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Posted on Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 5:56 a.m.

Bike in Washtenaw County? WATS may want to count you

By Lisa Allmendinger

Saline may join Ann Arbor and several other communities in Washtenaw County to conduct bike traffic counts thanks to specialized counters available through the Washtenaw Area Transit Study.

Jeff Fordice, Saline’s representative to the countywide transportation technical board, said the city “doesn’t do that many traffic counts, but we could do a bike count if provided with one” (of the counters).


Washtenaw County may conduct bike traffic counts. file photo

Terri Blackmore, executive director of WATS, said Ann Arbor was planning a meeting to encourage the importance of countywide participation that would provide assistance with the mechanics of conducting a bike count. An exact date had not been determined.

Roy Townsend, the county’s highway engineer, said the Washtenaw County Road Commission completed 440 traffic counts this summer using two college students to collect the data. He said that if adding a bike count increases the amount of time it takes to collect the data, there just wasn’t the staff available to participate.

The Road Commission is under a hiring freeze and is down to about 123 employees. With 10 additional retirements expected by the end of the year, the agency’s work force number could decline to 113 people. In 1969, he said, the Road Commission had 127 employees.

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at



Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 10:24 p.m.

I'd be interested to know the approximate number of cyclists we have in the county. I'd like to know if there is a growing community of cyclists or if it's about the same so having a count every decade or so would be nice. It seems like there are more out there on my daily commute now than when I started nearly 20 years ago.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

Ditto MDavid's comment. This poll is barely useful without some idea of what the results would be used for.

Brian Kuehn

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

It was not clear to me what WATS function is within Washtenaw County. Here is their description from their website: The Washtenaw Area Transportation Study is a multi-jurisdictional agency responsible for transportation planning in Washtenaw County. The agency is mandated by Federal law to provide a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive transportation planning process, which guides the expenditure of state and federal transportation funds in Washtenaw County. WATS annually establishes project priorities for consideration by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) when programming transportation funds. In addition, WATS continually monitors the current condition of the county's transportation system, including roads, bicycle and pedestrian paths, bridges, and public transit.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

When would the bike count take place? Surely not in November, right? The number of cyclists this time of year is way down since many, like myself, stop cycling in cold weather.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

You'd be surprise at the bikes I still see on the AATA buses.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 11:53 a.m.

It would have been nice if the article had explained the potential benefits and issues of having a bike count. It sounds like manpower is a concern, but I'm sure there are many people who would be capable of counting bikes and would volunteer their time to do so. And by the way, if this is being done at an intersection, it would be interesting to learn the percentage that are obeying the rules of the road at the time they are tallied.