Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Trail and Path System in new Parks Master Plan Finally Posted

In mid-December you may recall that the draft Parks Master Plan was released for public comment.

But it wasn't complete!

Yes, they were missing.
Well now they have the maps. You can see the full pdf here.

Here's Map 4, the Proposed Trail System!
In Chapter 6, "Recommendations," there are four "linear parks" proposed and some 50 "connector trails." They're hard to see on the dinky clip, so click through to the full pdf if you're interested.  Still, you can see the straight shot along a power line easement in West Salem, a riverfront trail along the Willamette River to Keizer, a 25th St./Airway Drive path, a long path along Kuebler/Cordon Road, an I-5 connector, and a Mill Creek path.  Plus lots of other smaller ones.

In Chapter 7 on "Implementation" and priorities, only two trails rank highly enough for "tier 1" listing:  The Croisan Trail Connector and the Minto Park Path and Bridge.

Croisan Trail, LP4, in blue
Minto Path, LP1 - Note alignment in blue
So it's difficult to see the rest of the trails, multi-use paths, and other connections as much more than pie-in-the-sky. There is, for example, no plan to finish the Union St. RR Bridge connection on the other side of Wallace Road to Patterson as well as the connection across Wallace itself. It's just labeled on the map as a wish (CT4 & 5).

Given the clear preferences for separated and protected routes that people in Salem and pretty much everywhere have expressed, this represents a significant missed opportunity to build out connections attractive to families and people new to biking. 

As an interesting note of small relevance, the Minto path alignment in the Parks map is considerably more direct than the wandering one from the Minto Path Master Plan, which contained the hyperbole about how attractive it would be to commuters.

Compare alignment in red!
According to the project schedule, after work sessions with the Planning Commission, the Parks Plan is now scheduled for a mid-March public hearing at Council.

So check out the map, paying particular attention to places where you travel or recreate. Is it missing obvious candidates for connections?   And are there connections that are identified but not assigned a high enough priority?

The trail system as envisioned in 1999
More on the 1999 map here for comparison.

You can see the complete document and supporting materials here at the project site.

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