Riverway Trail getting lots of use

The Genesee Riverway Trail is getting lots of use, as shown by new data from the Genesee Transportation Council. Check out the chart: at the Ford Street Bridge, the east and west branches of the trail together support as many as 6000 pedestrians and cyclists each week! In a city of 210,000, that’s a tremendous number of people. We at the Rochester Cycling Alliance are cheering that the Rochester community has these great trails for pedestrians and cyclists, and we’re cheering that so many are making good use of them. Keep it in mind next time you talk to elected officials and city/county/state employees: people use these trails, and expanding the trail network will bring even more users.

Weekly counts of pedestrians and cyclists using the Genesee River Trail near the Ford Street Bridge since October 2017. The total count (pedestrians + cyclists) is also plotted. A counter on the west branch was installed in September 2018.

This rich set of data tells many stories about the Riverway Trail. Usage varies with the weather, as you’d expect: many more people are on the trail in the summer months than in the winter. (But the count can’t be entirely accurate, because I personally biked the trail on the east side twice a day all winter, on my daily commute.) The east side supports more cyclists than pedestrians, except in winter, whereas the west side supports more pedestrians than cyclists.

To gather this data, GTC installed counters on both branches of the trail. As you can tell, the counter on the east branch was installed months before the counter on the west branch. The counters have infrared beams that are interrupted whenever anybody passes, indicating a trail user. The counters also have hollow rubber tubes across the trail, so that when passing cyclists run over the tubes, the counters can sense puffs of air. These counters are great for urban planning because they give us real information about trail use, so we can plan and advocate accordingly. Big thanks go to GTC for gathering the data–the counters are still there, and the counts are still running. We at RCA will be glad to share the data as it comes in.

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