Friday, December 14, 2012

Downtown Mobility Study Open House Dazzles a Little

Certainly for many last night at Pringle Community Hall, the marquee highlight of the Downtown Moblity Study Open House was the cycle track concept for Union Street and connections to the Union Street Railroad Bridge.

Union St Concept: between Water and Commercial
Note cul-de-sac and light at Commercial!
Union St. Concept at Cottage
Note two-way protected cycletrack
and traffic divertor at Cottage
The Union Street concept offered a smorgasbord for everyone: Maintained car parking stalls, offered sections of 12 and ten-foot wide two-way cycle track, and installed the all-important light at the worst intersection in the world™ of Union @ Commercial.

Union @ Commercial
2009 Concept
Here's a note from a Union Street concept from the summer of 2009, and it shows just how much more - at least on paper - seems possible today!

In this older treatment on Commercial you can see a full traffic signal or a HAWK signal. But not a cycle track or traffic diverter. 

By comparison, the universe of possibilities really seems larger now.

At the open house there was lots of other stuff, too, and depending on your perspective, other streets and other treatments may have been the main feature.

There was, in truth, way too much to take in, and that was indeed a very nice problem to have.

The presentation boards will be posted soon to the study's website, and the City plans to take comment for another week or two on this preliminary round.

Once the boards are posted, I'll return for a better look. These are all concepts, and each street (except maybe one, I can't remember exactly) was assigned 3 or 4 different options in treatment. 

In some ways it seemed like the bike stuff was featured more than the one-way to two-way conversion, which in my mind remains the most important element of  the whole thing.  If I only get to pick one thing to change, it's the one-way grid. 

The reality with all this, of course, is the funding. By choosing not to put in applications for the 2015-2018 round of STIP funding, the City has hamstrung itself in important ways, and it was not possible to see all the multi-modal goodness and wonder if it was all just a pipedream.  It will take a lot of work to make things happen in concrete, paint, and asphalt.


Jim Scheppke said...

Bravo! Three cheers for the downtown mobility study. Finally, something in this town to be FOR!

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

It's true! There's so much potential here, it is exactly as you say something to cheer for directly and unambiguously, and maybe most importantly, at least at this stage it sure seems like there's enough good stuff on the table that pragmatic compromises to build support will not fatally damage the project. An 80% solution would still be pretty darn nice. Hopefully the funding question will come into better focus with an equally rich range of solutions.