|Lots of gravel and debris in the bike lane|
on Front Street between State and Commercial
Well, he's not wrong. At that moment the bike lane had a broad distribution of gravel in it. Cars were the usual zoomy presence. The dual turn lanes southbound onto Commercial enforce a right-turn only for bikes, and it's practically impossible to continue east on Trade Street.
The bike lane is neither comfortable nor very useful. It is more ornamental.
It is, in fact, the kind of line on a map, and paint on the street, that lets the City of Salem say things like "Did you know? Salem has 120 miles of bike lanes."
Counting up the length of bike lane, some of it functional and effective, some merely ornamental like this one, is not a good metric for biking.
|We are failing badly on walking and biking|
(final June Our Salem indicators)
But the City seems to think that what we have is a PR and education problem, not a structural problem. Either the Citizens are ungrateful or they are ignorant, and either way don't recognize the wonderful extent of our magnificent bike lanes.
This wildly misunderstands the nature of the problem. Counting the miles of bike lane is only a partial metric. The more important one is, "how many people use them?" On this measure we fail badly. That's the key. Even a big man with all the gear was foiled by the Front Street bike lanes!
And even if there were an education and PR problem, the City's approach in the tweet would be the wrong one.
We shouldn't be targeting athletic men in full bicycle kits with all the gear.
|NACTO Designing for All Ages and Abilities|
The City's webpage to which the tweet links has a better picture of a family biking, although it looks more like stock photography than an image of any Salem scene, but the page is also Panglossian:
walking and bicycling in Salem has never been easier, or safer.Based on the number of people actually biking and the number of deaths from traffic violence, this is at the very least debatable, and may even be false.
|Lukewarm participation at the City of Salem (Mid-May 2019)|
Altogether, it does not yet look like the City is very serious, with too much attention on mere image, and not enough on the actual work to make real improvements and real change.