Mar 28

The front windows of the Gettysburg Transit Center on Carlisle Street in downtown Gettysburg. Note the Pennsylvania keystones in each of the front windows. This view was taken facing east at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

We last visited the transit center in late January. Today we’ll show you some pictures of the new structure and discuss the new “Smart Parking” program. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

“Smart Parking” is a joint venture of PennDOT, the York Adams Transportation Authority, the Gettysburg Foundation, and others. The This view was taken facing east at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

“Smart Parking” is a computerized system that will display messages on signs to indicate that a parking lot is full and to direct visitors to overflow parking. This view was taken facing east at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

For instance, signs will be placed on Route 15, and if the parking lots at the Visitors Center and the National Cemetery Lot are both full, the signs will direct visitors to the outlet mall. This view was facing northeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

From the outlet mall, visitors could park, and then ride Freedom Transit into town. This view was facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

Perhaps they would stop here at the Transit Center where they can get updated news on the transit system and use the restroom. This new effort to regulate parking with technology has been enacted at a number of popular tourist destinations in the past, so it makes sense that major visitation groups in Gettysburg want to implement it here, especially if it can get more visitors using the transit system from the moment they arrive in Gettysburg. We also imagine that the Outlet Mall isn’t too upset about visitors parking there, and the downtown merchants along the square and Steinwehr Avenue will be pleased as well. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

So how do we know how many people will visit Gettysburg in 2013? In the past, it was an admitted challenge for the National Park Service to calculate visitation to the battlefield, which often resulted in an overestimation. We’re pleased to know that the park is using a more sophisticated method of estimating visitation these days. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

Park Management Assistant Katie Lawhon informed us of the following: “The National Park Service estimates monthly and annual visitation to Gettysburg NMP based on readings from an inductive loop traffic counter across Hancock Avenue (one-way traffic only) adjacent to the 19th Maine Infantry marker. The traffic count is reduced for guided tour buses and battlefield tour buses.  The reduced traffic count is multiplied by the person-per-vehicle multiplier of 2.4 for November through March; and 2.6 for April through October.” This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

“The number of buses is estimated by taking the total guided bus count from the park’s museum and visitor center plus 20 percent to estimate the buses not recorded and multiplying the count by 40 (the number of persons per bus).  In addition, the number of commercial use visitors such as those on horseback, Segway, bicycle tours, etc., the number of battlefield bus tour visitors, and the number of visitors staying in the park’s youth group campground are accounted for 2011 visitation to Gettysburg National Military Park was estimated at 1,199,061. This was an 8.42% increase over 2010.”  So, how many people do we expect in 2013? This view was taken facing west at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

The National Park Service did not forecast any numbers for visitation in 2013, although we do expect increased visitation. We determined that additional parking would be needed based on the fact that we currently have a handful of days, usually around the battle anniversary, when the parking lots at the Museum and Visitor Center fill to capacity. We wanted to find a way to solve that issue in 2013.” This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.


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