traffic counts John Street Toronto

Are the City's John Street traffic counts accurate?

Over on his blog, Mez Dispenser, Dave Meslin has a pretty fascinating post regarding the City of Toronto's cycling counts on John Street. Compiled as part of the John Street Corridor Improvement Study, the City's data indicates that, on average, a (relatively) steady two per cent of traffic on John Street comes in the form of cyclists. That seems bizarre when one considers the degree to which the vehicular and pedestrian traffic fluctuates.

So, working under the assumption that the City's data is erroneous — or, worse, fabricated — Meslin and a small team of traffic counters took to the street to prepare something of a counter study, the results of which indicate a sizable discrepancy. Here are Meslin's counts:

  • 32% - Average for cyclists over two hours, southbound at Richmond.
  • 37% - Highest level of cyclists during a 15 minute period at Richmond.
  • 50% - Average for bikes over 90 minutes, southbound, north of Queen.
  • 774 - Southbound rush-hour cyclists in the Entertainment District

According to a tweet from BikingToronto, the City's figure of two per cent can be rounded from anywhere between 1.5% and 2.4%, and is arrived at over a four hour study period, which is a different method than the one used by Meslin and his team. Be that as it may (and it is a good point), the discrepancy uncovered strikes me as worthy of explanation and further review on the part of the City.

Check out the whole post here, and read the City of Toronto's John Street transportation assessment (PDF) here.

Correction: An earlier version of this post featured a lead graphic that had Meslin's vehicular and pedestrian counts reversed.


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