Will the new birch Bay Drive bike and pedestrian project improve the community’s health? A study group hopes to find out.
Kathy Berg, chair of the Birch Bay Steering Committee, said the Birch Bay Healthy Communities Assessment team is seeking volunteers to help count pedestrians and bicyclists along Birch Bay Drive on May 9 and 11.
The count is part of the national bicycle and pedestrian documentation project, which conducts pedestrian and bicyclist counts in communities across the country to build data for transportation engineers and community planners.
“It’s a chance to look at the health of the community, both those who live here and those who visit, and the hope is that we will be able to conduct similar studies after the project is completed to see how it has changed people’s lives,” Berg said. “We’ll be able to see if people are walking or biking more on Birch Bay Drive.”
The Birch Bay Healthy Communities Assessment team will conduct four counts throughout the year to measure pedestrian and bicyclist levels in different seasons.
“It will be nice to have all this data in one place so we can see how we’re doing, and in the future we’ll be able to compare data to see how we’ve changed, if at all,” Berg said, adding that she thinks the project will increase the numbers of walkers and bikers.
“A lot of people, including me, don’t walk on the road now,” she said. “It’s uncomfortable sharing that road with cars and trucks.”
Volunteers are needed on Thursday, May 9, 8–10 a.m. and 5–7 p.m. and on Saturday, May 11, 8–10 a.m. and 1–3 p.m. No experience is necessary, and the survey will involve tallying observations from a single location.
A brief training will be provided for volunteers on Tuesday, May 7 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce. Volunteers can come any time between 5 and 6 p.m. to receive instructions and pick up their count materials.