Monday, September 16, 2013

NEN Meets Tomorrow the 17th: Marion and 13th, and Center Street on the Agenda - Updated

The Northeast Neighbors neighborhood association meets tomorrow night, Tuesday the 17th.

In addition to an update on the neighborhood plan process, they'll also get a presentation from the City Traffic Engineer on some plans for Center Street and the crossing at Marion and 13th Street.

Back in March, you may recall, one of the items discussed was the possibility of crossing help at the tricky intersection of 13th and Marion, just northeast of Safeway.

And it looks like the City is ready to show some preliminary concepts!

13th at Marion: unmarked crosswalks, one-way + dual turns = difficult!
The intersection is right after Center Street splits into a one-way couplet, and while Center Street south of Safeway has marked crosswalks and a pedestrian median, Marion Street north of the grocery store has neither, and most often cars take the dual turns quickly and without consideration of the unmarked crosswalks and any people waiting to cross.

People walking to the grocery store, including students from Parrish and North, sometimes face great difficulties and even dangers as they attempt the crossing.

On Friday the City didn't have any concept drawings to share, so if you're interested, the meeting will be the first place to see them!

Also interesting will be information on plans for Center Street.  Informally, City staff have suggested some interest in "upgrading" Center Street there to a "modern" three lane cross-section.  From 13th out to Lancaster, Center makes a capacity crescendo, growing from two lanes to five (six with a short turn lane).

Between 13th and 25th it has an "old" two-lane cross-section - though the whole street is pretty wide and there are sidewalks and a curb strip with trees.  Mostly successfully, it carries about 18,000 cars per day here with just the two lanes:

Center from 13th to 17th does have sidewalks
but also super wide auto lanes (dimensions approximate)
via streetmix
At 17th it picks up bike lanes and some parallel parking stalls, but remains two drive lanes.

At the State Hospital, with the new facility it becomes three lanes (before and after images here):

Current urban standard with turn pocket, bike lanes, and sidewalks.
In older neighborhoods widened streets sometimes show
truncated front yards (by streetmix)
And just before Hawthorne as it heads over I-5 and out to Lancaster it becomes five lanes.

So it will be interesting to learn if the section from 13th to 25th is envisioned for widening, and if so what that might look like.  Bike and Walk Salem called for a standard bike lane in the 13th - 17th section.  (The dimensions in the drawings here are swaggy, illustrative only, and are certainly wrong in detail, please note!)

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. in the Salem First Church of the Nazarene at 1550 Market Street NE.

Update, Thursday the 19th

Proposed median extension and crosswalk at 13th and Center
Proposed marked crosswalks and flashing beacons at 13th and Marion


Curt said...

You indicate here, and in previous posts, that yards along 17th got whacked to accommodate a third lane. I don't think that is accurate. I believe 17th used to have 4 travel lanes and was restriped in its current configuration in 1996 (ish) but I'm not positive about that.

I've noticed in traveling to other OR cities that two lane streets seem to be a much higher % of the street inventory than in Salem. Edgewater is the only street in Salem that I can think of that is only 2 (2 way) lanes that is developed with any shopping. But in other cities there are many more options to strip malls: NE Alberta PDX, 13th in Sellwood, 19th and Agate in Eugene, Monroe St. in Corvallis, and 3rd St. McMinnville all come to mind.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

I think you're right, come to think of it....17th may be an example of an early, 1990s road diet! Thanks for pointing that out.

The more general observation remains, though, that front yards got whacked when 17th was widened (here's a part of 17th that shows this). When the older homes were built along it, it wasn't even a through-street, having a dead-end at Mill Creek between Chemeketa and Asylum Avenue (Center Street). The old maps show a 60 foot right of way for much of 17th, so the cross-section accurately shows how front yards would be considerably larger when the road wasn't built out with 4 traffic lanes or 3 + bike lanes.

Especially with the old streetcar commercial districts in PDX, it is as you say remarkable how much commercial development can work on a two lane street - and how many trips they can actually handle.

Curt said...

About those streetcar commercial districts. Here's an interesting article Shoup posted on Facebook:

Lee said...

I was at the meeting. Looks like we're getting some curb extensions and flashing beacons for 13th and Marion. Also some extensions and other improvements for 13th and Center. They'll be putting in a pedestrian island at Nebraska and 17th also.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks for the article and the update on the meeting!

A flashing beacon at 13th and Marion would be so helpful! The crosswalk at 17th and Nebraska is also too infrequently observed by people in cars, so a median - since Englewood is so close - would help there too. It'll be interesting to learn more about the stuff on Center Street.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

updated with drawings from the City!