Monday, June 10, 2019

Vetting for the 2021 - 2026 Cycle Continues at the MPO

The Technical Advisory Committee for our Metropolitan Planning Organization meets tomorrow the 11th, and they have a light agenda. On it is a preliminary ranking of the pre-application list of projects tentatively submitted for funding in the 2021-2026 cycle.

Preliminary rankings (some columns omitted)
Tied for first is realigning the intersection at McGilchrist and 22nd. The whole corridor from 12th to 25th has been a TIGER and then BUILD application; it has not been successful in winning funding, and it's not clear that it's a strong candidate for the programs as the Feds have defined them. So the City wants to move ahead in a piece-meal fashion.

The April pre-app sheet on McGilchrist and 22nd
It's billed as a "complete street/intersection" project.  It is in a way, but by picking a street segment in the middle, rather than starting from an end, it's an isolated fragment, an island, and in that sense it's not at all "complete." Even with sidewalks and crosswalks and bike lanes, until it's connected to other segments, there's nothing "complete" about it. It still remains non-functional for people on bus, on foot, and on bike. (Update - See comments and addendum for discussion of 22nd as north-south route.)

Moreover, the offset intersection may also have a traffic calming function, and by aligning the intersection, it may create more zoomy streets.

As a "complete streets" project, then, this is a little bit non-sensical and something of a Potemkin performance.

The fourth ranked project is a grotesque widening scheme.

Take Center Street to five lanes

Overall, there's no real sense of a consistent set of values here. Mostly it's political expedience.

At some point we have to start prioritizing non-auto moblity.

We have a decade to make changes to our carbon pollution, and stacking up road widening projects for the next decade doesn't help us.

When will the MPO grapple with this?
via NOAA - new and "improved" at 415ppm!!!
Full applications are due June 28th, and there will be more to say about them later. (More notes on the pre-apps here.)

You can download the agenda and meeting packet here.

Because of construction at MPO-HQ, the TAC will meet in Courthouse Square, the Senator Hearing Room, 555 Court St NE. They meet Tuesday the 11th at 1:30pm.


Here's the McGilchrist area from the Bicycle chapter of the Transportation System Plan.

22nd is not conceived as a continuous route
Currently the section of 22nd south of McGilchrist is designated for a bike route, but then it jogs over to 23rd north of McGilchrist. In our currently adopted plan, then, realigning the intersection of 22nd & McGilchrist isn't a goal for walking and biking.

As Rich suggests below, 22nd could be a north-south route, especially if you are comfortable with some amount of heavy truck traffic, but it would not be a route for kids. The realignment will also speed up some of that north-south truck traffic and induce more through-trips.

So it's a real mixed bag, and I'm not sure it's a reason to say the intersection alignment would be a strong multi-modal benefit. The benefit would be weaker, and would accrue mainly to adult, confident cyclists.


Rich T said...

Although the 22nd and McGilchrist project may not be a "complete" project, it can be very benefical for bikers as an alternative to Pringle. I often bike from near downtown out to the Fairview Industrial park area and in the evenings and weekends, 22nd St. has little traffic and you can go from Madrona to Misson St. where there is a light to get you into the Mill Race area and further north. The only tricky part is crossing McGilcrist. With all the new residential development in the Fairview neighborhood and a new park going in, 22nd Street could turn out to be a viable alternative for getting into that area.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Ok. That's a good use for 22nd. Maybe it has more value as a north-south connection, a parallel alternative to both Pringle and 25th, then. Thanks for the info!

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Added a clip from the Bicycle chapter of the TSP. 22nd is not currently planned as a consistent route through the area.

Rich T said...

I agree that it's not as useful a route during working hours. We use it mostly in the evenings and weekends when there is very little traffic. It will be interesting to see if that changes any when the intersection is aligned. I actually discovered the route because I used to work in the Fairview Industrial Park and I used it to bike home from work, and even with workday traffic I preferred it to Pringle, but it can definitely get more congested if it becomes an easier route for truck traffic.