The Chainlink

Bicycle Count Volunteers Needed!!!  Help Document Bicycling in Chicago!!!
 
The Chicago Bicycle Program is recruiting volunteers to participate in the April 2013 Downtown Bike Count during one or more of the following times:
 
Tuesday, April 23rd between 7AM – 9AM
Tuesday, April 23rd between 4PM – 6PM
Saturday, April 27th, between Noon – 2PM
Approximately 25 volunteers are needed for each of the 3 time slots.
 
Volunteers will help record changes in seasonal ridership, document the need for bicycle infrastructure and help advance Chicago’s commitment to be the Most Bicycle Friendly City in America .
 
During the September 2012 Downtown Bike Count, volunteers recorded 9,395 bicyclists at 20 locations entering and exiting the Central Business District during the morning and afternoon peak hours.  The stats from the 2011 and 2012 counts are available here: http://www.chicagobikes.org/public/bikecounts.php
 
To volunteer and/or for more info, please contact:
Tim Huff - timothy.huff@tylin.com
or
 
David Smith – david.smith@tylin.com
312.742.7620
 
Thank you for your all of your support with this project and your commitment to promoting bicycling in Chicago!

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Is TYLin doing this consulting work for the city of Chicago pro-bono?

Does anyone do consulting for the city pro-bono?  Isn't that what our taxes go towards??

I feel like the URL police or something... here is a working URL:

http://www.chicagobikes.org/public/bikecounts.php

I clicked on the link in the OP and I ended up in someone's Outlook in the Cloud account. This could be fun! I thought to myself, then I realized that it was one of my old throwaway hotmail accounts. 

It looks like volunteer labor has been used since the counts began in 2011:

Downtown Chicago Bike Count
The first Downtown Chicago Bike Count was in September of 2011.  Future counts will be conducted every quarter during the weekday peak morning and evening travel hours (7-9AM/4-6PM) and weekend mid-day hours (Noon-2PM).  The September  count was a major success that would not have been possible without the help of nearly 60 volunteers.   Volunteers counted the number of bicyclists travelling in and out of the Central Business District at 20 locations.  The 2012 Downtown Chicago Bike Count  will be held in March, June, September and December.  

3. I can't say I'm overjoyed to see that almost all of the staff of the Chicago Bike Program are consultants. Why should the taxpayers be paying the overhead of running a consultancy? 

What I do know is many events recruit volunteers while their staff gets paid. Not sure how this is any different. Or is it?

The oft used marketing tagline is, "Aren't you in favor of safer conditions for all road users?" Well aren't you?

Well yeah, I guess I am in an abstract sense, but how come you guys are getting paid but I'm not?

So then you're not in favor of safer roads.

I just said I was.

Then you should work for us for free.

Julie Hochstadter said:

What I do know is many events recruit volunteers while their staff gets paid. Not sure how this is any different. Or is it?

Leave it up to the chainlink to try and argue whether bike counts should be done by a consultant or not. Never mind the fact that these bike counts give us hard data about the growth of cycling as a transportation mode. I take hard data over yet another John Kass column any day. So go out and volunteer already. I've done it before, and when the weather is nice it is a quite enjoyable activity.

Or don't volunteer. That's OK too.

But for Pete's sake, can we stop this silly argument about whether the consultant should be paid or not?

Ugh oh, better stop this whole improve bicycle safety thing.  People are making money off of it!

Serious post: is there serious interest in installing these totem counters?

http://www.eco-compteur.com/Eco-Totem.html?wpid=44942

I saw it mentioned on the 2020 spoke plan but has there been any effort beyond that?

Cameron, this was exactly what I was trying to imply with my initial reply asking if TYLin was getting paid. TYLin is a massive engineering consulting firm based out of SF. I guess I'm just not sure why it's considered OK that they solicit volunteers to complete work that they agreed to do (and get paid for) by the city. After all, they probably won the contract by being the lowest bidder (thanks unpaid volunteers!!!).

I mean, I'm  doing something at work for the city right now. Does anyone want to volunteer to come draft some CAD details? What's that? You don't think it's appropriate for me to ask for volunteers? Aren't you in favor of the structural safety of the buildings you use everyday?


Cameron 7.5 mi said:

Traffic surveys are a pretty routine product for planning consulting firms. When they need to count cars for such a survey, they typically pay an intern or some other low ranking member of the staff their normal wage to sit there and count. Unless I'm misunderstanding the Quarterly Bike Count, the difference seems to be that bikes excite people enough that they'll work for free.

 

I'm not opposed to a paid staff organizing volunteer labor to build something for the public good or put on a public event. However if a company is recruiting volunteer labor to do the leg work for a report that the company is getting paid write, then I feel the company owes it to the people they're recruiting to disclose that. I'm just a fan of full disclosure of how the asker stands to benefit when they ask someone to do something for free. 



Julie Hochstadter said:

What I do know is many events recruit volunteers while their staff gets paid. Not sure how this is any different. Or is it?

Duppie, no one is saying that the consultants shouldn't be paid....

Duppie 13.5185km said:

Leave it up to the chainlink to try and argue whether bike counts should be done by a consultant or not. Never mind the fact that these bike counts give us hard data about the growth of cycling as a transportation mode. I take hard data over yet another John Kass column any day. So go out and volunteer already. I've done it before, and when the weather is nice it is a quite enjoyable activity.

Or don't volunteer. That's OK too.

But for Pete's sake, can we stop this silly argument about whether the consultant should be paid or not?

If you find the argument silly then perhaps you could just not participate? Pretty much anything we discuss here could be considered silly if one chooses to perceive it that way. 

Our time is the most valuable thing we have.  I find the fact that we are asked to donate our time so that others can make money hugely interesting. Roll in the fact that on top of donating our time, that the consultants are then paid with tax-payer dollars and it gets even more interesting. 

Just for the record, I am not opposed to data and I am opposed to John Kass.

Duppie 13.5185km said:

Leave it up to the chainlink to try and argue whether bike counts should be done by a consultant or not. Never mind the fact that these bike counts give us hard data about the growth of cycling as a transportation mode. I take hard data over yet another John Kass column any day. So go out and volunteer already. I've done it before, and when the weather is nice it is a quite enjoyable activity.

Or don't volunteer. That's OK too.

But for Pete's sake, can we stop this silly argument about whether the consultant should be paid or not?

Nah, its not really that interesting.  Why spend the money when people are willing to donate their time for better infrastructure?  If contractors started having to pay people to do traffic counts, they would both charge the city more and cover less areas less often.  Which sounds like a better use of money?

Will G - 10mi said:

I mean, I'm  doing something at work for the city right now. Does anyone want to volunteer to come draft some CAD details? What's that? You don't think it's appropriate for me to ask for volunteers? Aren't you in favor of the structural safety of the buildings you use everyday?

You absolutely can get volunteers if you can find people willing to produce a quality product in the amount of time you give them.  Too bad CAD drafting is much more specialized than standing on a corner and counting bicycles going past.  Bit of a false equivalency don't you think?

+1!

Just signed up.

Duppie 13.5185km said:

Leave it up to the chainlink to try and argue whether bike counts should be done by a consultant or not. Never mind the fact that these bike counts give us hard data about the growth of cycling as a transportation mode. I take hard data over yet another John Kass column any day. So go out and volunteer already. I've done it before, and when the weather is nice it is a quite enjoyable activity.

Or don't volunteer. That's OK too.

But for Pete's sake, can we stop this silly argument about whether the consultant should be paid or not?

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