It is not a simple story. A child had almost certainly chosen a poor route and time, and so the police and news narrative was about a kid out jogging and wearing black clothing on a dark and stormy night.
But no narrative energy (and likely no enforcement energy) was spent on the basic rule, ORS 811.100, which calls for "reasonable and prudent" speeds by drivers that vary with current conditions. Maybe there are no conditions on this stretch of Swegle where stopping distance is shorter than sight distance at 35mph. This looks like rural roadway engineered for catastrophic failure at the urban boundary, especially at night in the rain.
|Swegle Road just west of Cordon Road|
No sidewalks or shoulder, posted for 35mph
Why do we accept this?
We have a system failure in education, enforcement, engineering, and budgets.
It was unwise for a teenager to go jogging after dark on a road with no sidewalks or shoulder.
But no teenager deserves to die for that particular lack of wisdom and experience.
The greater truth is a system failure here, not just a tragic error in teenage judgement.
|City Staff propose three different possible sidewalk alignments|
This is a hopelessly car-dependent part of town right now.
Since cancelling the development is not a real option for the City of Salem, there is no reason at all to cave on the sidewalk. It's astonishing this is not an iron-clad baseline expectation!
Happily the City Staff Report recommends reversal and calls out three possible sidewalk alignments, saying that the developer can choose which one is best.
The Staff Report also notes that
The school district has commented that the bus stop, if needed, would be located on Cordon Road, which does not have sidewalks. The high traffic speeds on Cordon Road (45 MPH posted speed) and the lack of sidewalks is a real safety concern for staff and is why the original partition recommended a pedestrian path and is why we are recommending that the Council amend the Planning Commission decision and require the pedestrian path.In what messed-up world is this at all debatable?
Our world, that's what.
(For a couple of earlier notes on this see here and here.)
From Cordon Road we go to Portland Road....
|Mano a Mano: Portland Road is dangerous|
You may remember that there was some talk about redirecting Urban Renewal funds away from Portland Road, but that movement has at least somewhat been curbed, and the new scope looks to reaffirm a focus on Portland Road itself. The North Gateway Redevelopment Advisory Board has endorsed the proposed scope.
Additionally, in support of the scope, one person writes
My daughter and husband love to ride bikes downtown, but the only way down Portland Road goes through the underpass, which is filthy, wet and smells of pee. This splashes up on your bike tires. Walking through there is scary. SKCE [Salem Keizer Coalition for Equity] has families that walk clear from Pine Street with their children, under the railroad underpass, to access our community center resources. Many neighbors have voiced their fears for their families because they have no alternative transportation to walking or riding the unsafe and unsanitary walkways in the Portland Road Railroad Underpass. The only other way is to take a detour to Silverton Road, but that adds many blocks to the trip if walking. It is too narrow to have a safe bike lane, and the sidewalks are small and old and not safe for bike riders and pedestrians to share. Silverton Road is full of fast traffic all the time, with no middle lane. Many accidents occur on that road so I don't want my daughter riding her bike that way.And Mano a Mano Family Center echos this, saying
While northeast Salem has the highest percentage of people without easy access to a vehicle in the city, the pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure along Portland Road is insufficient and at times dangerous.This is important.
(For previous notes on the Portland Road Plan see here.)
A couple of other items:
- There's an update on the Middle Commercial TGM study, now called the "Commercial Vista Corridor Plan." At least publicly, it's still in bit of a holding pattern, hopefully to kick off publicly next month, so there's nothing new here to say.
- The Boards and Commissions Appointment Committee also recommends postponing a new Sustainability Commission. Since there's tons of "sustainability" policy language that we are not currently following or enforcing, or are doing so only in the most cursory and weak ways, it seems like a better path would be just to do what our policies say we are going to or should do.
Not at all on the Council agenda, tonight, Friday the 14th, the Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Civic Center and Police Station meets, and the minutes from the last meeting are interesting. (Why the City didn't go down this route with fully open meetings from 2009-2011 is a mystery.) There's not a whole lot new to say here, but a couple of observations from today's meeting packet:
- One person says, "Don’t repeat the Kroc Center experience of locating a facility away from the primary user group."
- About the Eugene Facility: "Frequently cited: “would rather have had it this way” on tour; lots of clumsy space, wasted space (interior design could be managed much better); layout did not consider adjacencies or workflow." and "Inefficiency associated with being separated from other functions, scattered around town; no savings with consolidating operations." There seem to be a lot of ways the new Eugene Police Station is far from "perfect."