Monday, March 26, 2012

Winter Street Bridge and Slalom Offers Opportunity for Bikes

Though the City's barricades say "at your service," the message is clearly "go away."

In the aftermath of the flooding, the Winter Street bridge across Shelton Ditch sustained damage and is closed to auto traffic.

While the sidewalks remain open to people on foot, apparently as drivers have encroached on the barricades, workers have narrowed the palisade, stoutly blocking the bike lanes. Across the width of the bridge approaches, those moving the barricades haven't left other gaps through which a person on bike might fit consistently.

The barriers to bikes almost look intentional. At best it is a slalom course, at worst it is impassable.

Now with more fair weather approaching, more and more people will want to reach Willamette University, the Hospital, and downtown by bike. Winter Street here has been one of the city's busiest bikeways.

While the City works on finding $10M for the Minto Bridge and Path, right here is a much cheaper and easier opportunity for the City to show the benefits of bike mobility: No heavy cars, but light bikes encouraged! Make it a temporary bike/ped bridge only, and make it known - leverage the temporary inconvenience to car traffic as a way to trumpet the benefits of bikes and facilities for people who bike. Make lemonade out of a lemon!

Hopefully we won't have to wait too long.

Curt and his family use Winter street every day, and fortunately he's been in communication with the City on the barriers. Early in April he'll meet with City Staff to scope out an improved barricade and cone plan that will permit easy bike travel. Maybe they can come up with some groovy signage for people on bikes?

Thanks, Curt!


Curt said...

Pocket park anyone? If we have to live with this for two years there is no need for it to be an eyesore.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

A park would be nice! Unfortunately in today's paper:

"If possible, the city would like to open a single lane to southbound traffic as soon as possible. Brian Martin, engineer with the city of Salem, said the bridge would need $350,000 of structural analysis and temporary rehabilitation work in order for that to happen."

It is pretty important for hospital access, but I fear this means the space would be allocated only to cars, not to people on bike.

And a park might add too much weight if there were landscaping elements or other things added.

It will be interesting to hear how your conversation goes!