Friday, August 31, 2012

Salem Rivercrossing a Figment, says Golden Pioneer

Did you know the Golden Pioneer has a column in the Salem Business Journal?

Me neither! But thanks to a reader, now I do!

It turned out to be an unexpected site for some third-bridge history and scepticism.

The Pioneer's tone is maybe cranky old wise guy and sometimes sage.  He's been around and seen it all.  A little jaded, perhaps.  His interest, it seems, is to looks at things mainly for freight mobility.

(It's not played straight-up, and it's hard to say exactly who is the audience and how strong the credibility and influence, however.  Still, it's an interesting critique, and maybe there is less business support, too, than we might fear.)

Oregon Pioneer Column
in August Salem Business Journal
Looking down on the City for decades, the Pioneer this month observed some history.
I-5 was designed and built in the late 1950’s early 1960’s with the Salem Parkway already in the design, as was Salem’s “Third Bridge” across the Willamette River at Pine Street....

Fast forward to 1980-1981, and the City of Salem objected to the “Third Bridge” crossing the river at Pine Street. Next the Mission Street extension was considered. This option was to extend Mission Street (US Highway 22) with the “Third Bridge” crossing the river South of the current bridges and linking directly with US Highway 22, West bound....

The City of Salem and Marion County then opted for an overpass to direct Mission Street (East-West Highway 22) traffic over Mill Creek, and run the traffic between Willamette University and Salem Hospital on the North side of Mill Creek. Now Salem has all East-West truck traffic being directed through downtown Salem....

The “Third Bridge” is nothing more than a figment of the Salem City Council’s imagination, where it should remain.
It's also great to see marathon planning.  That will join the Monster Cookie and Peach as big event activities.  Maybe a Sunday Parkways is not far behind?

Doing the Bike Commute Challenge? Join the Salem League!

If you're doing the Bike Commute Challenge in September, be sure to join the Salem-area League!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Donation to Save old Freight Depot; Collision on 23rd

Remember the old freight depot at the train station?

Old Freight Depot: University of Oregon
Though it's paywalled, the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce is reporting a deal that might save it!
According to the DJC,
One man anonymously donated $100,000 to aid restoration of an aging Salem train depot that once inspired his wife. When restored, the building will be known as 'Dixie's Depot.'
More details to come on this multi-modal hub. Hopefully bikes will be involved!

Update - Forgot about the passenger rail meeting! For more see the project site.
  • Open House: Salem
    Sep 6, 2012 - 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
    ODOT Transportation Building, Gail Achterman Conference Room, 355 Capitol St NE, Salem, OR 97301

Collision at 23rd

This is a bad place, and it wouldn't surprise me that someone bicycling the wrong way in the bike lane is involved. Hopefully, they're ok.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Downtown Partnership Hosts Wednesday Open House on Green Streetscape Plan

On a lovely summer evening, at about 8pm, the streets were mostly empty, downtown quiet and even in spots desolate. Would adding parking and auto capacity change anything?

Or is the situation actually begging for addition by subtraction?

Arbuckle Costic and Salem Downtown Partnership

On Wednesday at 5:30pm, the Salem Downtown Partnership is hosting an open house and presentation on the greenway and streetscape plan. It will be the Grand Ballroom (4th floor), 187 High Street NE.

They'd like a count, so please email the partnership to RSVP.

Breakfast on Bikes Friday - Bike Plan, Changes, Volunteer Opportunities

On the Promenade
Fall! Dark, Changes, and Turning Leaves!

As we get ready for the bike commute and fast lane challenges, as well as the opening of ODOT's remodeled Transportation Building, we're also going to celebrate the retirement of Doug, Chief Breakfast on Bikes Coffee Man and Advocate Extraordinary!

Doug on Bike Plan
On Friday come to B on B at 12th & Chemeketa and say thanks and good-bye to Doug as he passes the baton! Thank him for all the great work he's done in Salem for bicycling - and find out what's next for him.

We will be on the Promenade just east of the railroad tracks on Friday, August 31st. We'll have free coffee, pastries, and fruit for people who bike between 7am and 9am.

And if you'd like to join the B on B crew, we're in need of new volunteers.  There are a couple of roles to fill! (And maybe you've got more ideas on improving bicycling in Salem!)

Glowing Elevator Pod
at the T-Building
Coffee: Gary's volunteered to pick up some of the coffee task, but he needs someone to share it with! Hauling the trailer, pickup and dropoff, and washing the cups are the main parts. 

Social Media Ambassador: There's an opportunity for someone who uses Facebook regularly to crosspost and network B on B and other announcements to bike-friendly businesses, clubs, and other groups or individuals.

If you're interested email salembikes [at] gmail [dot] com and come to B on B!

Also!  If you haven't commented on the new Bike Plan, Salem City Council held open the hearing, and there's still time to support it!

Really, there's really nothing more important for Salem bicycling.

Please email City Council at or come to the meeting at 6:30pm in Council Chambers at City Hall on Monday, September 10th.

Please support our generous sponsors!
Cascade Baking Company
Governor's Cup Coffee Roasters
LifeSource Natural Foods
Salem Bicycle Club
Willamette University.

View Larger Map

Monday, August 27, 2012

Person on Bike Injured in Collision at Cordon Road and Sunnyview

This doesn't look very good...The SJ is reporting it involved a 55 year old woman on bike.  More to details to come...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

City Council, August 27th - Minto Design, Missed Opportunities

September 10th will be the continuation for the Bike and Walk Salem hearing. 

In the mean time, rain and river lead the agenda for Monday.

Though it's been out for a few weeks, and is not itself on the agenda for Council, a couple of renderings of the Minto bridge design are just hitting the news. (Maybe there's unannounced grant funding news?)

Via City of Salem and Greenworks
On the Urban Renewal agency agenda is $30,000 for design work on the path on the Minto side.

January 2012 Flood
Across the river in Wallace Marine Park, there's a proposal for a rain garden by the bathroom.

For the garden, the Glenn and Gibson Creeks Watershed Council propose additional "Interpretive signage,"which "will help visitors understand the role of stormwater, the purpose of rain gardens and the Willamette River ecosystem."

Speaking of the flood, Council proper will receive an information report on flood damages and repairs. The projected total looks like $8.5 million. FEMA's reimbursed almost a quarter million so far. The big-ticket item is repair of the Winter Street bridge over Shelton Ditch, and that's estimated to cost $3.6M, for which FEMA will reimburse 90%.  A temporary fix has allowed the bridge to be reopened, but the major, structural repairs are yet to come.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekend Fun: The Fair, Novice Ride at Ankeny

The Fair starts today, and riding a bike's always a fun way to go. Usually it's easier to get there, too, with much less parking hassle.

Like last year, they aren't obviously marketing the bike parking with a discount or anything. That's a drag - and not very green. But biking's still easier than messing with the car traffic and parking!

Here's a map with the bike parking on 17th street. Be sure to bring your own lock!

Salem Bicycle Club's Novice Ride

An "outdoors best bet," the bike club's novice ride is on Saturday!

A short ride of around 10 miles, and aimed at practicing and learning new skills on super low-traffic roads, it starts at 2:30pm at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge.
This ride is a slow-paced ride on low-traffic roads for novice cyclists. The ride starts at the seasonal wildlife viewing blind on Wintel Rd, 0.1 mile west of the Marlatt Rd intersection.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Seeking Comfort: From an Omafiets to a British Three-Speed

There aren't a lot of bike blogs in Salem, and certainly not like there are in Portland. Just there aren't a lot of active Salem blogs, period.

But one that you should be reading if you're not, is the Upright Cyclist. Having adopted the "nom de blog," B+, the writer maintains a low profile. But B+ offers great perspectives on life and working with and around the constraints posed by bike transport.

Recently, B+ changed bikes.

I have often plugged the Dutch geometry. When I have taken bikes on short rides, I enjoyed the increased visibility and relaxed posture. But I have never commuted on them or done significant amounts of hill climbing.

It turns out there might be a significant constraint on their usefulness around here.

B+ writes:
I had the opportunity to see and ride a splendidly-equipped Dutch bike and immediately took to its fully-upright riding position, as well as its solid construction and excellent components for all-weather cycling. At first all was delightful. Then, gradually, it became clear that my knees are more "English" than "Dutch." The slack seat tube angle on the Dutch bike meant that I could not get up out of the saddle to "pump" when taking off or going uphill, and in general I found that this position was not agreeing with my legs.
It seems likely that this geometry is better suited for the flats of north and east Salem, and that other geometries are necessary for the hills of west and south Salem.

B+ also writes about community, philosophy, and spirituality:
Utility cycling makes a form of sauntering possible. Unlike some cyclists, I don’t travel quickly on my way, head down and straining. I move through the topography with a lot of intentionality, varying my route slightly all the time, exploring here and there, greeting people and not infrequently talking with them. The bicycle becomes more than a means of transportation—it actually becomes a way to participate in our world, which is really a low-key act of resistance to the passivity and isolation so common today.
Over the summer B+ has been working through some of the hardware and mechanical details of the new bike, and writing about further explorations on the new bike.  It's great reading.  Check it out!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Volunteer Recognition and Downtown Advisory Board this Week

Today at 5pm the City of Salem will hold the annual volunteer recognition in the plaza between the library and civic center.

The Bike and Walk Salem Advisory Committee has put in a lot of work and their work is almost, almost done! Its members deserve a hand.

Even more, how about the members of the River Crossing Task Force? They've sat through even longer meetings, sometimes - or even often, depending on your perspective - enduring a biased process. We probably don't give enough credence to the corrosive effects of public processes that aren't always aimed at truthful and optimal outcomes. When the dice are loaded and the theater absurd, it's sometimes hard to avoid the cynicism and other bad feelings. So the members deserve special thanks, especially those who spoke up critically and stood up to the nonsense.

On a lighter note, you'll also get to see our Director of Public Works play in his band!

Audiolenz has several other City staff - but of course Public Works is especially important to people who bike!

Listen to Audiolenz on youtube! So bike on over, say Hi to Peter, and say thanks to the Salem volunteers.

Also! Thursday the Downtown Advisory Board meets at noon in 295 Church Street. They'll get an update on the Minto Bridge and Path; talk about the Downtown Parking Task Force; and learn about downtown vacancies and the grants and incentive programs to combat the vacancy.

Elsewhere, Portland has announced the plan to plaster 20mph designations all over its neighborhood greenways.

This new 20 mph speed designation enacted in House Bill 3150 will make the 20mph zone 24/7 - not just during school hours like a school zone designation.

There are a few restrictions: The streets must carry fewer than 2,000 cars per day, have the speed at which 85% of the traffic is traveling lower than 30 mph, and have pavement markings like sharrows to indicate the presence of people walking and biking.

Salem traffic engineering is reluctant to initiate use of this tool, so it's on neighborhood advocates to press the City when it such traffic calming is desired.  It could become part of the family friendly bikeway system. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Salem River Crossing Muddle: Task Force Shows Flawed Alternatives

If there's something we ought to be able to agree on, it's that the lack of consensus on the Salem River Crossing alternatives suggest the universe of formal alternatives doesn't actually meet real needs.

The Salem River Crossing Oversight Team meets on Thursday, August 23, 2012 from 12:00 to 2:00 pm at the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments (100 High St. SE, Suite 200, Salem), to start working on a final "locally preferred alternative" for the "record of decision." (See the Citizens Guide to the NEPA for more on the process.)

The agenda suggests the process will go well into the fall - and given the track record so far, winter or even spring of 2013 seems more likely.

It doesn't take a complicated thought experiment to show the problems. Again, spending $75 million on 25,000 battery-assisted e-bikes, one for every citizen of West Salem - that would solve a lot of problems: Reduce greenhouse gases, reduce automobile congestion, improves freight mobility, improve emergency vehicle response, and cost a lot less. Other solutions that more accurately meet the purpose and need are not difficult to accumulate. (And better ways of articulating the purpose and need are possible, too!)

The alternatives on the table, however, show a poverty of imagination. They are all from the 1950s, big highways and bridges, a legacy of Eisenhower-era thinking. None of them are likely to meet the real needs of citizens in 2050 or 2075. They all look backwards, imagining a world of more of the same, rather than forwards, a world in which there will be important differences in mobility and resources constrained and allocated differently than they are today.

If one of the alternatives was really forward-looking, we would certainly see something closer to a consensus - probably not unanimity, but surely a more of a majority.

The Task Force was deeply split.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wallace Marine Park River Access Trail Opens; Other Weekend Bits

Though the landscaping is not yet finished and the lighting not yet installed, the path from the parking lot to the river at Wallace Marine Park is open and nearly finished!

Just north of the viewing site you can see the stub end. The vision is to continue the path north - and this connection could be part of the Salem Greenway Trail!

That trail would connect with many of the wineries in the Eola Hills, and this weekend it looked like veraison had started on this grape arbor.

The weather's been lovely, and if you haven't biked out in wine country this summer, maybe now's the time to do it!

(There are also urban breweries and a cider house open in Salem now, if that's how you roll!)

And crossing State Street by the Capitol, you could see the curb and crosswalk work at Winter Street - but also the traffic volumes: absolutely desolate.

Even if the City didn't want to totally shut down State Street, they could easily keep just one lane of it open during a Sunday Parkways event.

Just sayin'...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wilsonville Beats Salem to Sunday Parkways Event

Come on, shouldn't we be embarrassed?!

If you're not doing Kidical Mass on Sunday, Wilsonville's doing Sunday Streets,
a special event that will focus on connecting neighborhoods, parks, and people: bicyclists, walkers, runners, seniors, adults and children will enjoy traffic-free streets filled with fun and interactive entertainment, music, physical activities, and food.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Beth Casper's New Breeze on Life - Guest Post

By Kate Evans Erickson

Beth Casper didn’t set out to save the world when she became a bike commuter. She just wanted to get a little exercise.

“I saw a picture of this cargo bike somewhere and it was springtime and I was feeling like I needed to integrate exercise into my life better,” says the Oregon mom. “I was irritated by my commute and by having to wake up so early just so I could work out at the gym and I thought, ‘How can I change that?’”

Photo: Beth Casper
The answer: Her Uptown Breezer bike. The extra-long cruiser is tandem-style, with a seat and handlebars just behind the driver that are specifically sized for a small child, like her 4-year-old son. It also has a cargo area that allows Casper to secure a bike safety seat to carry her 2-year-old. The result: kid-friendly, cargo-ready, traffic-dodging commuter magic. Casper can cruise around town with both kids on board and still have plenty of room to haul groceries, day-camp art projects or whatever else her boys decide to drag home.

In the past two months, Casper put more than 200 miles on the bike. Last week, the family went absolutely car-free for the first time, quite a feat when you take into account that this devoted mom is always on the move. Consider her week: Drop-offs and pick-ups of her sons at day camp and preschool; research and interviews for her freelance journalism jobs; trips to the grocery store; play dates; park and library visits and everything else a stay-at-home mom is expected to manage. And Casper did it all by bicycle.

Kidical Mass Rides to the Water this Weekend

Even if it cools down to the 80s on the weekend, it'll still be warm out. Don't forget the Kidical Mass "Wall of Water" ride on Sunday!

Sun and Heat this Weekend!
From the ride description:
The next ride will be Aug. 19, 3pm. We will meet at the Crooked house playground in Bush Park. We will take Church St. through town to the Grant neighborhood then loop back to the Capital Mall via Winter St. to cool off in the Wall Of Water splash fountain. See you there!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

North Broadway Parking Study Open House Tonight - Updated

Tonight at 6:00 PM in Broadway Commons, Grant/Highland Room, the North Broadway Parking Study will hold an open house and community workshop to present the draft recommendations and plan (big pdf, as it includes appendices).

Update Friday - There's a survey out now (and until Sept 10th) to gauge support for each of the recommendations. You can take the survey online here.

In the plan are a lot of short term recommendations, and bike parking shows up in several:
  • Consider strategic placement of bicycle parking at key destinations
  • Continue to include bicycle parking (racks) with Broadway/High redevelopment
  • Provide incentives for business who supply bike parking
  • Revise SRC 133.150 (Satisfaction of Off-Street Parking Requirements through Alternate Modes of Transportation) to include objective standards for allowing a reduction in parking due to proximity to transit, pedestrian enhancements, availability of bicycle parking (including covered bicycle spaces or lockers) or other transportation demand management (TDM) measures. Eliminate the need for special review.
Other short-term recommendations include:
  • Continue the existing programs and practices Residential Parking Permit program
  • Formalize a standard for evaluating the parking supply, the 85% Rule
  • Continue Employer Education for reducing parking needs
  • Establish parking agreements between weekend businesses and those open during the week (only) to offset weekday residential parking
  • Create consistent on-street parking restrictions
  • Put metered parking in unrestricted parking areas in southern section of study area along Broadway/High Street
  • Improve bus stop locations (increase visibility, awareness and amenities)
  • Allow parking to be provided at a greater distance from the development site (e.g., 800 feet)
  • As an alternative to a variance, add a new code section that allows reductions of off-street parking requirements on a case-by-case basis subject to a professional study demonstrating that less parking is needed for a specific use than what is prescribed.
  • Add an “On-Street Parking Credit” so applicants can count on-street parking that is on the block face abutting the subject land use toward their parking requirement.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bridge Bracketology: Salem River Crossing Final Task Force Meeting

The Salem River Crossing Task Force last met on July 24th, and tonight members meet again for the third and final time as they try to select a locally preferred alternative.

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 15 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at the Salem Public Library, Anderson Room (585 Liberty Street SE).

There's a bunch of new materials posted to the task force's web page.

Here's the bridge bracket with eliminations to date added:

It's interesting that the no-build gets a "bye" in the earlier rounds and appears against the "best" high-build option. For skeptics of the need for a giant highway and bridge, it should triumph over the folly of the "strongest" case for the big build.

But I expect that the rhetorical move will be to say - "you've gone this far, now are you really willing to tank it all and say that the no-build is best?" By placing the no-build at the end, the process may bluff a bit, and hope to ratchet up the drama and tension.

Local September Walk and Bike to School Event in Planning Stages

The US Green Building Council Center for Green Schools is organizing a national "Green Apple Day of Service." (You may recognize the Council as the lead for LEED!)

Locally one person is working on "A series of events and activities with a theme around knowing safe routes to schools to encourage biking and walking to school."

Jeremy McVeety is recruiting help. You can sign up here.

One or more events could be a great lead-in to Walk+Bike day, October 3rd!

You can also reach Jeremy by email: jeremymcveety [at] gmail (dot) com.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bike Plan Languishes at Council, Hearing Continued, Action Deferred

In a side conversation, the first words from a visitor at City Council last night were, "Did you guys lose some sharrows in an overlay on Chemeketa?"

Lost Sharrow on Chemeketa

A Sharrow when it was New
In fact the life cycle of the sharrow, so short already, might be a fine template for the bike plan itself. Shiny and new, some enthusiasm, and now moving on to other things of more interest.

Last night Council kept the record open and continued the hearing on the bike plan. They took no action.

Monday, August 13, 2012

City Council, August 13th - The Bike Plan

Here it is. The bike plan. Bike and Walk Salem goes before Council tonight.

There's really nothing more important for Salem bicycling. Please email your Councilor before 5pm at or come to the meeting at 6:30pm in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Also, a new iteration of the Simpson Hills Fairview Refinement Plan. (Since the focus here is on the bike plan, I haven't been able to look at the Fairview plan this time.)


Appointments to the Downtown Parking Task Force and the official creation of the same:
City of Salem, Mayor Anna Peterson
City of Salem, Councilor Chuck Bennett
Kasey Wheeler, Manager JCPenney
Dana Vugteveen, Manager, Salem Center Mall
Marion County Commissioner, Sam Brentano
Brian King, DAS, State of Oregon
Alan Schechtman, Owner Sid's Furniture
Two positions remain unconfirmed
$650,000 in Urban Renewal Funds for improvements to the downtown parking garages.

Other Stuff

A bunch of annexations.

$100,000 in City funds and $150,000 in Urban Renewal funds to DKS Associates for the Downtown Mobility Study. Two things about this are interesting: Its total cost, which is larger than Bike and Walk Salem, I believe, and the two funding sources. Hopefully this is not a dodge to conceal the total cost.

The Mayor proposes to create a Mayor's Task Force on Agriculture. Maybe it'll just be a bunch of talk, but at the same time it is undeniable that while Salem has a smaller population and less aggregate income than Portland, it is geographically more central to farms in the valley. Canneries are closing, but maybe beer, wine, fine dining, and other affiliated sectors can be built out. On the surface it sounds like a logical idea. Hopefully bike tourism will be a friendly, even if secondary, consideration here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekend Wheeling: Bits around Town

In the sun is no better time to be on a bike!

At the LifeSource Resource Fair yesterday, we got to talk with retired State Librarian Jim Scheppke, who was there to talk about KMUZ. He also showed off his new battery assist!

It's a front-wheel drive and required only that he swap in a new wheel. The battery is secured under the saddle.

For him it's been hugely liberating, and has made the bike the preferred vehicle for short trips during the summer! It's the difference between a hot and sweaty slog up the hills, and a relaxing ride to take in sights, sounds, and smells.

(In the Sunday paper, there's also a nice piece on Jill Summers, who doesn't have a car and uses her bike for transportation!)

Also at the fair were folks from Turtle Ridge. They showed off birds from their educational flock of birds too injured or habituated to humans for rerelease in the wild: A juvenile crow, a red-tail hawk, a kestrel, and a cooper's hawk (pictured).

I often see a red-tail and a much smaller hawk (a sharp-shinned, I think) in Bush Park. This year I have also followed a pair of small hawks, also sharp-shinned I believe, who have nested in a very urban site in downtown Salem! One day I counted two adults and three juveniles. I've also seen adult bald eagles not just at Minto or by the river, but one day even soaring above the Capitol. Cheezy, perhaps, but remembering the ravages of DDT, it was moving in both an environmentalist and patriotic way.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tired of Crosswalk Violations and Crashes?

Send Council a message!

Bike and Walk Salem is for people who walk and run, too.

Even though the focus here has been on the Bike Plan part of Bike and Walk Salem, walking remains the fundamental building block of mobility. Almost all of us start and end our trips by walking - it's just the middle parts that differ.

In this regard, Bike and Walk Salem has direct benefits for everyone. (The critical ADA routes discussed in the Plan acknowledge the challenges and needs of those for whom walking is problematic or impossible.)

Email and urge Council to adopt the Bike and Walk Salem Plan and to accelerate its implementation.

Here's some talking points:
  • Facilities for walking and biking are cost-effective, considerably cheaper than roadway expansion for cars.
  • Heathcare costs and increasing rates of diabetes and obesity call for increasing daily activity, and Cities should have an interest in encouraging walking and biking for short trips.
  • Our existing transportation system limits choice and enforces dependence on car travel. Citizens of all stripes should want more freedom in transportation choice.
  • People driving cars have recently struck people walking in crosswalks, and the existing system is too often neither safe nor comfortable for people on foot or on bike.
Here's the City's Bike and Walk Salem site. For three years of notes on the bike plan update, see here.

Still visible are marks from the crash investigation where John Dashney, a blind man, was struck by a person in a car on 17th Street at Chemeketa.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Downtown Streets and Hours in the News

Downtown's getting some nice discussion in the media this week! She's a Cinderella! - beautiful in reality, but kept dirty and put to work many of the wrong ways.

A couple of days ago Queenie Wong wrote about the economic and cultural impact of State workers.

Happily, someone talked about residences downtown!
“As the day goes on, all the state workers leave and everybody leaves downtown. So downtown is not unlike any state capital area. If there’s not a good mix of things such as apartment complexes and a high population density then you’re going to close early,” said Lyn McPherson, owner of Whitlock’s Vacuum & Sewing Center on Court Street NE.
McPherson is right! There needs to be a mix of things, and people need to live downtown.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Let City Council Know You Want Safe Roads for All Users

The new bike plan's not just about comfort. It's also about safety. Sharrows, cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes, colored bike lanes - all these road treatments make all road users more aware of each other and make the roads safer.

Today the paper picked up a wire piece on ghost bikes.

Many will recall and still mourn former Salemite Tracy Sparling. Here's her ghost bike at 14th and West Burnside in Portland. (It may not still be there, alas. It's at St. Stephens with the Shrine to Madonna del Ghisallo.)

Here's some talking points:
  • Facilities for walking and biking are cost-effective, considerably cheaper than roadway expansion for cars.
  • Heathcare costs and increasing rates of diabetes and obesity call for increasing daily activity, and Cities should have an interest in encouraging walking and biking for short trips.
  • Our existing transportation system limits choice and enforces dependence on car travel. Citizens of all stripes should want more freedom in transportation choice.
  • People driving cars have recently struck people walking in crosswalks, and the existing system is too often neither safe nor comfortable for people on foot or on bike.
The City Club of Portland is undertaking a study of bicycling, and advocates have created a convenient wiki, "The Case for Cycling." It's a pretty good resource for additional arguments and details.

Here's the City's Bike and Walk Salem site. For three years of notes on the bike plan update, see here.

Notice the reverse lights on the truck in the photo at top. The sharrow helps position a person on bike farther to the center of the lane, not hugging the rear line of parked cars. This aids a person on bike in seeing reverse lights and backing movement of cars, and aids a person in car by keeping a person on bike towards the center of the road and out of blind spots.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pioneer Cemetery Should Consider Crystal Lake Cemetery in Corvallis - Updated

On Thursday Friends of Pioneer Cemetery will address the Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on access. The question of access in Pioneer Cemetery has been contentious and debate continues.

One nearby example of an historic cemetery that has walking and biking in and nearby is the Crystal Lake Masonic Cemetery operated by Benton County.

Crystal Lake Cemetery in Corvallis (center) borders sports complex and housing
The Crystal Lake Sports Field is on one side and Lily City Park and a new 34 unit condo development, Coho Ecovillage, on the other.  I have not been able to make an on-site visit, and I have a query into Benton County, but folks in Corvallis report that the cemetery has multiple openings that permit travel through it, and that the increased activity adjacent to the cemetery has improved (not diminished!) cemetery security.

While the situation is not identical - the cemetery, for example, doesn't constitute a barrier between residential neighborhoods the way the block of City View and Pioneer Cemetery does - there are some intriguing similarities, and it seems like it would be useful for the City and Benton County to compare notes.

District Roadmaster John W. Irvine and County Judge Grover P. Terrell are buried in the Pioneer Cemetery. They worked on the area's first bicycle paths circa 1900.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bike and Walk Salem Hearing in One Week

The Public Hearing for the new Bike Plan is just one week away!

Just a reminder to talk to your City Councilor if you haven't already!

Also, talk it up with your friends, colleagues, and peers. With a couple of exceptions, the organized bodies of people who bike in Salem don't seem real active on the bike plan. There's little or no chatter on email lists, Facebook, Twitter. So be an Ambassador! Share the news! Twist some arms!

Friday, August 3, 2012

City Council, August 6th - Cemetery and Alley Resumption

Monday brings an unusual one-item Council meeting. Council has been called to set a date for the Public Hearing on the alley vacation just north of the Pioneer Cemetery.

I don't know the full story, but I think there is some non-public maneuvering going on. A hearing date of August 13th had been selected, but staff and Council now wish to move it out to October 8th. The 13th is getting congested with other matters, and this matter alone will take some time. It would make for a very long night. Additionally, the October date permits more behind-the-scenes conversation and negotiation, and perhaps this will permit a creative compromise and resolution. It's probably a good sign that the City wants to take more time - and the one-item "special meeting" agenda is a sign, too, of its importance.

For the complete history, see notes tagged here.

Planning Commission to look at Warehouse in North Downtown

If you travel up Front Street much, you'll pass this older warehouse at the corner of D and Front. It used to be an ice and cold storage business, I'm told.

On Tuesday, August 21st, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and look at a request to change the zoning and reduce the required number of parking stalls.

I love some of the detailing in this building, and whenever I pass by it, I think of Pearl District restaurants on the loading docks in the old warehouse district in Portland.

There, of course, the streets are connected in the grid and stopped at most intersections. They also have taken out the rail lines.

Here it seems like a lot of car traffic uses Front as a by-pass for the Commercial/Liberty couplet, and of course there's still train traffic on the old Oregon Electric line.

But it's also along Mill Creek and the site always seems to shimmer with possibility - if out of reach at the moment. (You may recall the Sustainable Cities studies for redeveloping North Downtown!)