Monday, June 11, 2018

New Stop Signs and Small Changes on Winter-Maple Greenway

Over at SBBA there's a very nice announcement from the City about new stop signs going in on the Winter-Maple Greenway:
By the end of June 2018, the City of Salem will finish the first phase of the Winter-Maple Neighborhood Greenway project to create a safe and convenient route for biking and walking between the Oregon State Capitol and Salem Parkway. This phase of the project will install stop signs at the following intersections:

D Street NE at Winter Street NE (all-way stop controlled)
Academy Street NE at Maple Avenue NE
Highland Avenue NE at Maple Avenue NE (all-way stop controlled)
Hickory Street NE at Maple Avenue NE
Spruce Street NE Maple Avenue NE
Tryon Avenue NE at Maple Avenue NE
Johnson Street NE at Maple Avenue NE

The Winter-Maple Neighborhood Greenway Project is the result of a year-long collaborative effort between the City of Salem, Oregon Department of Transportation, the Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization, and the Grant and Highland Neighborhood Associations. The new stop signs are the first step in creating a Neighborhood Greenway that improves safety, encourages a healthy lifestyle, and prioritizes bicycle and pedestrian travel. This phase of the project costs approximately $4,500 and will be paid for from the City’s general transportation maintenance budget as funded by the Oregon state gas tax.
Earlier in April they had said:
The Winter-Maple Plan was approved with the inclusion of:
- additional stop signs (to enhance safety and comfort for people on biking and walking)
- speed humps (as shown in the plan and near the OSD campus to provide self-enforcing speed control)
- a Neighborhood Greenway designation (so as to align with the national leaders in bike boulevards).
If you aren't in the neighborhood regularly and on the street, it's not always easy to envision the project. Let's look at the stop sign installation a little more closely. We'll go from south to north, mostly following the list. Some of the "additional stop signs" will become clear.

At D Street, Winter only is currently stopped
The new stop signs on D Street will also stop east-west cross traffic, which sometimes is difficult and zoomy for people going north or south on Winter Street. Maybe this will encourage through-traffic to use Market Street more.

At Academy, there are currently no stop signs
At Academy (which turns into Sunnyview) cross traffic will be stopped.

Drawing detail from the March 2018 Plan
showing stops on Academy
(as well as humps, which are not yet funded)
A second four-way stop will be added at Highland Street. Currently Maple only is stopped, and this will add a stop for cross traffic on Highland, which also can be busy and zoomy.

At Highland, Maple only is currently stopped
One block up, there is a T-intersection with Spruce. Traffic on Spruce will get a stop sign.

Spruce and Maple is currently uncontrolled (and near the RR)
Treatments at both Highland and Spruce vary from the drawings in the March Plan that went to Council, and we have not until now seen any listing of any changes that Council made. Here are some of them.

The drawings show no new stop on Spruce
But they also show the stops removed on Maple at Highland
It would be nice to prioritize north-south traffic at Highland by merely flipping the location of the stop signs rather than adding new stop signs. I suppose the stops on Maple are being retained for east-west travel to the school. The City should publish a list of the changes Council adopted and an explanation for each.

The stop at Spruce might be superfluous, perhaps better served by a yield. As we will see, it's not the only T-intersection that originally did not have stops indicated but now is getting them.

Hickory and Maple is currently uncontrolled
At Hickory cross traffic will be stopped.

In front of JGEMS and the Deaf School, Johnson and Tryon will be stopped at the T-intersections. These stops were also not in the drawings of March 2018 and were added.

Johnson and Maple is a T, and is uncontrolled currently

Tryon and Maple is also a T, and is uncontrolled

The March 2018 drawings show no stops here
One change at Locust Street does not appear to be included in the installation this month.

Stop signs on Locust are not on the list
Several other changes to stop signs on Winter and Cottage Streets in the Plan also do not appear to be included in this phase.

So here's an edited version of the list:
  • D Street NE at Winter Street NE (two-way to four-way)
  • Academy Street NE at Maple Avenue NE
  • Highland Avenue NE at Maple Avenue NE (two-way to four-way, Council changed)
  • Hickory Street NE at Maple Avenue NE
  • Spruce Street NE Maple Avenue NE (Council added)
  • Johnson Street NE at Maple Avenue NE (Council added)
  • Tryon Avenue NE at Maple Avenue NE (Council added)
The current project, then, is very partial and really focused on Maple Street, on the project's inward relation to the schools, and not on the full north-south corridor. All in all it is a small project, and it will not be difficult to change the location of stop signs, or change some to yield signs, or otherwise to refine the signage. So it is not important to be picky at the moment. The totality of these changes will be a benefit. But it is interesting to note the changes from the published drawings. Hopefully we are not asking stop signs to do too much of the work, calming that may ultimately depend more on the speed humps and any traffic divertors.

Until the enhanced crossing and median goes in on Pine Street, and until the speed humps go in, these stop signs by themselves may not make a very dramatic difference, then. So we should evaluate them rather tentatively and wait for a more complete build-out for judgement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From the city's summary on Monday night's meeting: "Council also allocated $50,000 from the Transportation Services Fund to add speed humps along the Winter-Maple Greenway."