BART Strike: Are Cycling Numbers Up?

Categories: BART, bikes
Count him!
With BART still ensnared in a labor dispute, hard-working Bay Area commuters have been forced to take their yachts to work.

That's why you're seeing so many more yachts tethered up in your building's yacht parking area. Many of you are also likely seeing more bikes in bike parking areas. Anecdotally, it would make sense that more folks have taken to two wheels. But how about some hard data? What does the much-ballyhooed Visible Bike Counter on Market Street reveal?

Alas, as Mr. Scott of the good ship Enterprise would put it, "The Visible Bike Counter, Captain, she no work."

Muni spokesman Paul Rose reveals that the counter, installed with much fanfare on Bike to Work Day May 9, is currently offline. It was disabled due to the repaving of Market Street completed on June 24 -- the most visible byproduct of which is enhanced cycling infrastructure.

So, in short, the Visible Bike Counter is not there to tell us how many people are using the lush green new bike lanes or how many are pedaling to work in lieu of BART.

It hasn't generated any data since it was yanked offline after a scant 30 riders sped by on June 5. The city hopes to have the device up and running by the end of July.

Real-time cycling data from the counter -- when it's working -- is available here. The Market Street counter is actually one of 19 in the city. But on-the-fly analysis isn't possible, as 17 others do not generate real-time data. Their most recent numbers hail from April.

There is one other up-to-the-minute counter in town, however -- on westbound portions of Fell and Scott. You can view its data here.

Recent activity via the Fell Street bike counter

Glancing at recent Mondays and Tuesdays, you could make the case that more people than usual are on bicycles:

Monday, June 3: 1,692 riders
Tuesday, June 4: 1,630

Monday, June 10: 1,511
Tuesday, June 11: 1,667

Monday, June 17: 1,571
Tuesday, June 18: 1,620

Monday, June 24: 982
Tuesday, June 25: 1,038

Monday, July 1: 1,843
Tuesday, July 2: 1,788

On the other hand, nearly 2,000 riders were counted on several weekends and weekdays this month, including 1,896 on Friday June 28 -- when Critical Mass rolled through this route. Still, the most recent totals are high numbers for a Monday and Tuesday.

When word gets back on the status of the city's Visible Yacht Counter, we'll let you know.

My Voice Nation Help

"The Bay Area Council Economic Institute estimated the strike would cost the San Francisco Bay Area $73 million a day in lost worker productivity."

How is that "transit first" policy working out for you this week San Francisco?

What are the lessons learned from the BART strike?
1. The city cannot count on public transit to be there when we need it.
2. "transit first" means unions first, and commuters last. 
3. If BART, CalTrain, or GG Transit fails the entire city will grind to a halt.
4. The city is not prepared to deal with a transit emergency
5. There has to be redundancy built into our transit system so that the city has a backup plan for commuters

Public transit, serves itself before it serves the needs of the public and building an urban plan around a "transit first" policy is like writing a blank check to the unions.

The Millions of dollars that are being wasted on creating "Walkable" and "Bike Friendly" streets have done nothing to help the hundreds of thousands of commuters who cross the bridges and tunnels every day. The "car free" special interest groups who have been pushing City Hall to close Market street to cars and remove roadway space for commuters only added to the downtown gridlock and traffic congestion during the BART strike.

San Francisco has developed an urban plan around the loud but short-sighted desires of 15,000 cyclists in our population of 800,000. The BART strike should be a wake up call to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors that transit first does not mean transit only. The vast majority of commuters got into the city by carpooling in private cars.


How many people that commute to downtown by BART actually live within reasonable range of riding a bicycle into the City? the poin of BART is for inter-county transportation, not intra-city. What will be a real test is when Muni goes on strike later this month/year (or so said a taxi driver the other day).


@sobbyjames21 Sir or madam: Muni is not going on strike this month or this year or in the foreseeable future. In San Francisco, per the City Charter, workers cannot go out on strike. A dispute akin to BART's would be resolved via binding arbitration. Ours is the only municipality in the entire state to do things this way. 

To your other point, no, you're not going to bike to San Francisco from Pleasanton. But you can bike from Balboa Park, Glen Park, or the Mission to Downtown. 

The Market Street counter numbers would be revealing. While the Fell Street numbers indicate more bikes, upon reflection, people heading that way wouldn't really be heading toward a BART station. 



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