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Campus tracks cycling with first bike counter at a university

By Alison Hewitt
Originally posted in UCLA Today

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UCLA Transportation’s bike counter uses magnetic detection embedded in the roadway to count cyclists as they glide by in the Strathmore Place bike lane. A new digital sign flashes the total number of cyclists that have ridden by in the past year. By automating the count at one of UCLA’s busiest bike entrances, the campus can better show the need for things like new bike lanes on campus and on city streets leading to campus, officials said.

“We’re very excited about the counter’s benchmarking possibilities,” said David Karwaski, the senior associate director of planning, policy and traffic systems for Transportation. “But more importantly, we see the counter as a gateway sign to our campus cyclists, letting them know they are welcomed and that they are an integral part of a larger UCLA bicycling community.”

Surveys over previous years show the number of cyclists rolling into UCLA has tripled to 2,400 per day since 2005. The bike counter, near the corner of Westwood Plaza on Strathmore Place, was funded by UCLA’s Green Initiative Fund. Beginning Nov. 25, the bike counter totals will appear online.

More than a dozen bicyclists celebrated the unveiling by riding past the counter Friday morning, led by UCLA Public Affairs Professor Donald Shoup. The numbers ticked up as a crowd applauded. Attending were the Associate Vice Provost of UCLA’s Healthy Campus Initiative Michael Goldstein, and UCLA Events and Transportation Executive Director Renée Fortier.

“As more and more Bruins embrace a healthy lifestyle,” Fortier said, “the bike counter is a way to celebrate those who have chosen a healthy alternative for their daily commute and to build a greater sense of community among Bruin cyclists.”