Strava traffic on William St. Bikeway

The William St. Bikeway officially opened last weekend, though it is not yet finished and is in fact entirely closed in segments as construction is finished.  Here I am with my boy at the grand opening:

Sam and son biking on the new bikeway
A street that safely accommodates my four-year-old

I realized I should grab a “before” shot of the Strava cycling heatmap so I can eventually compare it to “after.” [the hardest part of data analysis is collecting the right data].  I took this November 1st, 2019, though a week ago would have been better:

heatmap showing cycling traffic on the Strava app

In it we see that William is less popular for East/West travel than either Liberty or Washington. This might have been due to its more peripheral location at the south edge of downtown, confusing lane changes, and higher traffic speeds.  The latter two are mitigated by the protected bike lane.

Will we see traffic spike? The biggest increase in ridership will likely be in the non-Strava-using crowd, i.e., regular people.  And that will be my explanation if this heatmap looks the same a year from now.  I’m not sure if those cycling for sport will find the protected lane more appealing.  The data service Strava Metro would allow for better analysis of this question, including  looking at those rides tagged as “commutes”, but I don’t have access to that data.

Incidentally, I’m curious about the “advisory bike lane” unprotected segment between First and Fourth.  With winter approaching, I don’t expect that segment to be painted anytime soon.  An informational poster on William St. describes how it will work and it doesn’t sound like anything I have seen around Ann Arbor.

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