They were brainstorming at a workshop for a bike park concept in Wallace Marine Park held by the Salem Area Trail Alliance, Dan Miller of the National Parks Service, and Jordan Sector of Sector Environmental Design.
SATA is one of the 2013 Oregon Projects participating with the National Park Service, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, which "provides technical assistance to communities so they can conserve rivers, preserve open space, and develop trails and greenways." Dan and Jordan work together often on projects and the Assistance Program made their presence possible.
|A large number of trails are already worn down and marked|
|The location in Wallace Park just north of the softball complex -|
More than just a pump track! (north at top)
All ages joined Jeff McNamee of SATA for the session. There were kids, young adults, the young at heart, and several from the City, including Keith Keever, Parks Superintendent. Several folks, including Dino Venti, also joined from BRMBA, adding their expertise in riding and construction.
|The pond is a logical feature and center for a park.|
A trail could wrap around it. Folk watch a blue heron feeding there.
Running in and also outside of the project area is a large number of hand-built and very large jumps, ramps, and tables. Some of them are essentially "underground" or "guerilla," and it turns out there's an impressive amount of biking going on there under the radar already.
|There's a collection of amazing hand-built jumps and ramps|
just outside the project area - they're huge!
One of the City staff hit on another great reason for a bike park there. At two kinds of moments the area around the softball fields is idle: When there is no tournament, which is often; and during a tournament for participants and spectators in the gaps between games, or for those who have limited interest in the game. By placing a first-class bike park there, families would be able to bring bikes and have something for the kids to do. People could also watch the advanced bikers do tricks and stunts. And when there is no tournament scheduled, the park will add activity, eyes, and ears to an area that is currently inactive and not well watched. A bike park can also be used as an amenity in pitching for national tournaments and the associated tourism.
A comparison with the bike/skate park in Marion Square Park is instructive. That park is bounded by Front Street, Commercial, and the Marion Street Bridge. Its north side has parking lots and at least one vacant building. Union Street is not yet improved as a bikeway. The park suffers from inactive edges, too much arterial traffic, and a lack of eyes and ears from having one use only. It is not integrated into the wider urban patterns of time or of space. A well-designed bike park in Wallace could improve on this experience.
Finally, a bike park could be a great pearl in the string of trails and experiences along the river that is the larger vision for SATA and Friends of Two Bridges.
|Imagine a Park hooked into the system with the Union St RR Bridge|
and the Minto Bridge! And then extending north into wine country.
|OR-22 Connector will add traffic, pollution, noise,|
and a large barrier to a bike park (south at top)
After the tour, people threw out ideas and Jordan marked them on tracing paper laid over an aerial map. The topography offered clear opportunities and useful constraints, and it did not seem difficult for Jordan to lay out a basic structure with different pods of features aimed at different skill levels and different styles of bicycling. It will be interesting to see them formalized into a drawing.
|Pitching ideas and features on tracing paper over the map -|
for a lot more than just a pump track!
SATA has also been awarded a recreation trails grant from State Parks and Recreation for planning and trail design at the Lincoln and Spring Valley sites. Look for more on these later this year!