Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bike and Ped Projects at the Metropolitian Planning Organization

Yesterday the Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study Policy Committee (our regional MPO) met for the first time after a summer break.

There were no big decisions or news. The most interesting part was the list of TE projects, and the way they related to other funding cycles and project planning.

In an August 24th letter, SKATS Director Richard Schmid listed the seven projects in the Salem-Keizer area that will compete for Transportation Enhancement dollars. The application deadline is tomorrow, and while not all applications were complete, no one expected any not to get completed.
Wheatland Road North - Sidewalks, curbs, bike lanes, storm water management

Marion County
Brooklake Road Northeast - Pedestrian Enhancements
Hayesville Drive Northeast - Bicycle and Pedestrian Enhancements

Brown Road Northeast - Sidewalks and bike lanes from Sunnyview Road Northeast to city limits
Brush College Road Northwest - Construct missing section of sidewalk to Doaks Ferry Road, providing access to Brush College Elementary
Hines Street Southeast - Railroad crossing pedestrian facilities

Delany Road urban upgrade - Construct sidewalk and bike lane between 3rd and 7th streets, including railroad crossing
Between October and December SKATS committees will assess and prioritize the list and ultimately supply ODOT with a preferred order at the beginning of the year.

At that time the project packets will also have maps and fuller descriptions of the proposed improvements.

Staff also discussed updates on demographic analyses: The Population and Employment Projections and Household Travel Survey (which will have information on bicycle travel).

When discussion briefly turned to the $21M in Flex Funds, Cathy Clark from Keizer recommended that the same list of seven TE projects be submitted.

It was disappointing to hear this. Most of the projects are basic sidewalk, bike lane, and storm drain upgrades. That is, they take roads that are currently substandard, and seek to bring them up to standard. It is disappointing to see this move towards a basic standard construed as an "enhancement." That's a pretty low floor!

Moreover, the flex fund goals themselves aim much higher, and it is difficult to imagine that these seven projects will compete successfully against the kinds of projects Portland, Eugene, and Corvallis will certainly be proposing.

The Policy Committee members complained, with some justification, about the short timeline. But the problem is not the short timeline. The problem is the area's historic neglect for good bicycle infrastructure projects, and the fact that there are very few, if any, in the pipeline. The Rivercrossing Alt Modes Study has lots of great projects - but none of them far enough along the planning process, apparently.

Meanwhile, the committee got a report on the River Crossing from Dan Fricke. So far $4M has been spent on a project that may not get built (one critic calls it a boondoggle - see here and here), and another $1.9M is "in the bank" for planning that will follow the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. That's $6M that could have been spent on multi-modal project planning that would actually reduce congestion, reduce greenhouse gases, improve health and livability, and yield actual construction jobs!

The release of the DEIS continues to be delayed, and now appears to be no earlier than February. The project management team will get to see a "study committee draft," the first draft of the whole, the end of this week. It will pass through several layers of comment and revision, at both the local and federal levels.

French Country Style and the Bike as Branding

Almost exactly a year ago (guess it's the fall, huh?), Bakery D'Amour opened, and it uses a bike explicitly in its branding.

Over at Eat Salem today, bloggers Amber and Lisanne27 reported on the opening of the Crooked House Bistro. The photo is from Lisanne27's flickr set. Clearly the bikes are decorative - they convey a mood, a time, and a place. Not so much Salem as the French countryside.

This is the second food establishment I know of that uses bikes as a highly visible part of signage and branding.

This mini-trend looks like it could be a bit of a tipping point! What do you think?

Do you know of other non-bicycle businesses that are using bikes to advertise or brand? And who will be the first business to shift from prop bikes to placing a generous and covered bike parking system that encourages actual bicycle transportation? When you patronize these businesses, make sure you let them know you biked!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Willamette Trustee Eliminates Second Car, Becomes One-Car Family

Willamette Trustee Eric Friedenwald-Fishman recently ditched the second car, and now his family is a one-car household.

Over the weekend the Oregonian ran an article about his family's decision.
Their switch was the culmination of small adjustments over the years. About 10 years ago at Metropolitan Group, where Eric is president and creative director, their sustainability committee reviewed how employees commuted and realized the company gave an incentive to drive solo by paying for parking. So to promote alternatives, the company switched to a transportation allowance for a time.

Eric, who had commuted alone by car daily, decided to either walk or take the bus one day a week. Then two days a week. By 2008 he commuted every day by bike, which felt safer as more bike lanes went in along Hawthorne to downtown, and it was fun.

"It's like being a kid again," he says. "Rain or shine, hot or cold -- as long as you have rain gear, it doesn't matter."

The family's second car sat on the street until June 2009, rarely used. "We said, 'Let's do it, let's just go to one car,'" Eric says.
So far it's working out!

(Eric has more roots in Salem, as he was one of the founders of the Bistro at Willamette!)

Council also Talks Cash in Addition to Critters - Sept 27th

City Council meets tonight, and while "critters" get the headline, how the city spends "cash" is also a substantive matter.

Urban Renewal Agency

The URA board meets before the Council Meeting to decide a couple of urban renewal funding questions: Should we end the Pringle Creek Urban Renewal Area? And can the Whitlocks Building and Lafky Law Office Building be used for a "secondary lien position" to secure a $1/2M loan to the Rivers Condo project.

These are non-trivial land use matters, though not directly transportation related, and if you are interested you should read the staff reports and comment!

City Council

On Council's agenda are some other interesting, but non-transportation related matters.

The Travel Salem annual budget will be presented. At our MWVBTA meeting Kenji talked about wanting to work on bike-related tourism. Bike tourism is not discussed in the budget or its associated plan, so there's a big opportunity here!

The Planning Commission presents its year-end report, and its liason to the Bike Plan update is listed as "vacant." But David Fox is on it! It also lists a dormant Transportation Policy Advisory Committee. We'll try to find out more about that.

Finally the City wants to talk more about the disposition of $680,000 from the conservation easement on Minto-Brown.

So even though "critters" get the ink, over a million dollars will be discussed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Salem Weekly Cargo Bike at Work

Maybe the cargo bike with the longest history of use in Salem is the Salem Weekly Wagon.

While biking through downtown yesterday - there was publisher AP out doing his delivery in front of Wild Pear and Cooke's!

The cargo trike carries much more than a person, is easy for the frequent stops along the block face for delivery to retail racks and street-side boxes, and is maximally low-carbon.

That's a win!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Salemite Shoots Sharrows Video

Bill Holmstrom put together a video clip illustrating sharrows in Salem!

Holmstrom is a member of the Downtown Vision 2020 Bicycle and Pedestrian Workgroup, and regularly rides his bike around town. He produced this at CCTV.

Thanks, Bill!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Breakfast on Bikes - Bike Commute Challenge Edition

Breakfast on Bikes will be at 12th & Chemeketa on the Promenade just east of the railroad tracks on Friday, September 24th. We'll have free coffee, pastries, and fruit for bicyclists between 7am and 9am.

The Bike Commute Challenge is in the homestretch. Check out team photos here, and some great commute stories here.

City Staff will be joining us with information on the bike plan update. Maps and a survey are in progress and will hopefully be ready for comments. Look for posters on the pillars!

Please support our generous sponsors!
Cascade Baking Company
Coffee House Cafe
LifeSource Natural Foods
Salem Bicycle Club
Willamette University.

Mechanics from Santiam Bicycle will also be available for quick check derailleur adjustment, lube, and tire inflation!

View Larger Map

Monday, September 20, 2010

$21M in "Flex Funds" Available for Multi-Modal Non-Highway Projects

ODOT just announced details on a grant cycle for $21M in
Multimodal and Non-highway Transportation Projects, Programs and Services: Transit, Bicycle, Pedestrian, TDM, and the planning, research and project development that supports those projects, as well as related programs and services.
According to the release
Projects will be evaluated in part based on how they respond to the following criterion.
A. Connectivity, integration and overall benefit to the transportation system
1. Plans for/contributes to the development of a “seamless” multimodal transportation system.
2. Plans for/connects modes or serves multiple modes.
3. Completes/extends a critical system or modal link.
4. Reduces the need for a highway expansion.
5. Helps preserve a critical non-highway facility, service or program.
6. Enhances the user experience.
B. Sustainability
1. Plans for/contributes to improved environmental quality (i.e. GHG Reductions).
2. Plans for/contributes to the use of sustainable energy sources for transportation.
3. Plans for congestion mitigation/mitigates congestion.
4. Plans for/contributes to the development of livable communities.
5. Supports/preserves/creates long term employment.
6. Reduces Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT).
C. Mobility, Access and Health
1. Plans for/expands transportation choices for all Oregonians.
2. Plans for/expands/protects mobility for public transportation dependent users.
3. Plans for/extends access to good and services.
4. Plans for/links workers to jobs.
5. Contributes to a healthy, active lifestyle.
6. Reduces exposure of the population to air pollutants.
RiverCrossing Alternative Modes for the win! The study makes "24 Transportation System Management (TSM) recommendations and 20 Transportation Demand Management (TDM) recommendations to help reduce SOV [drive-alone] travel over the Willamette River in Salem."

Project applications are due in November.

Friday, September 17, 2010

MWVBTA Meeting, Tuesday Sept 21st

The September meeting of the Mid-Willamette Valley chapter of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance will be Tuesday the 21st from noon to 2pm at the Sassy Onion.

Please join us for the following agenda items, and any additional topics that you would like to bring to the table:

Temporary transit mall location
Downtown sharrows
BTA Board candidates
Walk + Bike Day
Bike Commute Challenge update
Bike Plan process update
Bike counts update
MyPeace project
Breakfast on Bikes
Smart Cycling classes
Bike Safety Education start-up for fall

If you are a member of the BTA, are interested in the BTA, or would just like to make Salem a better place to bike, please join us!

(City Council has only two items on the agenda for Monday: Chickens and sending the Mayor-elect to Japan for a Sanyo business development trip. So no separate council post!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Portland maps Bike Routes in French Prairie, Eola Hills

The Portland Bureau of Transportation just released a set of recreational maps that go down to the northern edges of Salem!

Here's the map of the Eola Hills.

BikePortland's got 10 more!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Drivers don't Yield to Pedestrians

Yesterday while conducting a bike count at Church and Mission, in front of Bush House and the Blind School, the most surprising result was the proportion of auto drivers who failed to yield for pedestrians.

Here's the crosswalk and pedestrian median looking east, towards 12th street. It's clearly signed and marked. This is not an ambiguous, uncertain intersection!

During a two hour interval, when joggers or walkers arrived at the crosswalk, and when traffic was flowing (we didn't count if traffic was stopped or large gaps in traffic made crossing easy), 15 drivers stopped and 27 drivers blew past the waiting person on foot. By almost 2:1, drivers failed to stop for pedestrians!

The law says:
At any other crosswalks - whether marked with paint or unmarked - drivers must: Stop and remain stopped for pedestrians until they have cleared the lane in which you are traveling (or into which you are turning) and the next lane.

It would be interesting to count the number of drivers still talking on cel phones or texting. We saw many instances of each, but did not count them.

This was a complicated intersection with people bicycling, walking, jogging, scootering and skating, and driving. If a parking lot dumps more traffic onto Winter, improving the crossing even more for a wide range of road users may be necessary.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

City Council, September 13th

Monday's City Council agenda contains lots of little bits related to bicycling and transportation.

Bus Mall

The biggest item is the Not-so-Temporary Transit Mall location. (For a map, see yesterday's note.)

Something interesting about the staff report are the letters in opposition to various sites. We've already mentioned opposition to the Capitol Mall location. The arguments from auto-oriented development against the Union Street location suggest both avenues of opposition and ways towards compromise to a Union Street Bicycle Boulevard. These arguments also underscore ways that further development along Union Street needs to support bike transportation and be consistent with increasing bike traffic on Union. If future development is solely auto-oriented, upgrading Union to a Bicycle Boulevard will run into more opposition, very similar to the opposition to the transit mall.

Unfortunately, the State seems more interested in parking revenues than in sustainable transportation. This is understandable, but is also a clear instance of the way costs are externalized and pricing is out of whack. The market can't allocate resources properly here.

The Arts

It may not seem very bikey, but it seemed relevant that a cluster of artsy activities was on the agenda.

Council will be selecting candidates for the new Public Art Commission.

Today's news that The Space is closing dovetails sadly with a progress report on the proposed Entertainment Districts and revised Noise Ordinance.

Music in the evening, though, is a kind of public art, and it is good to see movement towards the enrichment of our public spaces!

(Signage design: BAM Agency)

Another kind of public art is the Vision 2020 signage and wayfinding project. The Wayfinding and Entranceway Task Force is requesting about $50,000 in Downtown-Riverfront Urban Renewal Funds to design and install wayfinding and gateway signage. Obviously, there's a significant interest in making downtown attractive for bikes - infrastructure's the next step! - and linking this to tourism and the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway.

Over at Desperately Seeking Salem, Emily offers a humorous set of alternative names!

Other Policy and Process

A tantalizing little detail is a teensy line-item in the Capital Improvement Plan. $54,420 is the "bikeway fund." This may be the State's contribution of 1% of highway funds for bike infrastructure.

The Subway Drive-through at 1245 Columbia NE is also on the docket.

Back in May, Mackenzie Ryan wrote an interesting piece on the School District's interest in a LEED certified school at the corner of Sunnyview and Cordon NE. The parcel was going to be on the ballot for annexation this fall, but the annexation has been withdrawn from the ballot. This may mean that development for the school is slowing down, or that the developers wish only to go through a County planning process.

Finally, on the agenda is the adoption of the Community Energy Strategy. This project funded the sharrows on Chemeketa NE and Rosemont NW.

The strategy's transportation goal focuses on "moving people." This small, but significant, because the mobility standards in the 1999 Highway Plan all focus on the rates of vehicles with engines. So a full bus counts the same as a drive-alone car trip. People on bike or foot don't count. This transportation energy policy focuses on the movement of people, and by this standard a bus counts for a lot more than a drive-alone trip. This is a necessary direction for all future transportation planning!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Council Preview - Temporary Transit Mall

Several interesting things on the City Council agenda for Monday, but none more relevant than the temporary Transit Mall location for Cherriots.

After running into several bouts of opposition, Cherriots and the City are recommending a location on Church Street between Union and Marion NE.

We'll have more on this and the other council agenda items over the weekend.

At first glance, because Church street becomes one-way at Union, with south-bound traffic diverted east or west, Church street has only two north-bound lanes and lots of unused roadway. This looks like a solution that minimally hampers traffic circulation and, again, uses surplus roadway. And, just looking at bikeways, it doesn't impact bike travel much - indeed, it may not affect it at all, since it appears north-bound bike travel would be unaffected.

Look for more later.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Film about 21st Century Transportation to Screen Tonight

Tonight at 7pm at the Grand Theater, the Salem Progressive Film Series screens Beyond the Motor City, a film about Detroit and its transportation infrastructure.
Before being dubbed the Motor City, Detroit was once home to the nation's most extensive streetcar system. In fact, it was that vast network of streetcars that carried workers to the area's many car factories. And it was the cars made in those factories that would soon displace the streetcars in Detroit — and in every major American city.

Over the last 30 years, much of the world has moved on, choosing faster, cleaner, more modern transportation and leaving America — and Detroit — behind.
Three transportation and development experts will lead a talk after the film. See the series website for complete information.

Salem enjoyed a modest streetcar network in the early 20th century, but it ended in 1927. Some streets today still have rails, and this accounts for the high crown on them.

School Planning Stints Walking and Biking Connectivity

Congressman Oberstar's (D-MN) visit yesterday to Beach Elementary School in Portland showed some of the ways Salem lags behind other cities in active transportation.

Oberstar, who sponsored the National Safe Routes program, was on a swing through Oregon with Congressman Defazio. (Oberstar is Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Defazio Chair of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.)

While Oberstar visited Eugene and Portland, it appears he bypassed the State Capital.

One of the elements of the proposed Battlecreek Elementary School is a multi-use path that runs through a 30-foot buffer between the residential neighborhood and the school grounds.

The plans call for a six foot path.

According to both the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities and the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, such paths should be wider. The Oregon standards say that
3 m (10 ft) is the standard width for a two-way multi-use path; they should be 3.6 m (12 ft) wide in areas with high mixed-use. Faster moving bicyclists require greater width than pedestrians; optimum width should be based on the relative use by these two modes. High use by skaters may also require greater width....
The City, however, does not think this applies and says
it is not considered a transportation facility, so while it does have to comply with ADA, it does not have to comply with AASHTO or other transportation design standards.

This may be true, and unfortunately the City's Comprehensive Plan is not helpful.

While it calls for pedestrian connectivity in school siting, it says nothing about bicycling or other forms of active transportation.

But even if solely pedestrian connectivity is considered, City standards call for a wider sidewalk! Salem Revised Code on sidewalks calls for an 8-foot standard when they connect to schools.

The current plans for Battlecreek may perfectly fulfill zoning and development code requirements. The path, strictly speaking, is not a sidewalk. But in too many instances, in the City proper and the School District, Salem has been satisfied with a the minimum letter rather than looking more ambitiously to satisfy the spirit of planning goals.

The battlecreek parcel has significant problems with connectivity, and it is worrisome that the planning process is getting off to such a narrow start.

With the school parcel having less than optimal connectivity, it is even more important that the park allow for connections along both north-south and east-west axes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Two Candidates with Salem Ties Run for BTA Board

There's a bunch of candidates for the Board of Directors for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Two of them have links to Salem! Cecil works in Salem and Kenji lives in Salem. (For the complete list, see the BikePortland article.)

Cecil Reniche-Smith
Cecil is a devoted bicyclist and attorney for the State of Oregon whose professional and practical experience with the courts and legislature would add strength to the BTA's legislative agenda. An avid bike commuter and recreational cyclist, Cecil wants to create an environment in which bicycle transportation is the norm, and not the exception. Cecil has served on the boards of directors of Randonneurs USA, REACH Community Development, and Oregon Women Lawyers.
Kenji Sugahara
Kenji is the Executive Director of the 4,000 plus member Oregon Bicycle Racing Association. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Oregon School of Law, he is also a member of the Oregon State Bar. Originally from Connecticut, he now resides in Salem with his wife Tessa. Not only does Kenji love road bikes, he enjoys mountain biking, track riding and cyclocross. Known for crashing all the time on his mountain bike, he always gets up with a smile. He believes the success of cycling in Oregon can be credited to the wonderful cycling community and efforts of great organizations like the BTA. His love of cycling is evident every time he gets on the bike - he's always grinning when he's on two wheels (which happens to include his motorcycle).
Doug Parrow's term is not up, and he'll remain on the board.

If both Kenji and Cecil are elected, that would give the board three directors with Salem-area ties!

Planning Commission Approves Reduction in Elementary School Bike Parking

Last night the Planning Commission looked at plans for the proposed Battlecreek Elementary School, to be built on the former site of the Battlecreek Golf Course.

The Commission approved a request to adjust the amount of bike parking.

According to the District:
The proposed elementary school building will contain 27 classrooms...Pursuant to SRC 133.110(a) [and Table 133-1]...the District's facility would be required to provide 192 parking spaces.

The nature of the development and the reality of actual bicycle use warrant a deviation from the minimum bicycle parking requirement of the zoning code in this case....

In an earlier case this year, School District used bike parking counts to establish that the average bike daily parking volume at Salem-Keizer elementary schools was 13 and that the maximum number was 40. So they suggest that an increase of 50% over the maximum and 360% over the average is sufficient.

We don't know when the counts were taken - if they were winter counts and therefore suppressed or spring counts in fair weather. But perhaps this is not important.

Bike parking at Salem schools isn't always inviting: Because it is not fenced or secure, it is not sheltered from the elements, and it uses non-recommended racking systems, we should not be surprised that the parking is little used. The bikes rust in the rain, kids get wet and cold loading and unloading, and parents may justifiably worry about theft.

Moreover, because the schools lack a robust set of Safe Routes, many parents do not feel confident sending their children to school on bike.

Given the present state of bicycling in Salem, the school district's stance on 192 spaces is reasonable.* Much more needs to be done to encourage bicycling, and the mere existence of an extra 132 spaces will not by itself be enough. Perhaps as part of the TSP and Safe Routes planning efforts, the project partners can propose a more realistic and improved bike parking code.

In the meantime, instead of taking a large and unattractive bike parking installation and simply making it smaller, the school district should consider trading quantity for quality, and making a very attractive and functional 60 space installation. It would be sheltered, secure, and connect easily to the sidewalk system surrounding the school.

*The disparity in required parking warrants further inquiry. It seems this school requirement is excessive - and yet the Chemeketa Center for Business and Industry has only a teensy, tiny rack! The zoning code's requirements seem very uneven at the moment.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sustainable Cities Prof Takes Bike Tour on Parks Connectivity

In addition to downtown art and socializing, September's first Wednesday also brought a visit from Marc Schlossberg from the University of Oregon Sustainable Cities Initiative.

The City of Salem is participating in a year long program in which faculty and students collaborate on a number of planning projects. One of the projects centers on downtown parks connectivity. It will involve two classes, "Social Planning and GIS" in the fall, and "Bicycle Planning" in the spring.

Courtney Knox from the City led a conversation with Marc and Vision 2020 Bicycle and Pedestrian Workgroup members on the question of parks connectivity.

The group highlighted a long list of assets and advantages the City and downtown enjoys, and then drilled into an equally long list of challenges and difficulties that hamper efforts fully to realize the value of those assets.

After the meeting, several members went out on a bike tour with Marc to see and comment on the on-road realities.

One of the chief topics were the dead-ends and barriers surrounding the Union Street Railroad Bridge. Here's where the rail right of way, the most intuitive path off the bridge, simply dead-ends into Wallace.

A June 1st, 2008 letter from ODOT makes their position on this quite clear.

...bicycle crossings should not be promoted. As a path connection at this location may instigate future community requests for a marked crosswalk and subsequent at grade pedestrian crossing will not be approved at this location.

The group also talked about the Blind School Parcel and its impacts on park connectivity with Bush Park and the Pringle Creek walkway.

Assuming the Church street is left alone, the group also discussed ways that connections from Bush Park to Church street and especially to Winter street might be improved.

The Sustainable Cities Project will be exciting to watch - and with luck the collective brains will conjure solutions that cut through some of the knots currently binding Salem from effective action!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Take a Joyride for a Pleasant Weekend Read

We're in the third year of counting bicycle traffic in Salem, and it's not always easy to draw solid inferences from small data sets. One of the early suggestions from helmet use and gender splits, is that Salem is about 10 or 15 years behind Portland, where there's almost 20 years of data.

Just last month, Mia Birk has published her memoirs. Joyride: Pedaling Towards a Healthier Planet recounts her tenure as Portland's Bicycle Coordinator during those formative years in the 90s.

If Salem is indeed 10 or 15 years behind Portland, her struggles in the 90s should resemble Salem's struggles today. And it turns out there are some interesting parallels.

(Whether across all cities there really is a constant trajectory of increasing bicycle use is not certain, and perhaps unlikely, so it's best not to press a model too hard. Nonetheless, the parallels also suggest ways that Salem can capture some of the Portland mojo and avoid some of the Portland potholes.)

Many of the parallels are in plain view. A core problem is that of connections across the Willamette river. Salem struggles with many of the same issues, and it's clear that solving them is absolutely critical. 15,000 bike trips a day are made across the Hawthorne Bridge, approaching a fifth of the total vehicular traffic. The hills of West Salem complicate this, but Salem should be making a greater effort to make it easy for people not to drive across the bridge. Another is business resistance to people on bikes. But pitching the case for bikes to business hardly differs from city to city - it just has to be done!

One place where we aren't lagging is with sharrows! In part because of Birk and Portland's work, sharrows are appearing in Salem, and here the cycle is considerably shorter than 10 or 15 years.

The memoir also has a great Salem angle. One of Birk's stories is about the inaugural Bridge Pedal event. Getting the final permits for the Interstate bridges proved difficult, and the charisma and persuasive salesmanship of a colleague named Eric Fishman was critical in securing the permits from ODOT.

Fishman, it turns out, has some roots in Salem! While a student at Willamette in the 80s, he started The Bistro, a student-run coffee shop, now at the epicenter of campus life. He went on to a career with the Metropolitan Group, and is now a trustee of Willamette.

Makes you wonder what great things the organizers of the Bike Shop will accomplish!

In the end there were three great lessons for me. First, the importance of having someone in city government. Salem doesn't have a bike coordinator, and we need one.
Having someone on staff designated as bicycle coordinator can be crucial.... (Remember, it is a cardinal rule in every bureaucracy that any task not specified as someone's job is a task that will never get done.)

After things don't work out for the first of many times, she writes about frustration and challenge:
Chalk one up for utter naivete. In a few short months, I've discovered how far we have to go within my own agency, other city bureaus, the business community and the public at large. Nothing but challenges, day in and day out.

The importance of persistence and the long arc:
It has taken close to a generation to teach people to place their bottles, cans, paper and plastic in recycling bins. It will take a generation or more to integrate bicycling and walking into daily life, but only if we get rolling.

It turns out that it's not enough to adopt a Bicycle Plan, building code, or maintenance practices. We've got to retrain all the humans involved, both inside and outside government. Otherwise, all we've got is words on paper.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Wednesday Traffic: Bicycling an Obvious Solution!

In no small part because of the construction slowing, First Wednesday downtown traffic was at a stand-still by Salem standards!

But you know who and what were able to maneuver and get to where they needed to be?

Yup. Bikes!

One of the bikes is the second pedicab to join the Salem Bike Taxi fleet! Michele Darr and Mark Babson operate them. In the past week I've seen them at the Fair and in the hills of South Salem. They get around! And they can get your friends around!

This Dutch graphic makes the rounds from time to time, and it can hardly be overused.

If more of us biked, there'd be a lot more room on downtown streets!