Will WPXI Fact Check Bike Pittsburgh?

Photo Credit: WPXI Channel 11 News

Photo Credit: WPXI Channel 11 News

BikePGH is probably biased.  Are they qualified to count street traffic?  Have they been co-opted by the all-powerful Bike Lobby?  Do this many people really ditch their normal means of commuting on Bike to Work Day?

One can only guess. 

But until anyone else takes the initiative to perform a controlled traffic count on Pittsburgh’s Penn Avenue protected bike lanes, BikePGH’s numbers are the only data we have.

And for an isolated segment of a future city-wide network, the proportion of bike commuters is surprising.  Here are the results:

From 7:30am-9am bikes were 26% of all traffic!

– 168 bikes, 481 motor vehicles (649 total vehicles)

– 1 bike for every 3 motorized vehicles

Peak time for trips made by people on bikes was 8:30am-9am:

– 44 bikes, 100 motorized vehicles

– 30% of all vehicles from 8:30-9 were bikes

– 1 bike for every 2.2 cars

*See BikePGH’s blog post for more information regarding the count. 

Their survey was simplistic and low-tech: pick a window of time and count carefully the number and types of vehicles using Penn Avenue, report findings, state necessary caveats and assumptions.

WPXI Channel 11 News claims to have “spent several days monitoring traffic and counted 15 riders in one hour just after rush hour one weekday.”  Why they didn’t obtain (or report) more comprehensive data after “several days”; and why they counted “riders…after rush hour” (my emphasis) is unknown. 

If WPXI employs minimally competent investigative journalists, and if they are committed to informing the public with objective truth, then, they will recognize the ineptitude of their reporting on this matter, and check BikePGH’s numbers.

I hereby challenge Joe Arena, Peggy Finnegan, and the WPXI team to perform a traffic survey in the same fashion as BikePGH – so as to verify the advocacy organization’s count of motorized and non-motorized vehicles.

And to ensure conservatism in favor of the $60 million per annum Car Lobby, WPXI’s survey need not wait until Bike to Work Day.

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