Berea trails

Teresa Gowler, left, and her daughter Rebekah Gowler walked the Stephenson Trail Wednesday morning. The trails are getting heavy foot traffic amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The walking trails have been getting heavy foot traffic during the COVD-19 pandemic and citizens have been taking advantage of those shared use paths.

In April, traffic at the Stevenson Trail increased by 82 percent compared to last year’s figures and the Short Line Pike connector had the best month since opening in 2018 according to a report by the Berea Trail Town Committee.

Just last month, walkers and bikers used the Stevenson Trail heavily and 3,261 residents took advantage of the trail’s offerings. A year ago, 1,787 people accessed the same trail. The Short Line Pike Trail drew 24 percent more walkers and bikers than last year. 

According to the figures, approximately 51 percent of those who use the Short Line route are cyclists, including 37 percent under 18.

The Stevenson Trail attracts more runners and walkers than the Short Line Trail.

The purpose of the report is to “document the benefits of the multi-use trails in the City of Berea during the ‘stay healthy at home’ order in Kentucky.”

“This research uses infrared counter data and manual hand counts collected by the Berea Trail Town Committee research team,” the report said. “It documents trail use during March and April 2020, as compared with use during the same period in 2019. This serves as one indication of the positive impact the multi-use trails in the City of Berea have had on its residents. In April 2020, across two paths, there were a total of 5,703 uses.”

 

Key findings 

 

• Berea’s busiest trail got even more active: The Stevenson trail increased by 82 percent from last year. Stevenson is used by older residents more than four days per week for about an hour. The activity level was estimated to save approximately 71 lives per year for the 14,500 annual users. 

• The Short Line Connector has completed its mission: to increase physical activity in the city. Short Line had the highest number of uses since its opening in September 2018, an increase of 24 percent.

• Cyclists and youth have found a safe place to ride. Short Line has approximately 51 percent of users that are cyclists. These cyclists include families, and up to almost 37% of users are youth under the age of 18. A higher number of runners use this trail as compared to Stevenson. 

• Trails are family-friendly spaces: Both trails are family-friendly and dog friendly. Short Line is longer and accommodating to cyclists, runners, and skateboarders. Stevenson trail sees older adults and users with dogs. Volunteers have reported, “I have seen people using the trail that have never been here before.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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