Saturday, August 17, 2013

2010 Census Map, Bike Tourism, New Library Sidewalk, Fish and Wildlife Office: Newsbits

In Bikes Mean Business, a sweet Canadian couple were seen recently disembarking from Amtrak at the railroad station.  They had just finished biking the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway from Champoeg to Eugene, and took the train from Eugene to Salem before riding through French Prairie again.  The northern segment was their favorite, unsurprisingly!

These cheery Canadians rode
the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway

More interesting is the way they settled on the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway:  There was more than a little bit of "dart-throwing" in the decision!

They didn't have any specific interest in Salem or in the Willamette Valley.  This was an area new to them, easily served by I-5 and rail.  If many of the scenic bikeways are in more remote parts of Oregon, here in the most populated corridor, the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway offers convenient access for short trips. 

So imagine what could happen if TravelSalem and the City really aggressively marketed bike tourism here! 

Additionally, at the train station there isn't any kind of mini bike station or kiosk that would direct travelers to other places to visit, restaurants to eat at, bike shops - any of the kinds of things in which bike tourists might have interest.  Taking another day to tour Eola Hills wineries by bike, for example.  A tire pump and tool kit could also be useful.

With the Greyhound depot renovation, we should really think about the ways we miss opportunities and under-serve visitors like this couple.

Library Sidewalk Skirts Awful Stairs

There's new construction at the library.  A new sidewalk will make it possible to avoid the awful, awful stairs on the Liberty side between the Civic Center and the Library. 

New path makes it possible to avoid the awful stairs
The dimensions of these stairs are almost certainly the worst in the city: Far too deep, they take more than one step to traverse; far too low, their rise is miniscule. They are spectacularly awkward.  It's like they were designed for an alien being with limbs in some other configuration and length!

So, many people avoid them. That has meant walking through the parking lot.  Not much additional distance, but annoying.

No more!  Now there's a way to walk right past them.

(Maybe the stairs can be filled in to create a level platform and some other more interesting and active use could be installed on the new slab!)

Census Map shows Diversity and Clustering in Salem

A crazy map compiled from 2010 census data has been zinging round the internets the last few days.

Each dot represents one person in 2010 census!
(The color saturation on this clip is juiced for clarity)
The map compiled by University of Virginia geographers, the "Racial Dot Map," shows the entire US, but you can zoom in on individual cities. Each dot represents one person in a household and their self-selected racial identity. Most demographic data on Salem has been reproduced at a much coarser level, by census block, so this is really something. And it shows a lot about our city.  In the detail here you can see squares at Willamette University and the Union Gospel Mission, and scattered dots along the waterfront and in Bush Park, presumably homeless people.  Most of downtown is empty.  Yellow dots show those who selected "Hispanic." 

The full Salem clip is a bit large, so look for it after the jump at the end...

Facilities at the New Fish and Wildlife Office

Oregon Fish and Wildlife has been in the news with their big move. What's a new State office like out in an industrial park?

A hike on the path from the sidewalk to the building entry is so epic...
That they had to put in a bench at a midpoint!
Like everything out there, it is so, so auto-centric. The distances and spacing from lot to lot and building to building along Fairview Industrial Drive are such that there is literally nothing you can walk to on a break or at lunch. You can walk a loop for exercise, but not actually go to a difference place or business.  There is, for example, the cafe at Pringle Creek Community - but you wouldn't have time to walk there for lunch.

(In fairness to Fish and Wildlife, it seems intuitively obvious that their mission involves lots of field work or people coming from a distance and that among State agencies they will always be on the low side for bike use.) 

It looked like some bike racks were installed, but if these are bike racks, they represent a pretty neat FAIL of ornament over function.

Are these really bike racks?  The salmon and eagles
were nice symbols, but you can't actually lock to anything
The steel tubing is arranged so it is far away from any elements in a standard bike frame. You can't use a u-lock connecting to your frame, and some cables would be stretched pretty far. The implied locking arrangement would secure one wheel only to a bottom tube.  This is a vintage 70s pre-quick-release design!

Again, it is possible these are meant for some other purpose, but they were near the door, and there were no other staple, or u-racks, or other more obvious bike racking installed nearby.  By elimination, it seemed these had to be the racking. 

How is it that in 2013 at a brand-new State office, there's not a higher baseline for bike parking?  These won't even be covered for shelter from rain.

And here's the big census map.

One dot for every person in the 2010 census
Click to Embiggen! (It's big)
via University of Virginia


Jim Scheppke said...

Thanks for pointing out this map. Very interesting to see where the Hispanic population is in Salem. Another thing you can see on this map is the uninhabited "hourglass floodplain" that those crazy NO 3rd Bridge guys keep talking about. It's evident that the bridges we have are in the only place where it makes sense to have bridges in Salem.

Laurie Dougherty said...

One more advantage for train/bike tourism in this area is that the Amtrak Cascades route is one of the few that allows bikes to be carried without breaking down or boxing them.

And while we're at the train (now both Amtrak & Greyhound station) why is there no connection to Cherriots there?

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Go Crazy N3B Guys!

Yeah, as you say, the inhabitant dots clearly show the floodplain and lengths bridges might need to span.

The #6 runs near the Station on 12th/13th, but its routing seems to put it on the wrong side of the one-way streets, and then only in-bound.

Hopefully with the Greyhound move, Cherriots is planning on a stop inside the parking lot. As you poing out, it's silly there's not one already!