Category Archives: Parks & Recreation

Planner Resources: Let’s talk about validation counts

A few months back, we published a blog post titled Planner Resources: How to Build a Bike Count Program. We received a great deal of feedback on this post and are happy to know it engaged many of you in the practice of starting a bike count program.

Given this success, we’ve decided to make ‘Planner Resources’ a recurrent theme in our blog, with goal of sharing best-practice knowledge we have accumulated in 15+ years of leading the people counting industry.

In this edition of ‘Planner Resources’, we are going to discuss the (much under-discussed) topic of validation counts!

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From temporary to permanent – count data and Montreal’s Avenue Park Stanley

Avenue Park Stanley is a newly developed, pedestrianized public space, connecting multiple popular parks in Montreal’s Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough.  Once a vehicular through way, the transformed area now serves as an outdoor community space where people of all ages can come to enjoy nature and the beautiful river views.

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Eco-Counter and the Ontario Bike Summit – 10 years growing up together

We have celebrated a couple of milestones recently.

A few weeks ago marked the five year anniversary of our first ever Eco-Display Classic bike counter installation! Since 2013, we’ve installed Display counters all over the world and Eco-Counter’s Display range has become a revered emblem of a community’s support for cycling.

April also marked the tenth anniversary of the Ontario Bike Summit, the premier cycling conference in Ontario. Hosted by Share the Road Cycling Coalition, OBS is a forum for cycling stakeholders across the province – Eco-Counter has proudly attended every one of them!

This year’s theme, “Looking Back and Rolling Forward“, allowed us to reflect upon just how much the Ontario Bike Summit and Eco-Counter have grown together.

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Getting Started: Deciding on Counting Program Outcomes

Many park and recreation professionals face the challenge of selecting between a large number of data sources. A 2016 NRPA research survey found that 27 percent of parks and recreation professionals find the amount of data available overwhelming.

When it comes to adding a counting program to the many sources of data available to understand visitors and trail users, focusing on the main desired outcomes is a good place to start. A study on monitoring trail use identified deciding on both who will be using the data and for what purpose as the first step for beginning to collect count data.

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Case Study: Optimizing Trail Widths in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sizing trail widths to maximize safety and minimize conflicts is a process that benefits from accurate data. The number of trail users and the mix of transportation modes is important information when it comes to determining trail widths.

City of Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation uses six automatic counters to record the number of cyclists and pedestrians on local trails. “In Sioux Falls we have over 30 miles of shared use trails, including a 20-mile continuous loop that circles the city,” explains Mike Patten, Park Development Specialist. This past year, one million trail users were counted.

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Six Summer Bike Trip Ideas in North America

As the days get sunnier and warmer, summer plans become top of mind. Deciding on a bike route to base a bike trip on can be a great way to travel if you love cycling. There is a vast array of routes and greenway networks that offer something unique for the cyclist enthusiast and nature lover alike.

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The Counts Are In! Over 330,000 Users Counted at Centennial Trail

Centennial Trail  runs along the Spokane River and is known among Spokane, Washington  locals for its popularity.

Counting pedestrians and cyclists help to prove assumptions regarding trail use and the value of trails to the community. Over 330,000 trail users were counted for a period of just over a year and a half. Using Eco-Counter’s MULTI counting systems, it was possible to determine that over two-thirds of trail users were pedestrians.

Several findings were made based on the data. From June through August, there were approximately 14,000 users each month and bicycle use peaked in July.

>> Read more about Centennial Trail’s counts in The Spokesman Review

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Count Data Best Practices: Building a Parks and Rec Data Toolkit

Visitor count data is an effective way to tell a park or trail’s story. In one case, data helped save a home for llamas! High Park Zoo in Toronto faced proposed budget cuts in 2012, and using count data, they successfully made the case for its value. Over 500,000 visitors were recorded annually using PYRO counters.

Pinpointing where and when facilities are used most is important for managing resources and budgets. Great Rivers Greenway in St. Louis uses count data at various locations along their greenways to help determine where to focus maintenance and operational tasks.

Thinking of including count data in your data toolkit? Here are some best practices for collecting and analyzing count data.

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Managing tourism activity in Aliki Salt Lake, Cyprus

Organization in charge: Larnaca Municipality, Cyprus

Size: Larnaca Salt Lake is a natural area composed of four different salt lakes (3 of them are interconnected) and is located to the west of Larnaca city in Cyprus. The largest is Aliki salt lake, followed by lake Orphani, lake Soros and lake Spiro. The total surface of the lakes is 2.2 km2. It is the second largest salt lake area in Cyprus after the Limassol Salt Lake.

Installed counters: 2 Urban Posts with GSM transmission activated.

Global context

The lakes are just off the road leading to Larnaca International Airport and are one of the most distinctive landmarks of the area. It is considered one of the most important wetlands of Cyprus and it has been declared a Ramsar site, Natura 2000 site, Special Protected Area under the Barcelona Convention and an Important Bird Area (IBA).

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Following Visitor Data Trends at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Organization: Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Size: 101 hectares (250 acres) in central Singapore

Installed counters: 17 Counters – 15 Urban Posts + 1 MULTI Urban + 1 ZELT counter – with GSM transmission activated

Singapore, a densely populated island, is the third most densely populated country in the world. There is a great demand for housing and urban facilities. Despite these mounting demands, a dedicated urban gardens policy was put forward by National Parks Board of Singapore government to help develop urban greenery in the city. Gardens by the Bay was built as part of this plan by world-class landscape architects. Read more below about how their counting project helped to assess the impact of the Gardens and track visitor traffic trends.

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