Most of the people who use the Boise Greenbelt have a college degree. And last year, more people used it on weekdays. Those are two big conclusions from two years’ worth of surveys on the 45-year-old trail system.
Jaap Vos is director of the Community and Regional Planning Program at Boise State University. BSU has done surveys on the Greenbelt two years in 2012 and 2013.
One thing surprised Vos: In 2012 there were more users during the weekend, and in 2013 there were more users during the week. “This is an indication that this is a park that is used every single day,” says Vos. “It doesn’t matter whether it is a weekend or a weekday. It’s used continuously by a whole bunch of different people.”
Is it a park or a transportation corridor? Vos says it’s part of Boise’s Parks and Recreation Department, so many think of it as Boise’s largest park. But he found during the week, and even on the weekend, many people use it for commuting.
“They run errands, or go out for lunch, or they go to the market, or they do other things, but they use the Greenbelt to get there,” Vos says.
He points out there is no average user of the Greenbelt. He says for most parks, you can describe who uses it. But the Greenbelt is used by almost everyone.
“From a commuter, to a family with children, from somebody is hiking and walking the dog, to somebody who is a serious athlete and running,” says Vos, “you see this large variety of different users.”
Here are some interesting trends from the surveys.
- 71 percent of users have a college degree.
- Most weekday users live within half a mile of the Greenbelt.
- The vast majority of users feel safe.
Vos says people, especially bikers, want to see improvements in the surface of the Greenbelt. But people who use the trail for recreation want amenities like additional restrooms and water fountains.
He says people underestimate the value of the Boise Greenbelt. “I think the Greenbelt is not only a tremendous resource that is used by a lot of people every day,” Vos says, “I think it’s also something that attracts people to Boise.”
Vos came to Boise from Florida and one of the things that attracted him to this city was the Greenbelt, which lets him bike to work. “People love the Greenbelt, it’s one of the things they love about Boise.”
Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio