Monday, September 9, 2013

Bikes Everywhere at Sunny Sunday Streets! - Updated with survey link

Families enjoyed weather and the whole street!

Bikes lined up at the Book Mobile

Bike angle parking at Willson Park on Cottage Street

Bike generators at the music stage in Wallace Park
(Missed the actual performance, though)

Bike Club and Food Coop at Waverley and State
The folks who brought "Before I die" to Salem had another interactive piece.  People could write what they wanted to see downtown:

Interactive art from the BE group
Only a couple of complaints!

While the City and Police kept cars off of State Street, the north-south streets intersecting State Street were still given priority, and it wouldn't be surprising if families with smaller children stayed in the Park and off of State Street since darting into traffic or incomplete stops might still be a hazard.

"Summer in the City" in 2008 and for a couple of years thereafter (see this Business Journal piece on 2008, and Hinessight has photos from the less exciting version in 2009) closed down Liberty Street for a couple of blocks - it can be done!

The only drag?
State Street wasn't completely open!
And north-south cross traffic still prioritized at lights
(around 4pm, things were slowing down)
Around 2pm, one City employee also said he had to stop a private chartered bus driver and between 10 to 15 automobile drivers from driving through the barricades.  He sincerely felt that it was necessary to have a person at the barricades since driver compliance with the street closures wasn't close enough to 100%.

The other minus was that too many State Street merchants stayed closed!  I don't know if this is an argument to have the event on a Saturday, an argument for more and earlier outreach, or a wait-and-see attitude by the merchants.  Hopefully more will be on board by next year.

Summer in the City also had sidewalk sales and other merchant participation, so even if the Open Streets concept isn't as commercial, there's still room for a much more active sidewalk in addition to the free-range streets and DIY community spirit.

All in all Salem Sunday Streets was a striking success.

In 1977 when the Salem Bicycle Club held the first Monster Cookie ride
There were 15 riders that showed up for the Salem Bicycle Club's Metric Century. Most of the riders were from the Portland Wheelmen. We did have one rider from Vancouver B.C. who had seen an advertisement of the ride. All of the riders liked the route...

The bad news was that the first metric did not make any money. Both John and I had to pay for some of the lunches, since we over-ordered.

The next year we avoided some of the mistakes that we made the first year. There were 75 riders from all around the Northwest and the club finally had a fund raiser!
Now the Monster Cookie regularly has 2000 riders.  And that's for 62 miles!

The City was planning for up to 2000 people, and it will be interesting to see some formal estimates.  I'm not sure there were quite that many.  But there were certainly many hundreds scattered both in time and in space over the length of the route.

By any reasonable standard, as an inaugural event, it was a big hit.  Reports on the Mayor's impressions suggested she was very impressed.  Hopefully she'll have something public to say.

Over time, people will talk about it personally and virally, and next year's publicity is sure to have a much larger reach.

Well done, and here's to next year!

Update, Tuesday the 10th

The City's got a survey out!  Take it here and let them know what you think!

And here's part two of the survey.


KandN said...

Regarding the number of closed businesses: one business owner said that if there had been better/clearer communication he would've opened for the event. His comment made me hopeful that, like you state in your post, more participation will happen each time.

Brian Hines said...

Here's a video I just put up on You Tube showing Salem's Senior Citizen Skateboarder, me, land paddling a longboard down State Street yesterday.

Videos shows the cross street traffic you mention. This was problematic, as for blocks and blocks there was no cross traffic, then there was. The spaced-apart barricades gave warning of this, but I could see a child not realizing that after blocks of not stopping at an intersection, now it was necessary.

Turnout seemed lower than I expected. Statesman Journal didn't have good pre event coverage. That needs to be improved for next time. But on the whole, great event.

I heard people talking about how this should be done regularly. I loved the feel of having an entire three lane street open to non-cars. Changed how I looked upon downtown Salem. Almost wish for a zombie apocalypse which would do away with cars. Of course, then the streets would be filled with zombies.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

thanks for the additional informations!

It's great to hear from disparate sources that the criticism is constructive and overwhelmingly forward-looking - that it's totally worth doing again. Like people want to invest in improving it. That's great!

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

updated with survey

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

updated with a second part of the survey