The project team collected transportation-related data in Mill Creek Canyon in July 2011 (including the Pioneer Day holiday) and February 2012 (including President’s Day weekend). During both time periods, the project team collected data on daily traffic volumes, pedestrian and bicyclist activity, parking use patterns, and the presence of dogs in the canyon. Below is a summary of the information gathered in the canyon.
- Weekends generate more traffic than weekdays, peaking on Saturday July 23 with roughly 2,300 vehicles passed the Fee Booth to enter the canyon. Only a third of those vehicles continue past Maple Grove.
- Roughly two-thirds of the vehicles entering the canyon had at least two people inside; the remaining third were single occupant vehicles.
- On odd-numbered days when dogs are allowed off-leash in some areas of the canyon, roughly 15% of vehicles contained dogs. These were only the dogs that were observed; it is possible that more dogs were present that were not visible to the data collectors.
- Bikes were observed in 7% of vehicles, on average.
- On average, 18 cyclists per hour and six pedestrians per hour were observed traveling uphill near the Fee Booth.
- Certain parking areas see heavy use in the summer. These include the Big Water trailhead and overflow lots, Porter Fork/Burch Hollow, and South Box Elder.
- Winter traffic is significantly less than summer: roughly 650 vehicles passed the Fee Booth to enter the canyon. This equates to less than 30% of summer traffic levels.
- During the winter, people are spending less time in the canyon. During the summer, the canyon is typically busy from 6AM – 8PM, and in the winter the canyon is typically busy from 8AM – 4PM. This reflects colder weather conditions, less sunlight, and limited availability of recreation areas due to canyon road closures at Maple Grove.
- Parking demand is concentrated at Maple Grove (near the Winter Gate) and at Porter Fork/Burch Hollow.
- Vehicle occupancy and the presence of dogs were similar to July 2011, but the numbers of bicyclists and pedestrians were much lower.
The project team distributed surveys to canyon users in July 2011 and February 2012. Click here to see the results of both surveys.