Monday, March 24, 2014

Keizer Rapids Park and Chemawa Road Update; Also, Camas!

In Keizer, Chemawa Road west of River Road got $4 million in sidewalks and bike lanes and other improvements last summer, and the great weather this weekend provided a reason for a brief detour to check it out.

The official project description is "Add bike lanes, curbs, sidewalks, signal at McNary High School entrance. Include rain gardens."

But a few details seem odd. Most curiously, as a dead-end, a road that ends in residences and a great park, and as a road with no through-traffic - why on earth is it signed for 30mph???

30mph seems excessive on this part of Chemawa Rd
Traffic here on Chemawa still gets kinda zoomy, and this segment of road appears to be rated a collector street (Keizer TSP). But even if it does "collect" traffic from the local streets, since it's a dead-end in every way, and since there's a magnificent park and kid-attractor at the principal dead-end, it seems like in spirit it's much more of a local street and deserves lower speeds.

The road is apparently difficult enough to cross that a signed crosswalk was necessary just down the road from the speed limit sign. The north sidewalk just ends here, so a mid-block crossing might be useful to get to the park, which is on the south side - but maybe if auto traffic wasn't so prioritized and the traffic was calmed more deliberately, the crosswalk might not be necessary.

The Crosswalk reads as mitigation rather than integration
The swales are neat and run the length of the road section on the north side.

You have to look for a curb cut here
Inside Keizer Rapids Park at the new boat ramp, right at the racks there's no curb cut for mounting the sidewalk to the bike racks. Clearly the designers expected people on bike to be on the path system and not using the road. At road crossings inside the park there are sidewalk ramps, but you have go looking for them. This remains a gap in current practices on integrating path systems and roads - the two systems are layered on top of each other in parallel as a sort-and-separate move.

But next to the racks are lockers! You can bike to the boat launch, meet up with friends, and store your stuff in a locker. (Any boaters out there? Is this actually a useful configuration? It sure looks nice.)

Racks and lockers look useful
The canoe/kayak stand next to it was an Eagle Scout project and the racks and lockers are related or perhaps even part of the project.

Elsewhere, it was still glorious!

Camas starting to bloom in Bush Park
Forget the cherries, it's almost camas time.

Any urban naturalists out there who can say if the Camas is meaningfully early this year? Previous notes and photos suggest the fields blooming the end of April, but it's hard to think these fields will last long enough to show peak camas a month from now. Does anyone know?

It was nice to see the fountains going in Willson Park and north of the Capitol and lots of people gathered.  Here's a tree honoring Thomas Vaughn, who just passed away last December. Vaughn was a long-time Director of the Oregon Historical Society and State Historian Laureate.
History and Public Space (with fountains!) - Two favorite topics
Gravel seems to have been cleared from the streets - but it's migrated to the sidewalk!

More than a month after the snow,
still lots of gravel on the sidewalk at Bush Park
While you were out and about, what did you see?


Laurie Dougherty said...

Out and about yesterday I biked to the Fairview Wetlands Mitigation area in Fairview Industrial Park. I found this when I went to Hillcrest last fall for the Salem Weekly article on the 2nd Chance Bike Recycling Program and have been wanting to go back to explore. Will be writing a short piece on it - what, where and how it came about - for a future SW article.

Saw 2 kildeer (or 4 but probably the same pair). Never saw one before - had to Google "small bird with white neck ring" from my phone to identify it. Got scolded by a red winged blackbird. Saw 2 large thatched nest structures and one smaller black birdhouse mounted on poles in the water - will try to find out what species they are meant for. No camas in bloom but some shoots that might be camas.

One lone goose stood by the trail watching the ducks in the wetland, but across the street a huge flock of geese grazed on the lawn at the Dept of Fish & Wildlife - was that the plan?. Several groups took flight while I watched. On my way back that way, no more geese but one dog out for a walk. They looked like regular old Canada geese to me - where I come from Canada geese are an enormous resident pest, denuding parks, golf courses and playing fields, and depositing vast quantities of goose poop. Dogs are sometimes employed to run them off. Here, they seem to still be migratory and there are efforts to preserve transitory habitat and more than one kind of geese passes through (I think).

I have come across several people who would like to do some slow and easy social bike rides and going there will be the first one. Still putting the plan together but probably in late April.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Look forward to the article! And to the prospect of one or more "slow" rides. Glad to hear.