The Seattle Department of Transportation needs volunteers for their 2010 citywide and downtown bicycle counts on Sept 15 from 6:30-9:00 am.

SDOT is ramping up its data collection efforts for 2010. Previously, the agency alternated between doing a citywide count and a downtown-only count every other year. They now plan to do a downtown count every year, with citywide counts every other year.

Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board Chair Blake Trask says the downtown count is what the city uses to measure progress on its Bicycle Master Plan. "Annual counts will help SDOT better chart the growth of bicycle use and whether or not the city is moving toward its stated goal of tripling the rate of bicycling by 2016," Trask says.

The increased bike counts will also help SDOT do outreach to the public. Because the agency doesn't always have hard bike count numbers for roads they plan to redesign (most recently with the 125th St. road diet), it's hard to quell suspicions that the city is catering to a few cyclists at the expense of everyone else.

Interested volunteers can contact SDOT Bicycle Program Planner Gina Coffman at 206/684-3902 or virginia.coffman@seattle.gov.