Saturday, August 22, 2015

Closure on South River Road to Minto Park Prompts Full Multi-Modal Detour Scheme

First it was the Winter Street Bridge on Shelton Ditch, and now it's South River Road. Just by chance, road construction's really clogged the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway!

Maybe in a first, the City of Salem has identified a comprehensive detour scheme - one that doesn't ignore those who travel on foot or on bike!

Photo:  T. Patterson, Statesman Journal, 2011
From the City release:
River Road S Closure Closure
begins August 31 and may last until September 20

River Road S will be closed from Owens Street S to Minto Island Road beginning August 31 to allow improvements to the slope along a section of River Road S. The closure may last up to three weeks.

This section of River Road S has a history of rock slides, the most recent on December 16, 2014. The work involves removing trees and brush from the top of the slope, removing unstable and loose rock, and repairing the rock fall screening along the slope. The work is being completed to reduce the likelihood of additional large rock slides in the near future and to better maintain the site.

Vehicular traffic will be detour ed along a route that follows Commercial Street SE, Liberty Street S, Madrona Avenue SE, and Croisan Creek Road S. See attached map.

Pedestrian and bicyclists who need a way around the road closure to Minto Brown Park may take an alternate route across the railroad and along the Willamette slough. People taking this route need to be cautious in crossing the railroad tracks and need to be advised the alternate route consists of a gravel road to the park. See attached map.

If you have questions regarding this construction , please contact Ken Roley at 503-588-6211 or[italics and rock slide link added]
The new route has been used in a trespasserly way quite a bit - but it has been officially forbidden.

Bike and Walk detour in yellow
Now you won't have to sneak past the gate on the goat trail!

Route starts at Kearney and Fir
Maybe the route will work well enough that we can start to think about making it official and making some improvements, as it is a logical connection, sheltered from the ruckus and debris on River Road. Bike and Walk Salem, the formal update to the Transportation System Plan, identifies this route for a "shared use path" and rates it a "tier 2" priority. So it's in that middle zone between distant and mainly conceptual on the one hand, and a real project with funding or in search of funding on the other. The market will speak! Use will show demand or not.

But the route, as it is, is also a little isolated. More lighting and some pavement would be great if it ever were made permanent. It's not a route I would like to take by myself in the dark or in the rain.  So it might be useful to keep a Commercial-Hoyt-Mountain View-Hansen-Crestview-Shurman route by paved road (or even a more winding scenic route through the Candalaria neighborhood) in mind for those times.

The access road is also gravel, as the City points out, and may not work so well with narrow road tires. Another reason to consider the Mountain View-Hansen route.

Anyway, it's great the City is out in front of this and in the press release doesn't treat the traveling public as if they only traveled by car. 

Cars have a much longer and hillier route

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