Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Crosswalk on Commercial at Royvonne Nears Finish and Woodmansee Project Kicks Off

The new enhanced crosswalk on south Commercial at Royvonne is nearing completion.

With the flashers installed and shrouded, not quite open;
but still signed for 40mph, July 29th
via Placemakers
But on a road that is still signed for 40mph and has a design speed that is yet significantly higher, there remains a fundamental structural mismatch between the expectation that drivers will yield to people on foot and all the other road cues to drivers. Additionally, a driver proceeding at the lawful rate of speed is still nearly certain to kill a person on foot. Any human moment of inattention, not merely gross negligence, but ordinary inattention by driver or by walker, will punish the person on foot with near certain death. A basic asymmetry persists.

The refuge island and crosswalk striping, July 12th
Until we are willing to make further changes to the road that slow the cars, there are limits to the effectiveness of enhanced crosswalks.

This intersection is not far from Woodmansee Park.

It is, apparently, the focus for the expanded Safe Routes to School program, now working on Safe Routes to Parks. The expanded focus makes sense and will be interesting to watch. They are partnering with a local, faith-based organization.

Past event, via Facebook
A couple of weekends ago they held a work party at Woodmansee Park. As advertised the work seemed to concentrate on internal paths and access off the road system. There is a forested disc golf course, for example, which could be intimidating without many eyes and ears on it.

The disc golf course has a path from Idylwood,
but it's also a little isolated (2013)
There are other path connections to dead end streets and to the school yard. There may be unwanted campers hiding in the bushes.

As far as traffic goes, the park is bounded by a school yard and back yards mainly. There is only one small frontage on a busy street. Many of the connections are from dead-end streets or other low-traffic sidewalks.

On the one busy street, on Sunnyside, there is already an older enhanced crosswalk and center refuge island.

Two refuge islands and crosswalk
at the entry to Woodmansee Park on Sunnyside
So it will also be interesting to learn if the Woodmansee project also extends outward to any street connections and what any "safer routes" to the park might look like.

(This New Yorker headline is high mileage)
It may be that making changes to Salem streets is so difficult, our autoism so entrenched, that Safe Routes has adopted a different focus, away from the street and towards internal connections.

Still, one block over on Commercial Street, there is the formidable barrier of that 40mph stroad and traffic sewer. At least until the future Hilfiker park is built (and perhaps also the future Fairview park), Woodmansee Park also serves the neighborhood east of Trader Joe's and Goodwill, and north of Keubler. Residents must cross Commercial to reach it, and taming Commercial could reasonably be part of the project for Woodmansee Park.

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