The Katy Trail is worth more than a million. People that is.
Two entrances to the Trail surpassed the 1 million user mark in 2017 – and that’s just counting the walkers and runners. Add in the cyclists and the numbers go even higher. While the Trail’s multiple entry points make counting every single user virtually impossible, it’s safe to say that the Trail has never been more popular.
Friends of the Katy Trail operates four people counters to monitor traffic. What do they tell us?
The Trail saw double-digit growth in 2017. The most people passed the entrance at Routh Street, next to the Katy Trail Ice House: 1,088,587 to be exact. That was a more than 14 percent jump over 2016. Another 203,714 people on bikes passed by, bringing the total to 1,292,301.
Second most popular spot is near the bridge over Fitzhugh, which had 878,147 pass by on feet and 207,414 on bikes, for a 1,085,561 total. That’s almost 40,000 more Trail users than we saw in that same location in 2016.
The south end at Houston Street (by the American Airlines Center) is getting hotter. It had a 15.5 percent increase in foot traffic, as 583,906 walkers and runners and another 151,181 cyclists went through there.
New housing and increased density in the neighborhoods near the Katy Trail is certainly contributing to increased use. The Katy Trail has become one of the most used recreation spots in the city, which is fantastic. However, with that use comes increased need to maintain the Trail and keep it safe. And that responsibility falls on all of us who use it. In 2018, Friends of the Katy Trail must raise more than $1 million to keep the Trail running in peak condition. Just think, if all those visitors contributed $1 per visit, the Trail would be funded.
Without your membership to Friends of the Katy Trail, there would be no amenities such as lighting, water fountains, additional landscaping, and formal entrances and plazas. What’s the Katy Trail worth to you?