— Bahij Chancey (@Bahij) May 23, 2016
Update: We added a short Q&A with Chancey to the end of this post.
In case you missed it, at 6:30 a.m. yesterday Bahij Chancey set up a table on the DUMBO side of the Manhattan Bridge to count cyclists. By the time he wrapped up at 8 p.m., 5,589 people had biked past.
Chancey was also collecting signatures from people who’d like DOT to install a bike counter — also known as a totem — on East River crossings, starting with the Manhattan Bridge.
“A lot of criticism from community boards focuses on the idea that cycling is a seasonal mode of transportation,” Chancey told AMNY. “The counter is a great way to incentivize cycling — for people to see the numbers of rides and compare it to car traffic — and to establish it as a viable, quick, cheap commuting option that people use all year around.”
More broadly, Chancey wants DOT to make bike count data more accessible to the public. DOT releases trip data in occasional reports, but does not publish it on the city’s open data portal.
“With the information available to all to dissect on the totem, I’d be interested in looking into how weather impacts the number of riders, or maybe compare the number of rides taken on different days of the week,” Chancey said.
An online petition calls for improvements to the plaza under the bridge, like better lighting and signage, in addition to the counter. Chancey plans to send signatures to Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, DOT Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray, and City Council Member Steve Levin. You can add your name here.
We asked Chancey about yesterday’s event and the campaign to get better bike data from DOT. Here’s what he had to say.