One year ago, the City of Memphis permanently installed a piece of equipment along the Wolf River Greenway (adjacent to Humphreys Blvd near Shady Grove Rd.) that keeps 24 hour counts of all trail users throughout the year. The numbers are in and for the period April 13, 2014 through April 13, 2015 more than 187,000 people used the trail! These counts include all the users of the trail whether they were running, riding a bicycle, using a mobility device like a wheelchair, or using some other form of non-motorized transportation. Some key highlights and insights from the data are summarized below:
- Average number of daily users during this period of time was 513. Break the numbers down by the days of the week and the average is closer to 308 daily users on weekdays and 844 daily users on the weekends.
- Saturdays are the busiest days for trail use totaling more than 45,000 people enjoying the trails on Saturdays during this 12-month period. Sundays were only slightly less with around 43,000 counted during the 12-month period.
- There is steady use along the trail during on weekdays, representing 9.5%-11.6% of total trail volumes each day. This could indicate a number of regular users that utilize the trail for recreational purposes or as a mean of transportation between residential areas to the south along Humphreys Blvd. and those employers and outdoor entertainment centers closer to Walnut Grove Road.
- In total, 9am-11am has the highest average level of use compared to all other times of day. A second, but smaller peak occurs at 4pm-5pm each day. Broken down by days of week, however, we see a much different peak period of use between weekdays and weekends. While the weekend trends for peak use closely follow all the recorded daily trends as a whole, weekdays have a much larger peak in use from 5pm-6pm (and a smaller one from 9am-11am).
- Spring, Summer, and Fall are popular times to be using the trail, but beginning in November and continuing to March, levels of use dramatically fall during the coldest months. Users counted between April 2014 and October 2014 accounted for 73% of the total 12-month period’s user count.
- This isn’t to say that no one used the trail during the winter, but average daily use between November 2014 and March 2015 was only 285 daily users (compared to 678 average daily users for April 2014 through October 2014).
The Wolf River Greenway is a corridor of protected green space along the Wolf River which includes a paved pathway for non-motorized transportation (bikes, pedestrians, and everything in between). Built in sections, this 10-foot wide pathway will eventually extend a total of 30 miles to connect neighborhoods all the way from downtown Memphis through the cities of Germantown and Collierville, Tennessee.
The initial phase of the project, completed in 2010, runs from Walnut Grove Road to Shady Grove Road along the southern bank of the Wolf River. Construction of the second phase, completed in 2012, connects the first phase with the Germantown City Greenway system adjacent to Humphreys Blvd.
The Wolf River Greenway project is being managed by the Wolf River Conservancy with partnerships between government, business, community groups and non-profits as well as private donors and foundations. For updates on future phases of development please visit the Wolf River Conservancy’s website here or consider taking part in the upcoming Cycle The Greenway event on June 6, 2015 benefiting the long-term development of this important, and highly utilized, trail project.