Last month the Policy Committee considered a proposal to allocate $22,000 for the purchase of two bike/ped counters, one each for the Union Street RR Bridge and for the future Minto Bridge.
The proposal, representing 0.3% of the $7 million spent so far on the Salem River Crossing or less than half of a single pedestrian crosswalk median for $60,000, ran into resistance and was tabled with a request for additional information. From the draft minutes:
Discussion focused on whether bicycle and pedestrian counters are considered part of congestion management [the broader category of the funding source]. Mike Jaffe explained that the counters provide baseline numbers for comparison to future year counts to determine whether there are changes in biking or walking on the two bridges. Measuring this change gives a more complete picture of travel activity and congestion in Salem. Councilor Dan Clem commented that he would like additional time to confer with his staff before approving or disapproving of the purchase of the counters....Discussion continued related to commuter and recreational use and how surveys would be needed to determine the type of trips (commuting, recreational, other) on the bridges.SKATS staff are coming back with some additional clarification as well as a request for the motion to proceed, but the memo's assertions in support of the proposal are somewhat pallid and don't seem very interested. Counters should be a baseline expectation, immune to politics! Beginning to install bike counters and moving towards a robust bike count system should be standard best practices at this point. This shouldn't even be an item of policy debate - not to mention how small is the dollar amount as a proportion of total transportation spending.
Additional discussion...asked if the data obtained would be beneficial in showing need in grant applications and if the information would help in going forward with the Salem River crossing project. Staff responded that counts on the Union Street corridor could be helpful in grant applications for future phases of the corrider [Union Street, as I read it]. Mike Jaffe responded that currently SKATS has good count data for vehicles and relatively good transit passenger information, but there is no on-going data collection of pedestrian or bicycle counts in the SKATS area.
Motion was made...to table action related to bicycle and pedestrian counters pending receipt of additional information...
Councilor Dan Clem asked if bicycle and pedestrian counter information would be incorporated into the SKATS model. Staff replied that count data from only two locations was insufficient at this time for use in the regional travel model.
It seems all too possible that the Committee could refuse the proposal. (But we can wish that they see the two count stations are insufficient for the regional travel model and want to increase the number of stations to the number of data points meaningful for the regional travel model!)
Also on the agenda is a brief report on the technical advisory committee's rankings on the 11 projects submitted for Federal Surface Transportation Program and Transportation Alternatives Program funding in the local 2015-2020 Transportation Improvement Program.
|Priority Voting from Technical Advisory Committee on|
11 applications for Federal STP-U and TAP-U funds
(click to enlarge tables)
|Funding buckets for the 11 projects|
|Look for the historic sign|
next to the entry
For comments on the draft plan, see last month's note.
SKATS Policy Committee meets at noon on Tuesday the 25th at 100 High St. SE, Suite 200 above Bar Andaluz and the former La Capitale.