveling outbound in the Columbus Avenue travel lanes
  • 1 recumbent bicycle
  • a mother-daughter pair (two bicycles), the helmeted ten-year-old with pretty pink streamers on her handlebar ends
  • a handful of fixed-wheeled bicycles, but the vast majority of the cyclists looked like every day Joes and Janes riding home after work or school.
About 20% of the bicycle traffic was traveling inbound, the other 80% was headed outbound.

In addition, there were:
  • 2 outbound scooters
  • about 15 pedestrians, equally mixed between inbound and outbound
Of the pedestrians about half were walking on the path marked for bicycles and the other half the sidewalk marked for pedestrians. Were I to regularly walk this route, I too, would be on the bicycle path, for it is farther away from the smelly traffic sewer of Columbus Avenue. I'm sure that would be inconvenient for the righteous bicycle commuters, but I'd still chose to walk as far away from the motorized vehicular traffic as I could.

I'm surprised that there is that much bicycle traffic. I'd noticed that the bicycle traffic in the SW Corridor was much greater than in previous years, but I never expected to count that many bicycles, even at rush hour.


  1. Its not righteousness its a desire not to run into people that get me pissy when people walk on a bike path. I get the desire to be away from traffic so please at least walk off to the side of the path and the in the direction of traffic.

  2. I like your attitude about making lemonade! Don't you hate it when you wait for ever and then two busses arrive in tandem! it's SO frustrating.

    I'm not surprised that there are so many bikers- it's been a lovely summer, and more and more people are discovering how pleasant it can be to ride to work: you're outdoors, you're getting exercise, you're getting to work, and you're not having to wait for the MBTA!

  3. Nice read, and what a neat impromptu experiment! Did you happen to estimate how many were wearing helmets?

  4. Anonymous: I know it is tough discerning meaning in a cultural slough of irony, but please take my words at face value. When I described the bicyclists as "righteous," I meant exactly that, that their behavior is morally upright. When presented with the opportunity to slag bicyclists, I may write "sanctimonious" or "self-righteous," but this is not that occasion.

    teeheehee: As I was moved to do a precise bicycle count and as I was running out of fingers, I decided early on not explicitly to count helmets. I'm guessing the helmeted riders were upwards of 95%, including the cute kid with the handle bar streamers.