Friday, June 5, 2015

Bridge Closure on Winter St at Shelton Ditch - Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway

Wednesday the City announced details on the bridge closure, replacement, and detour on Winter Street at Shelton Ditch. (Update January 2016 - the bridge is open again!)

Winter St Bridge Closure and Detour at Shelton Ditch
Sections especially difficult for people on bike in yellow
(map from City of Salem)
The first thing that you might notice is that bike traffic, both internal to Salem and external on the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, isn't accommodated very well. People on foot aren't well accommodated either. The detour plan is totally about cars and car logic.

In the plan, the south-bound leg on Mission Street totally lacks bike lanes, and the left-hand turn on the north-bound section from the parkway back onto Winter Street is perilous and really requires a jug-handle turn. (The north-bound leg on Mission can totally be avoided by moving through Bush Park and using the crosswalk at Church Street.)

A better plan for bikes would be to use Church Street north-bound all the way to Chemeketa, where after a right-hand turn people can rejoin Winter Street. The south-bound plan is not obvious: Church Street is one-way north-bound at the Parkway and if you go to High Street, then getting back to the route in Bush Park requires lots of meanders. Maybe instead you use 12th street all the way to Cross Street. (I don't see a clear set of low-traffic segments - do you?)

(A query into the City about a bike-specific detour plan hasn't elicited a response yet, but when one comes this post will be updated.)

Here are the rest of the details from the City.
Winter Street SE will be closed to all traffic between Bellevue Street SE (State Highway 22) and the northerly parking lot at Salem Hospital from June 8, 2015, to November 30, 2015, for a bridge replacement project. A detour route will direct southbound motorists to 12th Street SE, and northbound motorists to Church Street SE [map above].

This project will replace the existing bridge that was constructed in 1928 and has structural deficiencies. The project is funded with a combination of Federal Highway Administration funds and savings from the Keep Salem Moving! Streets and Bridges Bond, passed by Salem voters in November 2008.
Update, Saturday

There is a suggestion that the detour might use the path and footbridge to the west of the street bridge.

Probably the best detour for people on foot
This is a great idea for people on foot and works well. But the path, particularly on the north side, has one blind corner and isn't very wide, and is not well suited for people on bike. To use it requires slow speed and extra caution.

If this is formally signed, the post will be updated again.

Update 2

The signed bike detour avoids that blind corner and uses a slightly longer route with better sight lines.

The bike detour arrows are different!
Rather than using the footbridge, the detour uses Bellvue and Church Streets. The bike signs sometimes come after the auto detour signs, and they may point in a different direction. So that's something to attend to. Southbound on Winter, for example, the first and larger detour sign points east/left, and you might merge into the left-turn pocket to make the left-hand turn. But then on the south side of the intersection is a smaller sign pointing right/west onto the sidewalk and path connection to Bellvue, so you have to know to stay in the bike lane.