The Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation has been monitoring a six-mile section of the Schuylkill River Trail in Fairmount Park for more than a year now. The results show a daily average of about 2,800 people use the trail. Over a year, that adds up to just over a million users.
The section of trail runs from the Manayunk Canal Tow Path down to an area along the lower Schuylkill River below the Art Museum called Schuylkill Banks.
Infrared beam counters keep track of individuals, but do not differentiate whether they are cyclists, pedestrians or runners.
Rob Armstrong, the preservation and capital projects manager for the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department, explains his department’s study as a way of monitoring use with the trail counters from the Schuylkill River Heritage Association.
“We always assumed that they were going to be rather high,” said Armstrong. “We were pretty surprised and actually very pleased that they were as high as they were. And the city believes and the park believes that this really reflects how many users are on the trail and you know we always want to encourage more people to use the trail. “
The section of the trail near Boathouse Row is the most well used, Armstrong says, because of the many regattas and events there. The least-used section of the trail was along the Manayunk Tow Path.