Sunday, March 2, 2014

Transit and Crosswalks in the Neighborhood Associations this Week

In the neighborhood associations this week, improving transit in West Salem and crosswalks and medians around the city are among the topics.

West Salem - Monday

You may recall the announcement about "capturing the ride" from a few days ago.  Cherriots has recognized that
Current fixed-route transit service provided by Salem-Keizer Transit is inefficient in the low-density neighborhoods of West Salem, South Salem, and Keizer.
You can see the lack of coverage in West Salem.  It would be interesting to see a map of households served within a 1/4 mile (or other easy walking distance) of a transit stop, as well as a map with the time/frequency dimension.  An important part of the reason fixed-route service is inefficient is because it's probably not very convenient.

Cherriots Route Coverage in West Salem
On the agenda for the West Salem Neighborhood Association a member of the "capturing the ride" project team will talk about
Transit Alternatives for West Salem – Lauren Wirtis, Portland State University Master of Urban and Regional Planning Candidate;
Developing robust and well-used transit in West Salem is one of the best things we can do to ensure that we don't continue to waste resources planning for - or allocating funding for - a new giant bridge and highway across the river.  And in fact the Alternate Modes Study looked at
a mixture of physical improvement projects, operational improvements, and educational/policy efforts to reach the goal of reducing single-occupant trips over the river and to increase the service life of the bridges.
(So, uh, why aren't these our first priority?)

The River Crossing Alternate Modes Study and Transit:
Improve Transit Service, Increase Service Frequency
The West Salem Neighborhood Association meeting is at Roth’s West, Mezzanine level, at 1130 Wallace Rd NW on Monday, March 3rd, at 7pm.

Northeast Neighbors - Tuesday

And you might remember from last fall the conversation about improved crossings near Safeway on Marion and Center Streets at 13th.

Proposed median extension and crosswalk at 13th and Center
The projects continue to mature and at the NEN meeting on Tuesday, City staff will give an update on the crossings at 17th & Nebraska, 17th & Mill and 13th & Center Streets.

17th and Nebraska is interesting because the City has already painted a new crosswalk, but autoists have continued to struggle here with yielding to people on foot. Near Englewood Elementary, this is an important route for school children. The is going to upgrade the crossing further with a median, as I understand it.

Police conducting crosswalk safety enforcement at 17th and Nebraska
NEN meets Tuesday the 4th at 6:30pm in the Salem First Church of the Nazarene, 1550 Market Street NE.

Grant Neighborhood - Thursday

Not on the agenda, but from the last few meetings, is the current proposal for the median at the odd intersection of Hood/Church/Fairgrounds Road.

Proposed Median for Hood and Fairgrounds at Church
Autoists speed down the broad avenue of Fairgrounds Road, fail to navigate the turn onto Hood Street, and crash into the church building on the corner.

The proposed design will create a two-block section of bike lane it appears, will narrow the road somewhat, hopefully tending to slow speeds, and with the median will keep speeding autoists from hitting the church building.

The intersection will also lose some vintage, Route 66-era charm, as well as restricting movement for people on foot and on bike somewhat, as they also will be channeled more to crosswalks and a limited number of movements.

How many of these suspended traffic lights are left in Salem?
More interesting perhaps is the way this spot calming turns away from system calming.  By the time drivers reach the turn they will already have reached cruising speed.  That is to say, behind a disaster at the turn the moment of decision is reached much farther up the road.  A different approach to safety at the turn might have made it more difficult to speed at an earlier point on the avenue; this solution implicitly permits speeding along the length of Fairgrounds and only channelizes the road at the turn.  Cost and other factors are involved, and it is not possible at the moment to say this is a wrong or bad solution - but it is an interesting one, small and local rather than the whole length of the street.

Actually on the agenda are folks from the Historic Landmarks Commission, who will be giving an update on the "Heritage Neighborhood Program."  I believe the idea of creating a National Register Historic District in Grant has been discarded, due in part to neighborhood fears about regulatory burdens and costs to homeowners in an official Historic District, and a looser "heritage" program proposed instead. So it will be interesting to see how this concept has morphed. (But wait!  A revised agenda doesn't show this, so it may have been pulled from the meeting and postponed.)

There will also be an update on the Riverfront-Downtown Urban Renewal Plan.

The Grant Neighborhood Association meets Thursday the 6th at 6:15 p.m., in the Library at Grant Community School, 725 Market St NE.


Laurie Dougherty said...

Re: 17th & Mill - I would love to see some help for crossing 17th there. The long stretch between traffic lights at S!!tate & Mission carries fast moving heavy traffic for much of the day. I live at 20th & Mill S and cross 17th there on foot or bicycle several times a week. A crosswalk would not be enough. It needs some kind of signal. (I don't know if they ever did this in Salem or if they still do it anywhere, but back in the day pushing a pedestrian button at a traffic light would generate a red and yellow pedestrian signal stopping traffic in all directions. )

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

(As a parenthetical matter, I think 17th & Mill is in SESNA, not NEN! So even though it's on the agenda, it may not get much air time. I'd look instead for an update at SESNA later this month.)

The road bond update presented to Council in January didn't have any details, and I can't remember if I have seen any elsewhere.

So I don't know what combo of flashing beacon, refuge island, crosswalk striping, etc., will be chosen. Unlike the situation at 17th and Nebraska, here 17th is the boundary between Bush and Richmond Elementary, so serving Elementary kids on the way to school is not necessarily a primary goal at this crossing.

Will try to find out more next week...

About signal timing, most ped buttons in Salem don't actually interrupt the regular signal timing for cars, I think. A larger piece on the proportion of lights that do have an interrupt might be interesting...that'll go into the hopper! Thanks for the prompt.