SAN RAFAEL (KCBS) – More Marin residents have apparently abandoned driving in favor of walking or cycling around their community, according to a new survey.

Marin County’s fourth annual survey of transportation habits revealed that weekday bicycling rates increased an average of 46% between 2007 and 2010 throughout the region. Weekend bicycling behavior, by contrast, soared 85% during that same time period. Walking rates were up 10% weekdays between 2007 and 2010, and weekend walking rates during that same time period were up 34%.

The county’s Department of Public Works executed the study and analyzed the data as part of its participation in the Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program.  The federal program provides $25 million to Marin County for the benefit of cyclists and pedestrians – specifically, for education, outreach, and construction of pathways and crossings designed to encourage residents to consider alternatives to driving.

Results of the study were released March 21.

The survey was completed by counting cyclists and pedestrians at 23 intersections throughout the county. Some of the pedestrian “hot spots” were determined to be 4th and B streets in San Rafael, Miller Ave. at Throckmorton in Mill Valley, and Bridgeway at Princess in Sausalito.

Those “hot spots” have long been popular with tourists and weekend sports enthusiasts, which is why officials sought to highlight one of the more surprising results of the survey – the increase in pedestrian activity for “business” purposes.

“We saw a decrease in recreation pedestrian trip purpose, and an increase in personal business. Visiting friends, doctor’s office, it’s like a doubling,” explained Craig Tackaberry, assistant director of Marin County’s Department of Public Works. “You know, overall, percentage-wise we’re seeing less people saying they’re just out for recreation and more people actually doing errands now.

Public transit riders also incorporated walking and cycling into their routines.

“You know, instead of just doing a walk around the block we’re seeing more people actually doing it for a purpose,” Tackaberry reiterated. “And we’re seeing more people saying that they’re walking to transit. Much more.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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