Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Bike Shops and the Pandemic on the Front Page, Other Bits

It was nice to wake up to a front page with a feature on bike shops and their adaptations for distancing and health.

Today's front page
(now online)
Maybe there will be a follow-up, but an important story that's just briefly mentioned in an aside is that there was a fire next to Santiam Bicycle, and they are closed temporarily.

Santiam news
From FB:
A fire started in the adjacent building that spread into the shop. The shop sustained substantial smoke damage. We are still temporarily closed....No one was in either building at the time of the fire!...Portions of the shop will need to be demolished and rebuilt. Our current goal is to be reopened in two months.
Best to call ahead for any repair, purchase, or other appointment needs:
  • Bike Peddler (503) 399-7741
  • Northwest Hub (503) 584-1052
  • Santiam Bicycle Temporarily closed (503) 363-6602
  • Scott's Cycle (503) 363-4516 

The Policy Committee for the MPO meets today by telephone, and there's nothing much to say on the agenda - nothing new, anyway.

The autoist commitment to ever higher traffic counts
In the minutes to March's meeting, there was brief nod to the Pandemic's suppression of traffic, worry that "collecting data at this time would produce unrealistic numbers."

In a separate item, there was a note about the Federal Department of Transportation and a formal "corrective action" on Congestion Management administration.

Corrective action on "alternative strategies"
and "reduction strategies"
The Pandemic, of course, is a forced laboratory for demand management and congestion relief. It is unwelcome and harmful, but while we have it, a more constructive attitude is to see if there are policies that can be adjusted and retained. There are elements in traffic counts at this time that should be regarded more positively, like the increase in telecommuting, for example.

The MPO is missing out here, and shows its bias for in favor of more driving.

A Commute Reduction Idea

via FB
On FB, there was an interesting note that 1000 Friends of Oregon is advocating for a wider adoption of the commuting program at OHSU.

That would be a great advance on the current state of employee commute and trip reduction programming. This is something to watch. And, of course, other employers, like the City of Salem for example, could model new programming after it and adopt it independently.


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

(Updated with link to SJ story, which wasn't online first thing this morning)

Anonymous said...

You write: "There are elements in traffic counts at this time that should be regarded more positively, like the increase in telecommuting, for example."

The increase in telecommuting cannot be determined by traffic counts. The decrease in traffic counts could be attributed to people losing their jobs. Or, it could be due to people just staying at home. Most likely the decrease in traffic volume is attributable to a combination of increased unemployment, increased telecommuting and people staying home. I'm not sure how you'd could distinguish the contribution from each of these without conducting a survey of a representative sample of the population.

It remains to be seen whether telecommuting is allowed or even encouraged by businesses and agencies in the future to the same degree as it is now. From the 2009-2010 Household Survey, only one in eight employers state-wide were reported as allowing telecommuting. But what that percentage will be at the next Household Survey* is anyone's guess.

Finally, telecommuting is one of the strategies that has been identified in the SKATS Congestion Management Process (CMP) and the long-range plan (RTSP). Cherriots Trip Options encourages its use when they do outreach to employers in the region.

Ray (who is telecommuting)

* The next Household Survey is tentatively scheduled for 2021. Subject to change.