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.
Even for people on foot, the widest sidewalk proposed is 10 feet, though Salem design standards call for 13 or 15 foot sidewalks. Moreover, a collector street would have bike lanes without parking. How these meet existing standards is not obvious.
Why not instead focus on delivering customers by foot, on bike, and by bus?
This answer, too, is not obvious. The recently completed Edgewater/Second Street Action Plan has lots of language about access for people on foot and on bike.
Moreover, as part of cost-effective ways to reduce congestion on the bridges, the Rivercrossing Alternative Modes Study suggests making Second street a bicycle boulevard.
But instead the designs focus on delivering cars and increasing congestion in the district.
According to the city, these final alternatives
followed several other design iterations, including a devoted bike boulevard, parking in the middle of the street, etc. none of which met the standards for Fire code.I can't assess this in a timely fashion, but either we need to give serious thought to reconciling fire code and transportation needs, or fire code is being used as an excuse.
If Second Street is going to be so car-focused, then some thought should be given to widening the bike lanes on Edgewater and taking out some parking there. The existing bike lanes are very narrow and retain people on bike within a tight "door zone," at risk of being hit by an opening door. Edgewater is not conducive to family bicycling.
Thought should also be given to the complicated intersection of the shopping center driveway, Second Street, and Rosemont - with Edgewater and the highway ramp feeding Rosemont. Increasing traffic and turning movements here could defeat the sharrows (and shared lane bikeway concept) that were just put down on Rosemont.
The path behind the businesses on the south side of Edgewater and the berm for highway 22 appears to be a solution, but the path is not always maintained well, it doesn't connect to the front doors of businesses or to the sidewalk, and it can be isolated and invisible from helpful eyes on the street.
Existing conditions are not inviting, especially to families and people on bike who are not confident regular bike commuters. In order to deliver meaningful numbers of bicycling customers to this district, the City should look to upgrade either Second or Edgewater to make them inviting for families with children on bike. Without this, the district will be available to few, the small population of very confident bicyclists, and will not be an effective multi-modal hub. If improving connectivity and mobility choice is a goal, this plan does not constitute improvement.
The small, flat grid in West Salem has great potential to be a supremely walkable neighborhood, attracting and delivering people on foot and on bike. The current plan for Second Street will make things more difficult rather than easier. The City can do much better.