Monday, January 31, 2011

Second Street NW Plan Minimizes Mobility Choice and doesn't Improve E-W Movement

On Wednesday morning, the West Salem Redevelopment Advisory Board meets to discuss plans for Second Street NW. While several planning goals call for improved bicycle connectivity, the street plans themselves focus mainly on accommodating cars and car parking. Real mobility choice is not envisioned.

Here are three design alternatives. The central railroad median is removed and the broad avenue permits various configurations of car parking.

While traffic speeds would not be high in any of these alternatives, as Second would remain a local street, even with sharrows Second Street would be focused on higher turn-over parking for retail and commercial business.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Statesman Op-Ed Asks for "New Look" at Road Funding

Road use is priced all wrong. Maybe this year the legislature can start to do something about it.

Retired ODOT administrator Claudia Howells writes in today's Statesman about the genesis of the dedicated gax tax:
Thirty years later it is time to take a new look at how we fund transportation. What seemed like a good idea in 1979 has locked Oregon into a 1950s transportation system. Though many states dedicate gas taxes to roads, Oregon has the strictest limitation in the nation, restricting all fees associated with motor vehicles.

Most Oregonians support fuel-efficient vehicles and many support improving all forms of transportation, but the law offers no flexibility. Bikeways funded from "transportation funds" must be contiguous with roadway pavement, which really means that bike lanes are nothing more than shoulders on highways rather than safer, separated pathways. Does this make sense?

Can we continue supporting an expensive way of moving people and goods while we neglect more efficient and safer systems? Or perhaps road users should pay the full cost of the road system. Most drivers pay slightly over a dollar a day for the privilege of using public roads, far less than the cost to the public.
For a longer analysis of road funding, see Doug's detailed note, in which he estimated the gas tax should be at least $3.50 (not just 30 cents!) for car users and the public to break even on road use, and a separate OSPIRG analysis.

This is a debate too often carried out in a factual vacuum, with proponents of the status quo arguing that car users pay fully for the roads and that non-car users are enjoying a free ride; but something like the opposite is true, instead. Car users are enormously subsidized on the roadways.

What looks like a free market in action is in fact far from a free market. Drive-alone car preference is not the impartial result of the market's invisible hand, a decision for the best and most efficient tool for a set of transportation jobs, but is the guided result of a huge set of subsidies.

Conservatives, libertarians, and liberals all ought to see this as a terribly inefficient market! Road use is priced all wrong.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Going Dutch: Henk Pander's Tainted Transportation and the Missing Bike

Last night at Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Roger Hull opened the Henk Pander retrospective with a talk, "Memory and Modern Life."

The talk and its amplification was, alas, a bit muffled, but the slides were clear: The juxtaposition of Dutch old masters with modern Panders was fascinating. Pander is Dutch, and the tradition of landscape, still life, and contemporary life seemed wired in his painterly DNA.

One of the things that Hull discussed a little, and which naturally was interesting here, was Pander's take on transportation.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Library Displays for Walking and Biking Show Problems and Solutions

Last night's open house at the West Salem Library for the biking and walking plans was terrific. Dan's got a report on the one at the 50+ Center.

There are two more! So don't miss out.
  • Wednesday - tonight! - January 26, 2011, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Main Library, Anderson Rooms
  • Thursday, January 27, 2011, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Houck Middle School Media Room, 1155 Connecticut Street SE, Salem, 97317
One of the posters is a list of "hot spots." Not surprisingly, Lancaster's at the top of the list.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Local Advocates Nominated for Alice Awards

The Alice Awards are the highest honor given by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance at their annual dinner each year. This year there are four area advocates nominated for Alice Awards.

Doug Parrow
Doug is committed to improving bicycling statewide and locally in the Keizer-Salem area, playing a role in several bike organizations including the Salem Bicycle Club, the Mid-Willamette Valley chapter of the BTA, and, until last year, Doug was the longest-serving member on the BTA board of directors. Doug Parrow is a 13-year veteran of the BTA board. For many years he guided the BTA's legislative efforts, stepping up to volunteer his time almost daily during the 2009 legislative session. Doug helped push bike-friendly legislation and worked to educate individual legislators about realities and misperceptions of bicycling. His work includes: Vulnerable Roadway User law; Vehicular Homicide bill; analysis and position paper to explain how Oregon roads are funded and combat the argument that bicyclist don't pay their fair share of road costs; in 2007, Doug retooled the Oregon Vehicle Code’s Careless Driving provision to include enhanced noncriminal penalties, including community service and suspension of driving privileges, that were probably substantially more serious than what would otherwise apply to a misdemeanor or other lesser crime.

Kenji Sugahara
Kenji is the executive director for Oregon Bicycle Racing Association. Under his direction the past four years, Kenji has increased the participation in competitive cycling, while also bridging the gap between competitive cyclists and commuters and advocates, recognizing we are all stronger working together as cyclists. Often cycling groups become separated, but together we can achieve more and Kenji recognizes this. He reaches out to groups like the BTA, USA cycling and regional politicians to advocate for all cyclists, not just racers. We are all lucky to have Kenji in our community.

Kristin Dahl
Kristin has been a tireless champion for developing and promoting cycling travel and tourism within the state of Oregon. Her leadership has taken the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Partnership from an informal committee to a committed group creating change and action within the Oregon cycling community. She has also been the driving force behind the creation and promotion of Ride Oregon Ride, the online destination and resource for all cycling-related travel information in Oregon. Her tireless efforts during the past two years have truly been a boon to the state. Finally, her efforts have helped show that cycling-related travel is not only an avenue to greater advocacy, but is also an economic driver, especially for rural communities that are looking to transition their economies to recreational-based ones.

Tim Sinatra
Tim Sinatra, the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Salem, gained the support of the local community and developed the youth cycling team, the FLOWRIDERS. Tim received donations from local bike shops, race teams and businesses to provide full equipment and gear for nine at risk teens to have everything they need to ride the road as a team. The teens give their time, attitude and maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average, which many did not have prior to the team. I personally have seen their self-esteem increase and their grades improve. It has been great to see the teens grow, not only in cycling ability and strength, but in awareness of the power of their choices in life.

(Photos: Parrow, Dahl, Jonathan Maus/BikePortland; Sugahara, BTA; Sinatra, Boys and Girls Club)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Breakfast on Bikes - Jan 28th

We're back! After a holiday break, Breakfast on Bikes returns for your commuting pleasure.

This Friday, January 28th, between 7 and 9am, we'll be at Mission & Winter. Free coffee, fruit, and pastries for bike commuters.

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

Please join us!

Remember our sponsors!
Cascade Baking Company
Coffee House Cafe
LifeSource Natural Foods
Salem Bicycle Club
Willamette University Sustainability Council

View Larger Map

Sunday, January 23, 2011

City Council, Jan 24th - Mesmerized by Car Parking?

The appetite for car parking too often gobbles up live space, whether public or private, building sites or streetscape. It's like an automaton - a zombie appetite that just won't stop.

But it doesn't have to be this way. If cars themselves are useful transportation tools, they should also be part of a toolbox or a menu of mobility choices. Unfortunately, most people don't feel they have a range of choices.

Without being at all explicitly about it, our commitment to car monoculture and parking is all over Monday's Council agenda.

But first a note about a retirement. Director of Urban Development Rick Scott retired on Friday, and his group was responsible for the Union Street Railroad Bridge project. Thanks, Rick, and happy retirement!

Agenda Items

An interesting note about changing the procurement process for the downtown Economic Improvement District. Currently Go Downtown Salem administers the EID. Their contract is up for renewal and it is being opened to competitive bids. City staff feel that the "request for proposal" process will be inadequate and recommend changing to a "special procurement process."

I really have no idea what the change in process would mean, but since downtown connectivity and mobility choice is critical to bicycling in Salem, the EID renewal process is worth paying attention to.

An update on the Marion Park development. A couple of years ago, Marion Park, LLC secured the rights to building out a mixed use development, including housing, on top of the Marion Parkade.

Western Oregon University was interested in having a small campus in the development, and with Chemeketa's CCBI kitty-corner that would create a neat cluster of higher education along the Union Street corridor. The density fits with the opportunity to continue to reshape Union Street as a bicycle boulevard; but also threatens to revert to more of the same auto-oriented development. In any event, as you might expect, the economy has stalled the development. The development team is the same one behind the Rivers condos, and the city's packet contains an interesting letter from them.

The DEQ is requiring additional environmental remediation on Minto-Brown Island, and the easement on Minto-Brown for the Riverfront-Minto bridge needs to be modified slightly.

The status report and update to the December 2009, Council Goals, is the most interesting part of the agenda. Now that the Sustainable Cities Initiative is going, it is clear that many of the projects the students are undertaking dovetail with the goals and interests Council identified.

It's amazing how many of the goals actually relate to car parking. It's sad how much land and how many resources we apply inefficiently to the subsidy of storing cars between trips.

Friday, January 21, 2011

City to get Grant for NoBro Parking Study

Back in the late 90s, the City trumpeted the North Downtown District as undergoing "revitalization."

It took a while, but a significant chapter in that larger project has been completed. Three sites on Broadway at or near Market street have been sold and redeveloped. Between Salem Cinema, the Broadway Coffeeshop and Commons building, and other businesses, the district is beginning to hop!

With these three large parcels being developed, one of the problems is traffic and the encroachment of parking onto neighborhoods that were developed without attached garages and whose residents depend on on-street parking.

Earlier this year the City applied for two Transportation and Growth Management grants. The Edgewater one was not awarded, but the City did win a grant for the North Downtown study.

TGM grants take a while, and there's a bit of a dance between the State and the grantee as they decide exactly what the scope of the project and deliverables will be. So it may be some time before we learn what exactly the study will entail.

Ostensibly it is a parking study. A car parking study. But the goal should be not to figure out how to pack more cars in the neighborhood, but to figure out how to get more people into the district. And a large part of that should be developing ways to make it easier so people feel they have a realistic choice to walk or bike.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bike Plan Draft Memos Released; First Look at Crash Data

Tonight the Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the Walk and Bike Plan Updates meets second time. They'll be reviewing a bunch of documents, which have been posted on the City's site.

These include a bike analysis (see below for more), a walking analysis (47pp, 8MB), a safe school routes analysis (75pp, 12MB), and an ADA analysis (9pp, 4MB).

In the next week or so I'll have some more detailed observations. Hopefully others will chime in, too. There's lots to chew on.

But for the moment I want to cherry pick some highlights from Bicycle Needs Assessment Draft Memo (32pp, 5MB) - and to express in general terms a great happiness to see a pretty comprehensive look at the state of bicycling in Salem. It's only a step, but it's a great step.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why is Lancaster so Effed up? The Patchwork and Mobility Choice

When the mapping project closed, there were still almost no pins in west Salem and very few in east Salem. Between the two areas are important differences in both geography and demographics. So it is difficult to make generalizations that are accurate to both.

One important difference is that while the bike plan update can theoretically specify solutions for west Salem, it may be largely powerless between I-5 and Cordon Road - though the project is both a City of Salem update and a Salem-Keizer School District Safe Routes plan, and it will be interesting to see how they fit together.

Most of us probably don't give sufficient attention is the fact that there are vast swaths of unincorporated county land that superficially appear to be "inside Salem." This is non-trivial technical detail!

The problem is most acute on Lancaster*, where there are not just two, but three jurisdictions responsible for the road.

No wonder Lancaster is so awful! It's Cerebrus, the three-headed monster!

Bad metaphors aside, the Transportation System Plan for Salem looks atomically at individual roads. You can see how Salem roads are in yellow and county roads are in green. But of course to go anywhere meaningful requires travel across a set of multiple roads - travel is not atomic in this way! It happens as a whole gesture and movement, not as herky-jerky, chopped up bits.

Even with improvements in east Salem, the problem of "disappearing bike lanes" and incomplete bike routes will remain because of the jurisdictional patchwork.

This is also a problem for schools.

One of the Transportation Enhancement grant project applications is for funding to build sidewalks and bike lanes on Hayesville Drive in unincorporated Marion County.

Hayesville Drive is very near four schools! It serves Hayesville, Hammond, and Yoshkai Elementary Schools and Stephens Middle School.

But so far it has stayed out of the City of Salem, even though three of the schools are gerrymandered into the city limits.

Rehearsing the history that led to this would be difficult - and maybe tiresome. But it is clear that having such fragmented city limits and such an expanse of unincorporated land that is developed and clearly part of "a city," and certainly informally is part of Salem, exacerbates transportation problems and diminishes mobility choice.

And unfortunately, it may be that this update process is hobbled from the start in the outer east portions of town.

*Drive of course, not Avenue...sorry!

City of Salem Hosts Open Houses for Walking and Biking Update

A reminder about Bike Plan Update meetings.

Bike & Walk Salem, the process to update the walking and biking chapters of the Transportation System Plan, is making progress!

The project team will hold its second Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting tomorrow.
SAC Meeting 2
Thursday, January 20, 2011, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Pringle Hall, 606 Church Street SE, Salem OR 97301
(For more on the progress, see the notes from a couple of weeks ago.)

Several open houses will follow the SAC meeting the next week.
  • Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Center 50+
  • Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., West Salem Library
  • Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Main Library, Anderson Rooms
  • Thursday, January 27, 2011, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Houck Middle School Media Room, 1155 Connecticut Street SE, Salem, 97317
For the downloadable Poster click through!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

MWVBTA to Meet at Venti's Sunday Evening

On Sunday, January 23rd, at 6pm, the MWVBTA will meet in Venti's Basement Bar.

It's going to be one topic only: What next?

And where better to talk that at Venti's with a beer!

We canceled the December meeting and at today's noon meeting started the conversation about the future of bicycle advocacy in Salem.

Change and greater independence is on the horizon, so how do we plan for it? What kind of organizational structure and affiliation with a non-profit (whether incorporated separately as our own entity or aligning with some other existing entity) will help grow bicycling in Salem best?

Are we working on the right projects? If not, what other projects should be in the mix?

What can we do to address better the needs and interests of Salem-area bicyclists?

If you're interested in bicycling in Salem, now is a great time to get involved!

Please join us!

Monday, January 17, 2011

MWVBTA Meeting, Tuesday, Jan18th

The January meeting of the Mid-Willamette Valley Chapter of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance will be tomorrow, Tuesday the 18th. Time and location will again be from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Sassy Onion Grill on State Street.

It's going to be one topic only: What next?

Change and greater independence is on the horizon, so how do we plan for it? What kind of organizational structure and affiliation with a non-profit (whether incorporated separately as our own entity or aligning with some other existing entity) will help grow bicycling in Salem best?

Since noon isn't a good time for everyone, we'll also try to set a date and time and place for an evening meeting.

If you're interested in bicycling in Salem, now is a great time to get involved!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Legislative Update - Week 0.5 - Baby Ban Blows Up

Wow. The intertubes done blowed up over babies on bikes.

Just a huge furor over HB 2228, which would ban kids under six on bikes or in trailers. It also made the Metro section of the Oregonian today.

It's great to see people who bike fired up, but it's possible we're getting fired up over the wrong things, sweating small details and losing sight of the big picture and our strategy. I'm not sure it was necessary to escalate to DEFCON 2 so rapidly.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

City Announces Edgewater Zoning and Parking Study

Almost a year ago, the City released its final report on the Edgewater/Second Street Redevelopment Action Plan. It stressed walking and biking.

Shortly thereafter the City applied for a TGM grant to fund parking studies of the Edgewater and Broadway districts.

The City did not get a TGM grant, unfortunately. In the current round, announced last summer, Cherriots received one to fund a new Salem Area Mass Transit District Transportation System Plan.

The show must go on, and today the City announced that
The City of Salem's Community Development Department has initiated the Edgewater/2nd Street NW Streamline Zoning and Parking Study.

The purpose of the study is to evaluate the existing zoning, parking and development design handbook requirements in the Edgewater-Wallace Road Overlay Zone to remove barriers to redevelopment along Edgewater/2nd Street NW, while maintaining the intent of the overlay. The purpose of the Edgewater Street and Wallace Road Overlay Zone is to promote a mixture of activities, including retail, commercial, and residential development within close proximity to one another in order to facilitate walking and produce less reliance on the automobile.
Another expected outcome of the study is a parking management plan that assesses the parking supply and demand, evaluates alternative management implementation strategies and encourages more efficient use of existing and future parking resources in the West Salem Edgewater/2nd Street commercial district.

The project was identified in the Edgewater-Second Street Redevelopment Action Plan, adopted in April 2010, to guide spending investments in the 450 acre West Salem Urban Renewal Area. The Action Plan recommends a series of projects to be completed over the next three to five years on Edgewater and Second Streets, between Rosemont and Patterson Streets, that support creation of a mixed use, commercial district, new housing, enhancement of bicycle and pedestrian amenities, enhance the area's historic character, and generate private investment.

A Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) will advise staff and the consultant, Otak, throughout the duration of the Study. The first meeting of the CAC is Tuesday, January 18, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Annette's Restaurant located at 1311 Edgewater Street NW.

For more information about the Edgewater/2nd Street NW Streamline Zoning and Parking Study please visit: or contact Kim Moreland @ 503-588-6173.
The City's web page is empty for the moment, but hopefully the link will be populated soon.

Note the emphasis (bold added) on mixed-use development, and on access for people on bike and on foot! There's tons of potential here for a walkable neighborhood!

(The building on the action plan cover is the old West Salem City Hall. It was built in an art deco style in 1935 as a WPA project. Down the middle of second street is the old Salem, Falls City & Western rail right of way that links to the Union St. Railroad Bridge. Rails-to-Trails! There's some of that historic character.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

OTC to Meet to Distribute $21M Flex Fund Program

The Oregon Transportation Commission meets next week, Wednesday, January 19th, to discuss and approve the recommended list of "Flex Fund" projects.

The Salem area has no projects on the $21M primary recommendation list and one only, a $95K solar project for Cherriots in Keizer, on the secondary list.

At one time there was talk SKATS might submit the seven Transportation Enhancement projects for consideration in the Flex Fund program, but this appears not to have happened, and no Salem-area agency is listed as submitting any bike projects. Cherriots submitted three projects for about $100K each, and one was on the secondary list.

The primary list includes $2M for a Portland project to connect Swan Island to the inner northeast neighborhoods, and almost $3M for three Eugene projects, including improvements to the Fern Ridge Path.

OTC agenda here.

Flex Funds packet here.

More on the Flex Funds program generally

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Revisiting Mayor Peterson on Bikes and the Environment

With new Mayor Anna Peterson taking the Oath of Office tonight at City Council, it seemed like a good time to revisit some of her public statements.  Back in May, Beth Casper interviewed the two Mayoral Candidates on the environment.  Here are excerpts.

Question: Salem has been working to improve bicycle safety. What else, if anything, do you think Salem could do to get people out of their cars and onto their bikes for trips shorter than five miles? How could the city do that?
I will work to make downtown more livable. I live in downtown and walk to my engagements within a mile of where I live. City Hall is just across the street. We can start by modeling and encouraging each other to get out of our cars. If Edwin and I can get rid of one of our cars, anyone can. We can also move forward on making Salem more bike friendly. The city can continue to add and improve bike lanes, and connect Wallace Marine Park and Riverfront Park with Minto Brown Park with a pedestrian and bike bridge. Both the Streets and Bridges Bond measure and stimulus funds the city was awarded will allow the city to build more bike paths. The city must also be a leader in educating the public about how bikes and pedestrians and cars can mix more safely. As mayor, I will also participate in the Electrical Vehicle/Federal Grant to install electric car battery charging stations along I-5. In addition, I will support buying new electric vehicles for our own city fleet and installing pollution-control equipment on our diesel cars and trucks.
[It is worth dwelling for a moment on the fact that Mayor Peterson lives in downtown proper, in easy walking distance of City Hall. We have a terrific opportunity here!]

Monday, January 10, 2011

Legislative Update - Week 0 - Presession Filings

Opening Day receptions and the inauguration will dominate the first day of the session today.

Pre-session filings are now on the Legislature's website and here's a list of bills relating to bicycles and a few on more general transportation issues. This is just a first run, and I'm sure we'll identify more in the next week. Hopefully we'll get word on which bills are dead on arrival and which might get further along. So no analysis for the moment. Two of the more interesting bills would ban headphones and giving your 6 year old a ride on your bike or a trailer.

If you know of other relevant legislation, please drop it in the comments!

Senate Bill 130 for bicycle traffic lights

House Bill 2228 prohibits bike transportation of child under 6 years old

House Bill 2331 to study bicycle licensing

House Bill 2602 creates offense of Unsafe Operation of a Bicycle
A person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a bicycle if the person operates a bicycle on a highway while wearing a listening device that is capable of receiving telephonic communication, radio broadcasts or recorded sounds.
Relevant to Transportation Generally

Senate Bill 266 on electronic tolling

House Bill 2333 prohibiting studded tires

House Bill 2437 on school busing

Proposed Oregon Constitutional Amendment to permit gas taxes to be used for pollution control and congestion reduction

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Transportation Enhancement Applications, Take 2

In December the SKATS Policy Committee thoroughly revised their priorities for the Transportation Enhancement candidate projects. The list posted earlier this week was thrown out, and a new list generated.

The new and adopted prioritized list is this:

1. Delaney Road in Turner
2. Hayesville Drive in unincorporated Marion County
3. Wheatland Road in Keizer
4. Brush College Road in West Salem.

Friday, January 7, 2011

City Council - Tuesday, January 11th

Because of Ducks football, City Council meets on Tuesday rather than Monday!

The agenda, of course, will have the swearing-in of Mayor-elect Anna Peterson and new City Councilors, Sheryl Ann Thomas and Rich Clausen.

Other items include the Kale Road Park master plan and a right-of-way purchase on Kuebler for widening.

It's not a heavy agenda.

(Over the weekend look for a repost of Peterson's May interview on the environment.)

Two upcoming work sessions of interest:
Downtown Strategic Action Plan ~ January 24, 5:30 p.m.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets for the Salem, Keizer, Turner Area ~ February 14, 6:00 p.m.
It's too bad the GHG targets session will be on Valentine's Day. The Daily Journal of Commerce just published an article about Oregon's failure to meet goals.

Unfortunately, the City's official stance is to resist most greenhouse gas reduction efforts as "unfunded mandates," and state and federal grants have funded the primary initiatives so far. The work session may not produce much in the way of meaningful progress. At the same time, it is an opportunity to let the Mayor and City Councilors know that reducing emissions are important. You can email all of Council at -

Bike Plan Update Progress; Meeting Scheduled for Jan 20th

Bike & Walk Salem, the process to update the walking and biking chapters of the Transportation System Plan, is making progress!

The project team will hold its second Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting later this month.
SAC Meeting 2
Thursday, January 20, 2011, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Pringle Hall, 606 Church Street SE, Salem OR 97301
At the meeting the consultants expect to report on the existing conditions and needs assessment. The consultants made several first-hand visits to see conditions on the ground and to suppliment the survey and mapping data. In mid-December Rory from Alta said he'd "logged almost 200 miles so far on Salem streets this summer and fall."

Several open houses will follow the SAC meeting the next week. Tentative locations include the Senior Center (AKA "Center 50+"), the West Salem Library, and a couple of others.

The online survey and map project have closed. The survey yielded over 700 responses, and the map appears to have gained about 160 pushpins and comments.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Vision 2020 Wayfinding Signs Close to Placement

At yesterday's Vision 2020 Bicycle and Pedestrian Workgroup meeting, Kevin Hottmann and Courtney Knox shared the latest on the wayfinding signs.

You may recall the first sighting of the signs from City Council back in September or from Desperately Seeking Salem, where Emily offered a humorous set of alternative names.

(Signage design: BAM Agency)

The Wayfinding and Entranceway Task Force got an initial grant of about $50,000 in Downtown-Riverfront Urban Renewal Funds and now, with the City, is doing a terrific job of gathering in other funding sources and partnerships. It sounds like the preliminary set of signs will be matched by other clusters of signs, on both public and private grounds. They're growing!

The signs and overall concept are aimed primarily at people on foot, but the task force is thinking about visitors on bike. While sign locations aren't quite final, both the Union St. Railroad Bridge and the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway will be signed. A larger kiosk with a map will be in Riverfront Park near the Court Street entry, and should be visible from the bikeway.

In this detail from the placement map you can see proposed sign locations marked with circles and the map kiosks with squares. Both Chemeketa and the WVSB are signed. Signs also go out to 12th street and Bush Park. And, again, these locations are only the start!

The map kiosks may be installed as early as late winter, and the poles and signs tentatively are scheduled for the summer.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Comment on Transportation Enhancement Candidate Projects

The Union St. Railroad Bridge was funded in part with about $2M in Transportation Enhancement monies. The program completes funding gaps for valuable projects.

Just before Christmas, ODOT announced the long-list of projects being considered for the latest round of Transportation Enhancement funds. The Salem-Keizer area has seven candidate projects.

[update: the policy committee changed priorities, so this list is pretty much totally wrong. See the first comment for the correct priority order. I'll probably write a new post in the next few days.]

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 Review: The Year Sharrows Arrived

2010 was definitely the year of the sharrow, don't you think? What else directly impacted bicycling in Salem as much?

Still, wrapping up the top stories from 2009, I was hopeful that 2010 would be bigger and better for bikes and greater transportation options. Momentum seemed to point beyond a baseline of a pilot program for sharrows. So 2010 was a little disappointing in some ways - no doubt in part a casualty of the Great Recession.

The Infrastructure

Sharrows on Commercial, Chemeketa and Rosemount and represented a real improvement in visibility and accomodation.

The Union St. Railroad Bridge reopened after lead abatement, and the number of people who enjoyed using it continued to climb. And West Salem City Councilor Dan Clem sponsored Bridge to Work Day to celebrate the opening - here and here

In several places around town, the Keep Salem Moving $100M bond measure funded road resurfacing and reconstruction. Here the bike lane on South Commercial is ready for the final layer of asphalt. Construction of new bike lanes - always in the context of road widening - will happen in later projects mostly.

(But the bond's a mixed bag for sure, and some projects will create a host of new barriers and problems, like the widening at Glen Creek and Wallace.)

Public Works also rolled out a railroad quiet zone project list. One of the treatments will add a bike-only light to Chemeketa at 12th Street.

DIY Projects

The best parts of the year were the DIY moments. And four stood out.

For an amazing and terrific year of Kidical Mass rides, Kat is my bike hero for the year. It was great to see the Statesman recognize her, too.

Gary's Smart Cycling Clinics were a great addition and helped people start navigating on city streets.

Jeff's behind-the-scenes work on mapping low-traffic alternatives was huge and hugely cheering.

Cory started a new tradition with the Cranksgiving alleycat - great fun and a way to collect donations for Food Share.

People and Institutions

The Transportation and Growth Management Grants kicked in and the City kicked off the bike plan update.

Racing was in the news with the OBRA Cross Championships at West Salem High School and Salem resident and OBRA Executive Director Kenji won election to the BTA Board. He also wrote some winning public advocacy.

The Boys and Girls Club started the Flow Riders youth development riding team. Technically it started in very late fall 2009, but their coming out ride was the Monster Cookie!

Doug resigned from the BTA board in part over frustration that it remained such a Portland-focused entity. (Portland reaction here.)


The gift from Sanyo Solar of an Eneloop battery-assist bicycle seemed to languish. Instead Portland grabbed the glory as OMSI built the first charging station.

The Rivercrossing Alternative Modes Study was completed, but its sensible recommendations weren't taken up with much vigor. It provided the roadmap for the sharrows, but didn't spur any "big thinking." Hopefully the bike plan update will provide that. (see below for more)

Looking Forward to 2011

I look forward to seeing more of the ideas and analyses generated by the Sustainable Cities Initiative.

A new non-profit is incorporating to work on the vision of a large loop trail in West Salem and Polk County along the river and through wine country. This is big thinking! Look for more in January and February.

The Rivercrossing Draft Environment Impact Statement on the proposed Highway Bridge will come out. If built, this half-billion dollar project would be the largest infrastructure project in a generation and shape the city in fundamental ways. Look for more this winter.

So what were your big bike stories for 2010? What's missing here? (How about BRMBA, the Bike Shops, Club Riding...what about your corner of the Salem area bike world?)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Koyaanisqatsi for the New Year

Sometimes its Romanticism is a little stifling, altogether too anti-modern and anti-urban, but it's simultaneously gorgeous and repellent. Here's a clip with cars and people, all about mobility. The deep structures rhyme in astonishing ways.

It's a good way to start thinking about a new year and worth watching from the beginning. Here's part one.