Confederation Trail Mud-Based Cycling Census

Oliver and I concocted a grand plan for today that involved cycling up the Confederation Trail first thing this morning to visit Brett’s coffee stand, then continuing on to rendezvous with his support worker so that he could participate in the New Student Orientation activities on the UPEI campus.

The plan was almost thrown into disarray when the forecast called for rain; we were going to have to recoil to plan B and take the bus.

But then the sun came out, and we were able to cycle after all. And it was a grand morning for cycling, with the very most faint mist in the air and the Island as green as green can possibly be.

We did, indeed, enjoy a coffee, and a hot chocolate, at Caledonia House, and walked up to campus. And Oliver went off on his own.

I walked back to the Farmers’ Market to pick up my bike, and headed back down the trail to work. By this time the forecast rain had manifested in a more serious fashion, and gentle mist became somewhat-annoying-shower. But I persevered.

As I was cycling downtown I noticed that one gift brought on by the rain was that the tracks of every bicycle riding by were in evidence, providing a kind of mud-based cycle census:

Photo of the Confederation Trail showing bicycle tracks in the mud

There is better census data for the trail than what gets left in the mud: the 2018 report Charlottetown’s Active Transportation Network: Downtown Connectivity & Bike/Ped Volume Information.

The study collected data at several key points along the trail for 32 hours in September 2017 and reported:

  • Charlottetown Mall/Towers Mall
    • ~600 Confederation Trail users north of Towers Road and ~700 to the south
    • Roughly 150 trail users to/from the mall
    • Over 300 pedestrians and cyclists used the Towers Road (which doesn’t lanes or sidewalks)
    • Almost 250 people walked or biked between the Mall and Towers Road
    • Similar numbers of pedestrians both days (except for late morning spike on Friday)
    • Notably more cyclists on Saturday than Friday
  • UPEI
    • ~1600 Confederation Trail users at this location during the 2-day count
    • Almost 300 people to/from UPEI
    • 450 people used the trail to Mt. Edward Road
    • Slightly more pedestrians on Friday than on Saturday (ignoring the very high pedestrian numbers around 2PM on Friday)
    • Slightly more cyclists on Saturday than on Friday
    • At least a couple of pedestrians during almost every 15-minute interval, whereas bikes were reported during several intervals
  • Belvedere Avenue
    • ~770 Confederation Trail users north of Belvedere Ave and ~880 to the south
    • ~125 people accessed the Farmers Market from the Trail or Belvedere (would have been closed on Friday)
    • 75-80 people walking or biking in each direction along Belvedere Avenue
    • Similar numbers of pedestrians both days; 10 or more pedestrians during many of the 15-minute intervals
    • Higher cyclist volumes on Friday than on Saturday
      • At least 1 cyclist per interval between 6:30 AM and 7 PM
      • On Saturday, very few cyclists before 9:30 AM and after 6PM
  • Allen Street
    • Almost 1200 Confederation Trail users north of Allen Street and ~1100 the south
    • Significantly more people accessed the trail from Allen St. west vs. Allen east
    • About 400 pedestrians and cyclists using Allen St. sidewalks and bike lanes
    • Similar pedestrian numbers both days (ignoring the spike in pedestrian around 2PM on Friday)
    • Steady use of the Trail by cyclists both days
      • At least 2 cyclists during most 15-minute intervals from 10 AM to 6PM both days
      • Many intervals with 3-12 cyclists
  • Longworth Avenue
    • 1000-1100 Confederation Trail users to the east and west of Longworth Ave
    • Significantly higher pedestrian use of sidewalk on the west side of Longworth Ave than the one on the east side (600 vs. 150 south of the trail)
    • Steady and consistent pedestrian activity at this location
      • 10+ pedestrians during many 15-minute intervals, including a spike around 2PM Friday
      • Cyclist volumes of at least 1-2 during most intervals, topping out at 11 around 1PM Friday