Eco-Totem (copy)

The eco-totem on beach pedestrian/cyclist path being installed. 

Residents should be counted by the Eco-Counter on the Shoreline Pedestrian/Bicycle Path, west of the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

At least that’s what the city would like to see with its Mobility Challenge.

The challenge, which launched last week, is to reach one million cyclists/pedestrians counted by the end of 2017. It’s also to encourage people to use the city’s trails, parks, beaches, streets and sidewalks and post their activities on social media using hashtag #CountMeInLB.

“It’s kind of a two-fold reason,” public works executive assistant Jennifer Carey said. “We want to get people moving and active and maybe people who aren’t using our bike lanes and other resources will do so. It’s a challenge for the city. We’ve gotten a reputation over the past few years as being more active and mobile.”

Besides that, Carey said the eco-counter is what spurred the city to conduct the challenge, which had been discussed for several years.

Carey said she’s kept an eye on Twitter, but hasn’t noticed many people using the hashtag yet. She said prizes, such as water bottles and headlamps, would be given out at various milestones.

Mayor Robert Garcia chimed in:

Garcia said he is excited about the eco-counter and kicking off the challenge.

“It’s used by all different marathons,” Garcia said. “We just want to keep people walking and riding on the path.”

The Eco-Counter was installed in September 2016 and uses sensors to count and determine between cyclists and pedestrians along the 3.1-mile lanes. The path is used by more than 200 bikes per hour and 185 pedestrians during peak times. Its counter displays the numbers of each day and year-to-date. A real-time display is available at www.longbeach.gov/PW.

Carey said the city is interested in adding more Eco-Counters, but has no funding or locations yet.

Another way to participate in the challenge is the city’s Bike Share program. The program launched in March 2016 and so far has had more than 6,500 members biking 72,000 miles. A network of 47 hubs with 360 bikes allow people to travel to various areas, including the Aquarium of the Pacific, Belmont Pier, City Hall and more. There is no cost to the city and it plans to add to the program with 140 bikes, including stations near California State University, Long Beach, and the Queen Mary.

“Making Long Beach an even greater place to live for all of our residents is a top priority,” city manager Patrick H. West said in a release. “The investments we’ve made, and the recent livability initiatives have helped to increase the quality of life for our residents. It is our hope that in 2017, visitors and residents in Long Beach spend more time taking advantage of the many mobility options that are available to them throughout the city.”

For more information, visit www.longbeach.gov/PW or www.longbeachbikeshare.com.

Emily Thornton can be reached at ethornton@gazettes.com.

Emily is a staff writer covering higher education and other various topics for Gazette Newspapers. She has a background in weekly and daily newspapers and a bachelor’s in communication from La Sierra University.

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