New device counts IRT users
The Ironton Rail Trail affords a scenic and historic experience for walkers, joggers and bicyclists as towering trees and remnants of the cement and iron industry stand as sentries along the side of the trail. The IRT meanders across Coplay Borough and Whitehall Township and includes a spur in North Whitehall Township.
The IRT Oversight Commission realized the number of people on the trail daily was large and wanted solid figures of exactly how many.
With grant funding, the commission is utilizing electronics, similar to vehicle traffic counts, to calculate how many people are using the trail.
Ray Bieak, IRT officer, reported a device has been installed along the trail, near the red caboose and trailhead in Stiles.
“In the five months since we put the equipment in and did the installation in December (2017), we had a count of 45,000 hits,” Bieak said.
Bieak said the number takes into account that people may twice pass the site where the counter is — once going and once returning. He said the figures separate those on bikes and the ones walking and jogging.
The installation involved putting up a 3-foot-high post, digging a manhole containing the electronic equipment and stretching a wire underneath the macadam path to record each walker and jogger.
A second device has been installed off Portland Street in North Whitehall Township. The numbers for the same time frame are about equal between walkers and bike riders.