$50K for Bike Counters


Trust me, I don’t have an issue with this. Always loved the bike trail, and I believe it is way past due to track traffic. It will bring important data that shows our trail is well used (I think in the press conference he mentions 1,600 a day). What I find humorous is the modesty of the $50k investment. I’m sure my nerd friends and I could build this equipment from Radio Shack parts for a lot less. On top of that, why couldn’t some engineer from the traffic department come with this?

One word; Consultants.

Our city is obsessed with them. And it just isn’t the current administration. They are always looking for someone to blame when things go awry.

But I also see hypocrisy. When the city whines about free bus passes, they have no problem spending $50K on something a Boy Scout troop could have build on a Saturday afternoon for a Eagle Scout badge.


#1 LJL on 06.28.15 at 6:58 pm

Theres products already out there for a few hundred bucks.

Their called trail cams.>>>>DUH

#2 Davis on 06.29.15 at 9:02 am

Before anyone blows a gasket it is probably important that they have some facts.

First of all there are sensors at various points throughout the trail system some of which you won’t even see (which is by design). Second, they do more than simply count bikes. They can detect people walking, disabled people riding in a power scooter, those on rollerblades, even those illegally riding motorcycles or cars. Yes believe it or not people have actually ridden motorcycles and driven cars on the trail system aside from the maintenance crews and police bikes.

The sensors can also detect directionality and are sophisticated enough to accurately count individuals even when riding or walking in a tight grouping. There is also a weather data collection aspect so they can determine how temperature or inclement weather impacts usage. The data will be used to ensure future enhancements to the system are performed in the right areas where the trails are most heavily used and to ensure funding is allocated to areas where it will be of the most benefit. The data will also be used within grant proposals to show how many residents use the trails on a regular basis and it can all be calculated automatically without having to pay employees to sit there will clipboards at various dates and times throughout the year, nor do they have to pay someone to watch and count trailcam footage.

If you, or a Boy Scout troop believe you could build something as advanced as well as writing the software package to capture, tabulate, and report on the data collection for less than $50k I’m guessing the boys at Google have a job opening you’d be interested in. A good programmer starts at around $120k a year and an electronics engineer capable of designing this system would probably be in excess of $150k a year to start. It probably took a team of 15-20 people to develop this system but if you can do better I’m sure it will be a lucrative venture for you. Unless you work for Raven in which case you can cut those starting salaries down by around 30%, but it still pays a lot better than blogging.

This project is an efficient use of taxpayer dollars which will most likely pay for itself and at the very least will ensure our future trail improvements are performed in the right areas instead of adding a bridge over a section of the river which might see 25 users a day.

#3 l3wis on 06.29.15 at 9:21 am

Davis, I agree 100% with everything you said. When I was riding this morning on the trail with a friend, I did say to him that a majority of the cost for this system was probably R & D and software engineering, as you confirmed.

What I was pointing out is how no one within the parks department, the mayor’s office or the finance department blinked an eye about the expenditure, which is fine. But they cried a river when they may be spending $5-10K on a similar experiment this summer, free youth bus rides, which will probably give us just as much transportation data and be beneficial to researching who rides our transit system and where.

My point is there are many different ways to study how people transport their way through our city (many people use the bike trail to walk or ride a bike to work) and the youth bus rides is no different then this program, so the scrutiny should be the same, NONE.

#4 The Daily Spin on 06.29.15 at 10:04 am

Sounds justified & (given the sophistication) $50k is reasonable. Many other things are unnecessary and unwarranted. I’m amazed the city thought of this on their own. It’s usually cage fighting coluseums, bathhouses, or a tennis country club.

#5 The Daily Spin on 06.29.15 at 10:15 am

Here’s an idea without the 6 figures consultant fee:
Convert the arena into a parking garage. Designate part of it to the Sheraton if they provide on call transportation to/from the airport. Covered fee parking connected to Denny Dome, the convention center, and the Sheraton. Indoor long term parking for the airport.

#6 anonymous on 06.29.15 at 10:16 am

Davis was obviously involved in this project.

He raised a red flag with this statement:

This project is an efficient use of taxpayer dollars which will most likely pay for itself and at the very least will ensure our future trail improvements are performed in the right areas instead of adding a bridge over a section of the river which might see 25 users a day.

There is **another** million dollar PEDESTRIAN bridge proposed to cross the river as part of the I 229 Exit 5 Project (26th Street).

As part of this project, the current Rotary-Norlin Park (NW corner of 26th Street and Southeastern Drive) is proposed to be re-located from the east bank of the Sioux River to the west bank.

This allows NO access TO the bike trail from the new Rotary-Norlin Park on the west bank. (negative impact)

The proposed resolution is to build a very expensive pedestrian bridge (think: existing million dollar bridge crossing the Sioux River in front of Cherapa Place downtown).

This might explain why Mike Cooper, City Director of Planning and Building Services, appeared to be hedging on this project when he spoke at the Democratic Forum last week.

Suddenly, a project that was conveyed to citizens who will be impacted by this major project as completed at a public meeting last spring NEEDS MORE STUDYING according to Cooper!!!!???

#7 Davis on 06.29.15 at 2:59 pm

“Davis was obviously involved in this project.”

If by involved you mean hearing about it after it was implemented and then doing research and talking to others who knew the details, then yes I was obviously involved.