Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Preferred Bike Plan to be Discussed Tonight

Tonight at 6:30pm the Bike and Walk Salem Advisory Committee meets to discuss the "preferred plan alternative" (63pp, 5mb). The meeting is at Pringle Hall, 606 Church Street SE.

Here's a preliminary look. The map is a bit of a hack, reassembled from four quadrants in order to show in red the project priorities for the central city.

The list of projects is awkward - but I'm not sure how best to convey that info - lists and tables are hard to grok! The projects have been grouped in thirds. The first slice, the "tier 1" in red, envisioned as the first priority for completion in the next five years, are at the bottom here in a sort of appendix. Projects in tier 2 are 5-10 years out and in brown; those in tier 3 are 10+ years away and in yellow. These are not listed here.

How to Assess the List?

I'm not yet sure what I think, and I want to hear the presentation before drilling into the details. Right off you see that the High Street corridor is dropped and a Church Street bike boulevard has replaced it. I like that! There are a few other changes...but we'll get to those. In a nutshell, I think the project list may be both too ambitious and not ambitious enough.

A group is preparing some commentary on the plan: Jeff and Gary sit on the Advisory Committee, and Doug with his long years of experience, expect to share some thoughts soon. They will likely drill into more detail about the scope and number of individual projects. It will be good to hear what they have to say.

In any case, the details on the project list may not be the main matter - we can quibble over this project or that project, and each tier are somewhat arbitrarily grouped as a third of the total. More importantly, what's the big picture? The forest, and not the trees, seems important here.

How will this stuff actually get done? Most of the "stuff" has to pass through other planning processes.

The City's Capital Improvement Plan and the Regional Transportation Improvement Program are four year documents, programmed out to fiscal year 2015-16. If the tier 1 projects are on a five year horizon, and the two plans are programmed for four years, are we going to cram this all into year 5?

That doesn't seem very likely.

Really Commit to a Smaller List of Critical Projects?

Maybe it doesn't need to be. Projects can always be moved up.

No matter what happens to the project list, and the way the three tiers are managed, I wonder if a smaller subset of "mission critical" projects should be designated for the first tier and that the others then populate tiers 2 through 4. Keep the same time horizons - we ought to try to get all the new tier 1 and 2 projects done in the next five years!

Like your teacher said: Focus, narrow your thesis. Let's make sure we go all out to get that top 10 of them done. Or whatever number is the right one. What are the projects that will be so popular and significant that they built momentum for the other projects? Which ones have leveraging power?!

And are these the right projects? I'm not sure there are any game-changers in the mix. I'm not seeing visionary.

I look forward to the presentation tonight and I'm sure we'll all have more discussion and thoughts. The lack of obvious game-changers may make it not ambitious enough; the multitude of projects to fund and finish in five years may make it too ambitious.

Here's a list of central Salem tier 1 projects, first the corridor improvements, then the intersection improvements:

Bicycle Boulevard on Church from D through downtown and Bush Park to Hoyt
Path from High Street through Bush Park to Church St Bike Boulevard in Park
Bicycle Boulevard on Miller from River to High
Bike lanes on Mission from Commercial to 12th
Path along Pringle Creek from Riverfront Park to Civic Center
Bicycle Boulevard on Saginaw/ Mission from Rural to Commercial
Bicycle Boulevard on Union from Front to Summer
Bicycle Boulevard on Winter from Court to Norway
Bicycle Boulevard on Norway from 5th to Winter
Path through Minto-Brown Island from River Road to Riverfront Park
Bicycle Boulevard on Rural from John to Saginaw
Shared Use Path on Airway/ 25th from Madrona to Mission
Bicycle Boulevard on Hoyt from Skopil to Church
Bike lanes and sharrows on McGilchrist from 12th to 25th
Bicycle Boulevard on 2nd from Rosemont to Patterson
Bike lanes and trail on Patterson from 6th to 9th and South of Glen Creek
Bicycle Boulevard on Piedmont/ 6th from Altimont to Patterson
Path and Crossing along Union ST RR right of way from Wallace to Patterson

12th St. at Bellevue St
12th St. at Mill St.
Commercial St. at Division St.
Commercial St. at Marion St.
Commercial St. at Trade St.
Commercial St. at Union St.
Liberty St. at Center St
Liberty St. at Ferry St
Liberty St. at Mission St.
Liberty St. at Trade St.
River Rd. at Miller St.
Summer St. at Center St.
Summer St. at Marion St.
Winter St. at Bellevue St./ Pringle Pkwy
Winter St. at Mission St.
17th St. at Mill St.
25th St. at Madrona Ave.
25th St. at Mission St.
25th St. at State St.
Glen Creek Rd. at Parkway Dr.
Orchard Heights Rd. at Parkway Dr
Wallace Rd. at Glen Creek Rd.
Wallace Rd. at Edgewater St.

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