Aspen counts bicyclists, may consider bike lanes
July 23, 2012
ASPEN – Aspen police officers and other city staffers, manned with clipboards, were watching bicyclists closely Friday.
They weren’t looking for infractions but rather were noting bicyclist movements around town. The data could help guide a discussion about bike lanes on city streets, according to Bill Linn, Aspen assistant police chief, who was stationed at the corner of Hunter and Durant in front of Gondola Plaza. He and others were posted at nine sites around the town core from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Whether a bicyclist traveled straight through the intersection or made a turn, Linn made note of it, counting up activity on all four sides feeding into the busy intersection. Even the plaza, meant for pedestrians rather than bike travel, saw traffic.
The goal is to figure out where bike lanes might make sense.
Many bike-friendly cities have narrow bike lanes on the sides of streets, delineated at the edge of the travel lane with painted lines.
“It’s only paint, but crosswalks are only paint, and people recognize it and respect it,” Linn said.
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Designated bike lanes could help keep bicyclists where they belong and encourage motorists to give them space, he said.
“You sit and watch for a while – there’s a lot of interaction between the cars and the bicycles. It’s sketchy,” Linn said.
At his post, Linn counted plenty of bikers over the three-hour span.
“It looks like it’s about 100 bikes an hour going through the intersection,” he said as the 2 p.m. cutoff neared.
Outside City Hall, about 270 bicyclists passed along Hopkins Avenue at the Galena Street intersection.
Linn was in charge of counting up all of the results but said it would be up to the city’s Engineering Department to interpret what the data says about the potential for bike lanes in Aspen.