Most importantly, the study represents a serious look at restoring two-way traffic on several streets.
|Downtown Salem, July 2012|
Within a few weeks, the entire business community was celebrating. "We have twice as many people going by as they did before," one of the employees at an antique store told a local reporter. The chairman of the Vancouver Downtown Association, Lee Coulthard, sounded more excited than almost anyone else. "It's like, wow," he exclaimed, "why did it take us so long to figure this out?"One-way streets should not be allowed in prime downtown retail area.
A year later, the success of the project is even more apparent. Twice as many cars drive down Main Street every day, without traffic jams or serious congestion. The merchants are still happy. "One-way streets should not be allowed in prime downtown retail areas," says Rebecca Ocken, executive director of Vancouver's Downtown Association. "We've proven that."
Can it be any clearer than this?
The other great piece is a serious look at connectivity for people who aren't in cars.
In general, one approach would be to think about connectivity in a high-low, alternating way: Roughly every other street should have a high-quality lane for people on bike.
|Study Area with Streets under Consideration|
So in this approach State, Chemeketa, and Union would get high-quality, family-friendly treatments running east and west. Church, Winter, and 12th would get high-quality treatments running north and south.
Simple Fixes: Two-Way + Sharrows
- State Street - a cycletrack or equivalent is right
- Church Street - a cycletrack should be considered here. This may require more study.
- Winter Street - see below. Alternative 4, cycletracks on each side.
- 12th Street - add bike lanes!
Even with these two areas where I'd like to see more detail, the Downtown Mobility Study has potential to be a road map to a set of transformative connections to downtown and within downtown. It's a solid start!
A Cycletrack for Winter Street
|Winter St. Alternatives|
And what about Chemeketa?
While Chemeketa is outside of the study area, it will very quickly be outpaced by the improvements to other streets. It risks becoming a Cinderella real fast.
|Mid-Block Sharrow on Chemeketa|
So if we want to maintain Chemeketa as the best low-traffic east-west connection into downtown, sharrows alone are not enough, and we will need to make improvements to it so that it is truly family-friendly. Right now it's a temporizing compromise, a pilot that has worked and set the stage for additional work. But we need to up its game so its not left behind!