Friday, May 11, 2012

New BottleDrop Return Center Serves People on Bike Poorly

Two racks appear to be in the general vicinity of the new BottleDrop Return facility, but neither are adjacent to the main entry. In general the facility serves people on bike but poorly. Considering the number of people who use bikes for basic mobility and can returns, this is not just inconvenient but even second-class.

The inside is, if not luxe, a serious improvement on the dirty, cramped, and stinky facilities that have evolved at most grocery stores.

But as you can see from the top image, one wave rack is across the parking lot, and a single staple rack is tucked around the corner. With plenty of parking stalls, it would be easy to create a bike corral in one or two of them.

Here's an example of an on on-street installation using parallel parking stalls.

Also vexing is the amount of sidewalk or wrong-way riding access to the site requires. The driveway has no signal, and to make a left turn out of (or north-bound right turn into) a person on bike must travel some distance to reach a signal and/or crosswalk.

This is a draw-back of our planning process: The site may function for "the safe, orderly and efficient circulation" and "safe and efficient movement of bicycles," but the access doesn't work very well at all. By Salem standards the bottle centers will be significant destinations for people on bike, but we treat the road access and assessment as if for cars only. This problem happens all up and down Commercial and Lancaster and other commercial corridors on 5 lane arterials. But it's especially problematic at sites that are important destinations for people who depend on bicycle transportation.

(Corral Photo: Greg Raisman)

Next Up - Site Plan Review for New Multi-Lane Motor Vehicle Sales and Service Complex

Wednesday, May 23rd, the Hearings Officer will hold a public hearing for a conditional use and site plan review at the very long and difficult multi-intersection of Hawthorne, I-5, Lancaster and Market Street.

With the long intersection of Hawthorne, the merging and weaving involved with the freeway on- and off-ramps, as well as Fred Meyer and Lancaster just off the picture, even with bike lanes this is a very stressful roadway for people on bikes. It's a real stretch to suggest that the existing facilities are adequate for "the safe, orderly and efficient circulation" and "safe and efficient movement of bicycles."  Adding another high-volume driveway will only make things worse.

What can the City do as mitigation?

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