Changes in Natitude, Changes in Rackitude

As a follow-up to yesterday’s bike counting expedition to Nats Park, I decided to do it again. No, I do not have much of a social life.

So, on the highly trafficked north/northeast side of the stadium, racks remained packed:

However, other racks around the stadium were quite a bit roomier than yesterday, like this one on 1st St:

Or these along South Capitol St, that were teeming full on Wednesday:

I don’t recall this unoccupied and fenced-off Fairfax-Connector-colorway bus yesterday, hording about 30 or so parking slots [I also don’t see a lock on it, so keep your eyes peeled for it on Craigslist]:

Many still took advantage of opportunities to lock to whatever they could find in the vicinity of the N St side.

Like trees. Sigh.

Results!(?)

  Oct  10th Oct 11th Change
Bikeshare 160 170 6.3%
Bike Valet 120* 100* (16.7%)
Bike Racks 250** 150 (40.0%)
Signposts 50 40 (20.0%)
Treeboxes 15 10 (33.3%)
N St Fence 25 8 (68.0%)
Trees 8 5 (37.5%)
Total Counts 628 483 (23.1%)

*Bike Valet “counts” were obtained by me cruising by the lockup, observing that the cage was full on both nights, and on Wednesday, counting the number of bikes visibly propped around the cage, and adding that to the reported capacity of the valet (100). Commenter Corey questions that 100 bike capacity, and Commenter Andrew reports a firsthand number reported Wednesday by one of the staff that is FAR higher (420!). Would love some official confirmation from the Nationals…

**Was that Fairfax-Connecterish bus there on Wednesday? I don’t recall seeing it, but if so, subtract 30 riders from Wednesday’s tally, bringing the decline to 19.2%.

Overall attendance was 1.4% lower, at 44,392, which puts our estimated bike modeshare at around 1.1%. Both assume my much lower estimate for the bike valet, and assume that the bus was not in fact there on Wednesday.

Caveats:

  • I did both counts around 40-45 minutes after first-pitch. While anecdotal reports indicated that on Wednesday, folks defied the DC stereotype of fans being fashionably late to sporting events, I do not know if that held for Game 4.
  • Wednesday’s game started just after 1PM, while yesterday’s began well after 4PM. Tonight’s game (at which I will not be loitering around taking pictures of bicycles and receiving the collective stinkeye of the police) begins after 8:30PM.

Theories for decline in bike modeshare:

  1. Biking While Intoxicated (BWI) – (Yes, it is a crime). Commenter Lauren theorized that fans overall decided not to bike because they wanted to imbibe at the park. I extended that theory to suggest that it could help explain the disproportional CaBi ridership, since bikeshare allows for the possibility of a one-way trip, while a secured bicycle has to either be taken home or left overnight.
  2. The High Cost of Crap Parking – Commenter Jim Moore infers, and Commenter Chris anecdotally attests, that a lack of sufficient quantity and quality of bike parking influences mode choice. Given my own experience elsewhere, I can certainly sign onto that theory, and some season-long data and a travel survey of Nats fans could help shed a whole lot more light on the issue.
  3. What Gets Counted Gets Mounted – A city agency, the Washington Post, and fans of the system itself are excitedly and understandably cheerleading the growing use of CaBi for events. Riding a personally-owned bike (or “unrestricted bikehording system membership,” if you like) gets memorialized for double-digit readership by this guy. Chipping in on something so loudly lauded as successful makes it “Werth” it (apologies). Ask Portlandites about their bike barometer, for instance.
  4. The twilight darkens, the Metro calls – People are less apt to ride a bicycle in the dark. That might help explain the falloff from Wednesday to Thursday. I will not be observing tonight, but the CaBi Corral Count for tonight’s game might provide a useful proxy measure.
  5. DC bicyclists, in the aggregate, are loathsome frontrunners – Considering Wednesday’s shellacking, entirely possible.

Conclusions:

Very few. There’s a big spatial mismatch between bike parking capacity (distributed relatively evenly around the perimeter of the stadium), and demand (N St). Even where capacity is sufficient to give everyone a rack space, the spatial mismatch meant that 13% of riders were locking to something that was not a bike rack (down from 16%). Conversely, CaBi riders are provided certain parking at the high-demand zone of the stadium, and perhaps due in part to some of the theories floated above, CaBi’s share of all bike rides rose from 26% to 35.2%, both far above CaBi’s overall estimated 11% share of all bike rides in DC/Arlington.

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3 Responses to Changes in Natitude, Changes in Rackitude

  1. Pingback: Biking Natitude | bikepedantic

  2. jdantos says:

    Great stuff, thanks! Also check out the estimated Metrorail mode share for Thursday: http://planitmetro.com/2012/10/12/nats-fans-take-metro/

    I’d also wonder about that 100-ish number for the valet…

  3. UrbanEngineer says:

    This is some good stuff. Thanks.

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