Monday, January 25, 2016

State: Safety Plan Open House, Advisory Committee Opening, Scenic Bikeway Changes

Entirely unrelated to tonight's Council report on walking crash deaths, but timely anyway, ODOT has released the online "Open House" (really slow to load, it seemed) for the Transportation Safety Action Plan we discussed earlier this month.

Here, at least, though it is buried fairly deep, there is a section on non-auto road users, more vulnerable people on foot and on bike.

Earlier in the presentation they showed speed as the number one contributing factor.

But addressing speed gets caught up in the notion of spot speed reductions rather than a system-wide reduction in speed, at least in urban areas. (It also may not give sufficient attention to the ways that road "design speed" and our engineering standards implicitly encourage said speeding, and in addition to posting lower speed limits, we need to design for lower speeds. There's a structural contradiction between our saying "don't speed" and our design and engineering which says, "if you speed, we will keep you from harm.")

More than this, the biggest harm reduction strategy is almost certainly to make it easy for people not to drive rather than trying on the edges of driving behavior to make driving more safe.

Until we are willing to define auto use as an inherently dangerous activity, we will continue to fiddle on the edges of things and not change things at the level of systems.

Anyway, check it out, and let them know safety for non-auto users is important.

OPBAC Needs new Youth Member

From the Department of Transportation release:

SALEM – The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is seeking to fill a recently vacated position that represents the youth community. The committee was first formed by Oregon Statute 366.112, a bill passed in the 1973 Oregon Legislature. In 1995, the Oregon Transportation Commission officially recognized the committee’s additional role in pedestrian issues, and the group became the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, or OBPAC.

The eight-member committee, appointed by the governor, acts as a liaison between the public and the Oregon Department of Transportation. It advises ODOT in the regulation of bicycle and pedestrian traffic and the establishment of bikeways and walkways. Members serve four-year terms, and the makeup of the group must include:
  • An employee of a unit of local government employed in land-use planning.
  • A representative of a recognized environmental group.
  • A person engaged in the business of selling or repairing bicycles.
  • A member designated by the Oregon Recreation Trails Advisory Council.
  • At least one member under the age of 21 at the time of appointment (the current vacancy).
  • Three members at large.
The committee meets up to six times per year, with several of those meetings in locations outside of the Salem area. Throughout the year, the committee gathers input from residents, officials and ODOT staff as it considers bicycle and pedestrian transportation-related issues. Travel expenses are reimbursed. Upcoming work items include implementation of the new Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Modal Plan, ConnectOregon VI grant application review, and input on the department’s new intermodal policies. Interest forms are available at:
Changes to Scenic Bikeway Program

Also, Parks and Recreation has announced some proposed changes to the Scenic Bikeway program:
Amends Recreation Trail Rules, Scenic Bikeway Designation  - ​OAR 736-009-0025, 736-009-0030

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission adopted OARs in 2009 that established a process for designating Scenic Bikeways in Oregon. Since that time a Scenic Bikeway Committee has been established and a program for rating and managing the bikeways has been developed. The proposed rule revisions will align the rule with current procedures, change committee membership to include more diverse representation, and clarify the Oregon Recreation Trails Advisory Council’s role in the designation process.

You can send your comments via e-mail at
It's hard to tell if these are benign or represent a diminishment of the program. If Scenic Bikeways are important to you, it may be worth a closer look.

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