PARK SLOPE — If customers vote with their feet, then Fifth Avenue businesses will soon be able to count those votes one step at a time.
The Park Slope Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District recently installed five foot-traffic sensors that will track exactly how many people walk along the avenue and what time they visit.
The data could help shops and restaurants better target potential customers and could be useful for businesses considering a move to Fifth Avenue, said Mark Caserta, the BID's executive director.
"We have no idea how many people are walking around or visiting," Caserta said. "It's something good to know."
The BID is paying New York-based Placemeter $3,000 to do the people counting.
Placemeter uses small devices mounted near the sidewalk to count how many people pass by, Caserta said. The sensors were installed last week in five spots within the BID's territory from Dean to 18th Street. Caserta will be able to see the foot traffic count on a website that displays real-time data.
Placemeter will track Fifth Avenue's visitor patterns for the next six months. That time period will show the ups and downs of activity on the avenue, from the doldrums of August to the rush around Christmas and the drop-off that comes in January, Caserta said.
The BID is also curious to see whether there's an influx of visitors to Fifth Avenue when there are big games or other popular events at the Barclays Center, Caserta said.
Fifth Avenue business owner Pamela Brown said she's hoping the foot traffic data will help her make more informed decisions about how to market her yoga studio, Align Brooklyn, near 16th Street.
Most customers find Align Brooklyn by walking past the business, Brown said. The business is on the second floor, so she keeps fliers and a sandwich board outside to attract attention. If she knew there was a certain time of day more potential customers were walking by, she might try a marketing strategy with that knowledge in mind, she said.
"It would be really interesting for us to know how many people are passing by," Brown said. "Obviously we know the weekend is the most busy, but in terms of the weekdays, it would be interesting to know when people are walking by."