City’s Parks and Rec. using new trail counters to collect data

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque is trying a new approach to try and figure out where and how to spend its dollars when it comes to multi-use trails. Albuquerque has 145 miles of them.

“All the trails here are really excellent,” said one runner.  Cyclists, joggers and people simply enjoying the outdoors can be seen on most mornings and evenings on the city’s paved multi-use trails.

Now the city wants to get the hard numbers. “We’re really excited to be able to install five new permanent trail counters on our trail network,” said Jason Coffey, Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Senior Planner.

These counters are tracking the number of cyclists and pedestrians at five new locations, including on the popular Paseo del Bosque trail, the North Diversion Channel Trail, south of Indian school and between Paseo and Unser and another near the Jerry Cline Tennis Center.

The City is hoping this information can tell them more about who is using the trails and why they’re using them.

“We want to be making the investments and maintenance improvements and other capital improvements where we know they’re going to have a big impact on the user, we need to know where people are,” Coffey said.

Coffey says right now they are basing a lot of where the city spends its money on anecdotal data.

“We can say ‘well we think it’s busy here when I’m here, I see people,’ but what you really want to know is are we talking 10 people? Are we taking a thousand people? Because that makes a difference,” Coffey said.

These counters can tell the City what times are busiest, whether a trail is being used for commuting or recreation, by cyclists or pedestrians and whether user-ship drops off during a certain season of the year.

That information, the City says, will help them decide where to spend its limited resources when it comes to maintenance and upkeep. “Making that decision about when it’s time to renovate can be tricky because you can have several facilities in similar condition,” Coffey said.  The city says this is just the beginning of a much bigger project.

The information from these five new counters will be combined with data from a couple fitness apps and two older counters put in about six years ago.

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