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Biking, Walking On The Rise In Wichita Region

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Transportation planners are getting an update on the trends of bicycle and pedestrian activity in the region.

The Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WAMPO) enlists dozens of volunteers each September to count people riding bikes, walking, running or even skateboarding.

This year’s count, which took place on Sept. 20 and 22, shows a 16 percent increase in activity levels. Overall, the number of people biking and walking is up about 22 percent since 2012, when the annual count began.

"We are counting more people this year, and we counted more people last year and the years before," says Tricia Thomas, communications manager with WAMPO. "It’s telling a story about what people are doing, how people are traveling in our city and our region."

The traffic count takes place during specific times at 35 locations around Sedgwick, Butler and Sumner counties.

"With the snapshot, we get a good picture of what the traffic looks like at the same time, on the same day every year," Thomas says.

She says WAMPO and its planning partners use the data to help plan for future improvements and investment in places where people are actually biking or walking.  

The city of Wichita has bicycle and pedestrian master plans, which aim to increase the amount of walking and biking in the city.

The city is studying two neighborhoods, Uptown and Hilltop, to improve conditions for bicycling and walking. The city began a neighborhood circulation plan earlier this year to show how and where infrastructure improvements can provide greater mobility and access.

The city expects to develop a toolkit that other neighborhoods can use to create their own neighborhood-level bicycle and pedestrian circulation plans.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.