Thursday, May 29, 2014

Yesterday's Crash on Highway 22 Reminder of Inefficient Capacity Allocation; Other Bits

Yesterday's morning crash on Highway 22 should remind us of the terribly inefficient way we've allocated road capacity.  While eastbound traffic into town was backed up, the westbound lanes were empty.

Aerial from yesterday's crash-induced traffic backup
The Union Street Railroad bridge was also free-flowing for people on foot or on bike.

We have tons of slack in off-peak excess capacity!

Much less expensive than building a giant bridge and highway in order to accommodate catastrophe or crash, we should reinforce the bridges against the "big one" Cascadian Subduction Zone earthquake, and rejigger the ramps and lanes so that one bridge can handle two-way auto traffic when the other is blocked. Let's use that excess capacity. Flex lanes! (Here's an example in Utah.)

We have plenty of capacity.  We just use it in one of the most inefficient ways possible!

(This is at least a little similar, I think, to the "brown alternative" that was ruled out early in the evaluation process, circa 2007. Unfortunately, traces of it have pretty much been scrubbed from the SRC website, and I have not been able to find pictures of it. It would be very interesting to revisit that alternative in a serious way now.

(As for the crash, from the paper:
A five-vehicle traffic crash caused by a wrong-way driver threw a wrench into the Wednesday morning commutes of Polk County residents....The wrong-way driver... was cited for driving while suspended and reckless driving...)
Other Bits

At the Capitol there are new(ish) bike racks.

You may recall back in 2009 the Department of Administrative Services started working on an upgrade, replacing the old "wheel bender" racks.

Here are the fruits: They are very functional, high-quality racks!

New Racks at the Capitol
Nicely done, thanks to the Department of Administrative Services.

Also. Interesting piece on subdivisions in the paper today yesterday.

It seemed to be framed up mostly as an overview, pointing out that things are picking up after the Great Recession, but still paling in comparison to activity in other decades.

It would be great to see more analysis - tied perhaps to the EOA-HNA, which is briefly mentioned towards the end of the piece.  Most of the dots on the map are on the edges of the city - where the undeveloped tracts of land are.  What are the walkscores for each one? How well does transit serve them?  It would also be interesting to talk more about the costs of infrastructure to service those areas.

What's the cost in city infrastructure (roads, water, sewer, etc) to service Fairview or the State Hospital vs old orchard land on the perimeter?

And how about those dots in West Salem? That's why we're talking about a Third Bridge.

The significance of the subdivision sites isn't just in their number.  It's in their location.

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