If you were walking downtown around noon couple weeks ago, you might have been counted in the quarterly downtown pedestrian count – along with about 1000 other people. On March 18, the quarterly downtown pedestrian count continued the trend of increased pedestrian activity in the city’s center with a 24% increase in pedestrians since last quarter (December 17, 2013) and an 11% increase from the March 2011 count.
The Community Development Division has been consistently conducting quarterly pedestrian counts in downtown Eugene since 2011 (they also have some historical data all the way back to the late 1980s). During the count, 12 staff members volunteer to count pedestrians as they pass a specific spot in 12 different locations throughout the downtown core. The count is conducted at noon for 15 minutes – rain or shine.
Weather, of course, can and does play an important role in pedestrian counts. Even in Oregon, fewer people out an about during the colder and wetter winter months, which is reflected in the seasonal dip in the pedestrian counts. Even the winter counts, however, have shown an increase in the number of pedestrian from 2011 to 2013 (approximately 19%).
Pedestrian counts are one measure of downtown activity and vitality. Over time, they can help measure the impact of new development and revitalization efforts, indicate areas for possible streetscape and amenity projects, and help encourage prospective downtown retailers and businesses who are interested in locating downtown.