Thursday, May 28, 2020

SCAN Working on Bikeway Between Bush Park and Clark Creek Park

For a few months, even years, now SCAN has been talking about improved bikeways in the area around Bush Park and South Salem High School. They have intensified analysis of a southward extension of the Winter-Maple Greenway from Bush Park where it exits at Yew Street and Leffelle.

South of Rural Ave to Clark Creek Park
Existing signage stops at Rural Street, and they are looking to continue things to Clark Creek Park.

A request from SCAN:
The SCAN Transportation Committee has been considering a family friendly bike route that connects Bush’s Pasture Park with Clark Creek Park on Vista Avenue, SCAN’s southern boundary. The route is listed as a high priority “tier 1” project in the Salem Transportation System Plan....

We are looking for comments about the route before we go thru the process of requesting that the City designate and sign this potential family friendly bike route.

The route is partially signed. It leaves Bush’s Pasture Park on Yew Street. The route goes along Yew, jogs over to Berry Street, travels down Berry to Electric Street.

The signage for this bike route ends at Berry and Electric. The route would travel west on Electric to Summer Street, then travels south on Summer to Fairview Avenue.

There are two possible ways from the intersection of Summer and Fairview to Clark Creek Park. There are pros and cons to each alternative.

Alternative one is to turn right (west) on Fairview, riding to Winter Street, then south on Winter to the intersection with Vista, and then left for a short ride to the entrance of Clark Creek Park. Alternative two is to turn left (east) on Fairview, riding to Summer Street, then south on Summer, and then right onto Vista for the ride to the entrance of Clark Creek Park...
One question is how to connect to Clark Creek Park
Though Hoyt and Summer got no special attention from the original study, nearly a decade ago, I have found it's actually a little tricky. There are always gaps in traffic, so it's not exactly difficult. But on Hoyt speed and attention are problems. People speed down the hill, speed up the hill, and in both directions are disinclined to yield to people on foot seeking to cross. They don't have to yield to people on bike, of course, but drivers should be encouraged to slow down and exercise caution here. That intersection might benefit from a little extra attention. SCAN is aware of this.

Making left turns onto or from Fairview and Vista are also sometimes difficult. While signing would be useful, these streets will likely need greater interventions to attain a full "family-friendly" standard for comfort and safety.

As to the specific question about Clark Creek Park, When the route was mapped for Bike and Walk Salem, the culvert/bridge over Clark Creek on Summer Street was pretty rustic and narrow, and that alone might be a reason to have preferred avoiding it. Now there's a new and wider culvert/bridge and that doesn't apply.

But there are other reasons a Summer Street connection was not employed and the Cottage Street connection might have been preferred. The lower entry to Clark Creek Park, between Winter and Summer, is a little isolated, especially since the house was demolished next to it. In the park, there's a berm that is part of a flood water detention basin, and that reduces eyes and ears on the area. Personally, even with the steeper hill I often prefer entering and exiting the north edge of Clark Creek Park at Cottage Street. The Cottage Street alignment through Clark Creek Park has better visibility and lighting, and the City already installed a flashing light at the unmarked crosswalk. The straight crossing on Vista at Cottage is also a little easier as a kind of four-cornered intersection, also with better visibility. Exiting/Entering the park at the lower entry for Summer/Winter requires jogs and offers less visibility for everybody, driver, biker, or walker.

If you are thinking only about hills, Winter or Summer might seem preferable to Cottage Street for the connection to Clark Creek Park. But if you consider turning movements, traffic, and visibility on park paths, Cottage Street might be preferable even with the greater hill climbing.

This is not necessarily obvious, and there are trade-offs.

Farther north, they advocate changing signs to use Howard Street instead of Wilbur. That makes sense since Howard connects to the school, and Wilbur to nothing. Wilbur had been used since Cross Street is tricky, but Howard now makes even more sense than Wilbur.

Do you have any opinions on the proposed bikeway between Bush and Clark Creek Parks (in red on the upper map)?

No comments: