Capitol City Trail

Cyclists pass a bicycle traffic counter sign along the Capital City Trail parallel to John Nolen Drive in Madison. The meter, near Monona Terrace, has counted more than 384,400 bicycles since it was installed in June 2015.

M.P. KING — State Journal archives

Q As part of the bike path widening project between Monona Terrace and Broom Street, the city installed a very cool meter that tells you the time of day and how many bicyclists have passed the meter that day. How does the meter know if you are a bicyclist vs. a runner or walker?

A Loops in the pavement are triggered by the metal of a passing bike so the meter counts only bicyclists, said Arthur Ross, pedestrian-bicycle coordinator with the city’s Traffic Engineering Division.

There are actually two bike counters in the city. The one near Monona Terrace was erected in June 2015. The other, on Monroe Street, was installed in October 2014.

The meter near Monona Terrace has counted more than 384,400 bicycles, and the Monroe Street meter has counted more than 482,900, since they were installed.

Between both bicycle meters, the daily average of bikes counted is 1,310. The path off of John Nolen Drive had the highest number of bikes the week of July 19, 2015, when 22,544 were counted. The lowest number came the week of Dec. 27, 2015, when 788 were counted on the Monroe Street counter.

Ross also said the city is experimenting with pedestrian counters on the 100 block of State Street, which were installed on May 29, 2015. That data is not displayed like the counters near the bike paths, but the results are collected for viewing online.

Since they were installed, the State Street north side counter has accounted for 1,562,100 pedestrians, and the south side counter has counted 1,224,800.

— Amanda Finn

Send questions to: justaskus@madison.com; Just Ask Us, P.O. Box 8058, Madison, WI 53708.

Send questions to: justaskus@madison.com; Just Ask Us, P.O. Box 8058, Madison, WI 53708.

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Amanda Finn is an arts and lifestyle reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.