LETTER – ‘Bogus’ stats on Fifth Street Bridge cyclists actually a conservative count

Dear editor,

In his Jan. 2 letter (Clarification necessary on 5th Street Bridge discussion) Fred Muzin wrote: “….statistics provided at the open house of 500 cyclists daily using utilizing the bridge are bogus ….”

Mr. Muzin’s claim of “bogus” stats conveniently ignores the facts. “500 cyclists” was based on three days of 5th Street Bridge counts implemented by the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition (CVCCo).

There is healthy debate about the 5th Street Bridge upgrade, and how to ensure a safe crossing for all. CVCCo undertook bridge counts to help inform this debate with facts. 50 coalition volunteers put in long roadside hours. Two detailed reports can be viewed by the public at the CVCCo website (http://www.cyclecv.com; scroll down to “2019 CVCCo Counts”).

Below are counts for cyclists crossing 5th Street Bridge. These missed cyclists before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m., so are understated.

* Thursday June 13: 362 cyclists, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

* Tuesday Aug. 6: 505 cyclists, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

* Saturday Aug. 10: 348 cyclists, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (bad weather day)

June 13 was a partial day, starting at 11 a.m. Numbers between 11 and 7 were close to those on Aug. 6 during the same hours, so comparable full day numbers were projected. This puts counts for June 13 and Aug. 6 at 500-plus. These were high season, good weather days, but infrastructure planning anticipates high demand, not low demand. Further, we expect increasing bridge use in coming decades.

Thus, 500 cyclist crossings in a day is a valid number to inform the planning process.

Let’s not forget pedestrians, mobility scooters, baby buggies, etc., who must be accommodated in planning for a safe downtown crossing. The CVCCo 5th Street Bridge counts actually tallied well over 1,000 daily non-vehicle crossings, less than half by cyclists.

Gregg Strong

Board Member, Comox Valley Cycling Coalition

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