Tuesday, July 1, 2014

LTE on Union St RR Bridge Points Towards Better Park and Ride Concept

In today's paper a writer suggests changing the Union St. Railroad Bridge "to a 'small vehicles only' bridge during the rush hour parts of the day..."

Make this part of the commute!
I bet the writer hasn't actually walked on the bridge and envisioned how tight and slow a procession of cars on it would be! (Or walked on it and experienced how great it is without cars!)

More to the point, it's a bridge strictly for people who walk and bike, though engineered for the rare emergency vehicle.

As such, its "capacity" for people not in cars wildly exceeds its capacity for drive-alone cars. A lot more people can walk on the bridge than drive on it!

So why not try an idea long advocated by N3B?

The City should aggressively sell and attractively price M-F parking permits to people who live in West Salem and work downtown. Ask them to park in Wallace Park during the day and to walk or bike the last mile to work.

This would be a great thing to pilot during the summer and to see what kind of impact it has on bridge traffic, and what kind of impact it has on foot traffic and quality of life in downtown.

What's the downside, really?

If there are problems, it can be abandoned. If it looks like a good thing, maybe there are ways to expand the park-n-ride concept, or to sweeten it to continue through the fall and winter months the rain and dark makes us long for the sun.

It's an experiment that should happen!


Jeff Schumacher said...

I like your idea, but the City should put in the cycletrack on Union Street too. That would give bikers a safer way to the Capitol Mall area, and it would remove some parking along Union. In other words, make it easier to bike and harder to drive. It shouldn't be that hard to solve congestion over our two bridges!

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Agree! (To be clear - the idea originates, as far as I know, with No 3rd Bridge. Just "reblogging" it here!)

Jim Scheppke said...

Speaking for NO 3rd Bridge, our proposal was free parking in Wallace Marine Park for bike and pedestrian commuters only, Monday through Friday. Mark Wigg, a strong NO 3rd Bridge supporter, came up with this idea and we have been pushing it for some time. The idea was to create a big incentive for folks who may be spending $70 a month to lease a parking space in a garage, and to have it be cost free for the City to administer. We don't understand why no one on the City Council has pursued this idea. We think it's a great one.

Mike De Blasi said...

I like the idea, if people will use it. The only reason for Salem not to do it is because it's small scale and would require them to consider an alternative to the third bridge.

What about a circulator bus route that stays in West Salem/Polk County and drops riders off somewhere near the foot/bike bridge and another that picks up at the other end of the bridge? That way people who live in West Salem can get to downtown or beyond without a car and they get in a short (or long) walk/bike ride.