Volunteers Count Bikers, Walkers for Minn. Program

Updated: 09/13/2013 6:26 AM KSTP.com By: Todd Wilson

It's no surprise the number of people walking or biking to work has increased in the last decade. Right now, Bike Walk Twin Cities is an effort to keep that number growing.

Sixty-five people volunteered Thursday to gauge the impact of money spent on things like Nice Ride, bike lanes and sidewalks.

Steve Clark was one of the volunteers. "It can be pretty intense at times which makes it kind of fun actually," he said.

In 2005 the federal government created the non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program. It's all about increasing biking and walking, and decreasing driving.

"It's pretty fascinating if you like people watching," Clark said.

Bike Walk Twin Cities had 43 locations set up around the city for counters. They typically count between the times of 4 to 6 p.m. to get the highest volume of bikers and walkers.

"Looking at an imaginary line that we call a screen line and we measure every person crossing that screen line that's either walking or on a bike or in a trail. Basically anybody not using a motor to cross that screen line," said Prescott Morrill of Bike Walk Twin Cities.

Morrill says, between 2007-2010 Minneapolis saw a 49 percent increase in bike use and a 22 percent boost in walking. He says, calculating how many people use the infrastructure gives them an idea of what to build. Projects already built include the Dinkytown Greenway and 4,000 new bike parking spaces.

According to Clark, Thursday's count was leaning towards the bikers. "It's a pretty long stretch so you have to be a pretty serious walker I suppose to make this distance. So a lot of runners, but more bicyclists than runners," he said.

There are three other places across the country that have identical programs including Marin County in California, Columbus, Missouri and Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.