As part of our Urban Pathways Initiative, RTC is working with project partner Slavic Village Development Corporation (SVD) to encourage trail use on the Morgana Run Trail in Cleveland, Ohio. RTC and SVD decided that the effort would be greatly enhanced if we were able to gain some baseline information about the trail. We were able to use three Trafx infrared trail counters from the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) office in Cuyahoga National Park. On September 1, SVD's Jacob VanSickle joined Eric Oberg, manager of trail development in RTC’s Midwest Regional Office, for a day building secure boxes for the counters and then deployed them at strategic points along the trail. We are now seeing more than 40 days of comprehensive data from all three counters.
Along with the trail counters, a community survey was developed to both determine existing trail use patterns and gain insight into why some members of the community are not using the trail. These surveys were distributed along the trail by SVD staff and local youth service crews, and 250 copies were also sent out with the Friends of Morgana Run Trail mailing in September. With the ability to quantify existing trail use with the automated counters and understand barriers to use identified in survey responses, RTC and SVD are laying a solid foundation upon which we can build programs and improvements that engage more community members and improve physical activity rates in the neighborhood.