|The ramp spiral under the Center Street Bridge|
But the camp's been around for a while, and under the canopy of the bridge deck the area's always been attractive for camping.
|The camp in early December 2017|
I'm not sure this criticism is offered in good faith. (Have they ever criticized any other blockage by cars of bike lanes or other problems with sidewalks and walking paths? It seems more likely that the blockage is merely a stick for beating on the campers. It's not important, however, to speculate more on the motives of this particular person or their criticism.)
It's certainly true that the camp effectively blocks a path, that there is a no trespassing sign right there, and that the City is apparently not enforcing it. This is a minor, but real problem.
|The Center (bottom) and Union St Bridges on the bike map|
(The purple weighs them equally, but one is much better!)
|Back in 2012 there were campers and garbage on the west side, too|
- Bridges create pockets like this that offer shelter, but also harbor unwanted, even criminal activity. (The archetype of a troll is not merely fiction.) When we advocate for things like the Salem River Crossing, we are advocating to create more problematic spaces like these. Ramp spaghetti is bad.
- We should be working on system solutions for those who lack housing, and be less hasty to criminalize or seek to sweep away those who find the gaps and seams where they can find shelter.
- Those who are truly worried about connectivity for people who walk and bike should express support for slowing the cars and building better bike lanes and sidewalks. Even just at the level of clicks and views, it would be great if the City's own videos about the new light at Union Street on Commercial and about Open Streets events got more than 2.7K and 1.6K views, 1% or 2% of the audience for this video (and that proportion is getting smaller). Don't drag walking and biking into some other agenda if you don't actually support walking and biking more generally.
- Low levels of appropriately slowed car traffic are useful. When we shunt walking and biking all to path systems far away from car traffic, there are fewer eyes and ears on the transportation network. The lack of eyes and ears lets minor crime and unpleasantness flourish. Zoomy cars, and our over-reliance on them are troublesome, but for people on foot and on bike car traffic has a useful place in the total transportation ecosystem.
- While this particular camp is suddenly visible, there has been frequent camping on both sides of the bridge. There is a nice purple line for a separated path on our bike maps (see above!), but few people other than confident, adult men would use this path after dark. Many people would say this path system is not very safe. Parents wouldn't send their kids on it, few solitary women would use it. It should not count, therefore, as an effective, all-ages connection. (Personally, I loathe this path.) We need to connect the lines on our maps with actual, ground-level observation. Our theoretical network needs empirical verification, and too frequently there's a mismatch.
|The path does not meet an all ages standard|
NACTO "Designing for all Ages and Abilities"