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Wollongong City Council

Every pedestrian and cyclists counts

Monday 31 January 2022

As part of Wollongong City Council’s commitment to improve and support active transport across our city, we’re measuring how some of our key shared pathways are used.

We’ve installed three counters at points on the Blue Mile, at Puckeys Reserve and on the foreshore area at Bulli. These counters capture the number of pedestrians and cyclists passing at 15 minute intervals.

The data captured shows the number of walkers and bike riders, as well as the direction they’re travelling in. This information will be used by Council to plan improvements to our coastal pathways into the future. The counters do not capture personal information.

“We already know anecdotally that the coastal pathway is extremely popular with walkers, runners and riders and what we aim to do by collecting this additional data is to have fact-based information about how these spaces are being used,’’ Wollongong City Council Director Infrastructure + Works Joanne Page said.

“For example, we know the Blue Mile is a popular place for social activity and exercise, but it is more popular at specific times of day – or is it across the day. The same for Puckeys Reserve – are we seeing people using the bike track as a commuter corridor, or is it consistently enjoyed across the day by bike riders?

“The information collected through this study will help us plan for future infrastructure needs and continue Council’s focus to offer valuable active transport links where people use them most.’’

Council is also using fixed counters to measure the use of the trial pop-up cycleways in Thirroul, Towradgi, Port Kembla and in Wollongong. The counters for Thirroul, Towradgi and Port Kembla will be installed next month and track the use of the cycleways.

There are existing counters in Smith and Kembla streets in Wollongong, collecting the number of cycling trips, their direction and speed. Recent data show there were close to 250 trips a week along Kembla Street in the last two weeks of 2021 and the first week of 2022, and more than 600 trips a week on Smith Street in the same period. In fact, for the last week of 2021 there were more than 800 trips along the Smith Street link. The information collected in this study will form part of the trial’s ongoing assessment.

“It’s important we take a multifaceted approach to any assessment of these pop-up cycleways. Data is one way we can look at how the cycleways are used, and community feedback is another way,’’ Ms Page said.

“By collecting a range of data and feedback and considering elements like the particularly wet summer we’ve experienced, we’re able to better understand how they’re used, opportunities for improvements, and how we can support more people in our community considering riding as a legitimate and accessible way to move about.’’