Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Diverging Diamond Rejected for I-5 and Kuebler, Minto Bridge Waits at Transportation Commission

The Oregon Transportation Commission meets Wednesday the 20th at ODOT-HQ.

Gail Achterman OTC Room
Earlier in the year, it looked like "Enhance it" funds for the Minto Bridge might have been approved at this meeting, but that item doesn't appear to be on the agenda. There is an informational report on the agenda instead, and it looks like final approval will come at the January 2014 meeting.

But one item that is on the agenda is that crazy diverging diamond proposed for I-5 at Keubler.

Diverging Diamond
A developer had proposed the diverging diamond through an alternative submission process, and it looks like ODOT's not biting, preferring instead a partial cloverleaf design.

Diverging Diamond Rejected!
Partial Cloverleaf - "ParClo" - Preferred
In the analysis, freight movement dominated, but people on foot and on bike did get a little bit of attention by an analysis panel:

ParClo in center, Diverging Diamond on right
Differences in degree of yuck
Additionally, DKS submitted an independent analysis:

People on bike are hosed either way
So it seems reasonable to ask: Why isn't better mitigation/facilities for people on foot and on bike part of the project? The Kuebler-Cordon Road connection is an important crossing over I-5 and a meaningful connection between outer-south Salem and east Salem. It hardly appeals to anyone beyond the "strong and fearless" - you'd never send your child on it - but there are few opportunities to cross I-5, so this is nevertheless a critical link. 

In fact, Bike and Walk Salem calls for a shared use path on the east side of the interchange, though it was ranked a third priority, "tier 3" project.  

Proposed Shared Use Path for Kuebler
The "ParClo" itself is problematic: There will be three uncontrolled crossings - "conflict areas" - where on- or off-ramp highway traffic zooms across the trajectory of those on foot or on bike.  There are real questions about baseline safety.

Is there any reason in the second decade of the 21st century, we are still designing highway on- and off-ramps that require people on foot and on bike to play frogger on the crossroad?

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