By Jennifer Eden
In an effort to encourage biking and to “get bikers excited about their contribution to their health and the planet,” a tall, and pretty cool, totem-pole-sized bike counter was unveiled Wednesday in front of City Hall on Main Street, Santa Monica.
Originally wrapped as a holiday gift, the counter fuses real-time cyclist-tallying with wayfinding information to make navigating the city more convenient.
It was celebrations all ‘round as Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer and Councilmember Kevin McKeown tore off the wrapping to reveal the counter which went straight to work logging cyclists pedaling past.
City Manager Rick Cole, and Councilmember Pam O’Connor joined Santa Monica Spoke, Climate Action Santa Monica, Breeze Bike Share, and the City of Santa Monica Mobility Division, joined together to welcome the new addition to the city.
The counter is connected to sensors in the green lanes on Main Street, both northbound and southbound and relays real-time data across an array of platforms.
“This fun visual feedback encourages cycling and is part of the GoSaMo campaign to equip, excite, and inform everyone of new mobility options,” City staff said.
According to the City, the cost of the counter is approximately $35,000 for equipment, multi-year operations and installation. “The funds came from the Mobility Strategic Goal jump start funds,” City staff said. “The totem is a way to encourage biking, to get bikers excited about their contribution to their health and the planet, and also to help us track the number of people biking. This data will help us plan for the future.”
Similar counters have been installed at UCLA, San Diego, Long Beach, San Francisco, as well as Copenhagen, Seattle, Montreal and Portland, Oregon, the City said.