Saturday, August 22, 2020

City Council, August 24th - Safe Routes to Schools Applications

Also on the Monday agenda for Council is a suite of applications for the next round of State Safe Routes to Schools funding.

Salem area Safe Routes to Schools project applications
In the 2017 transportation package, the State created a Safe Routes to School fund. $26.25 million is projected to be available for the 2021-2022 funding cycle. (It would not be at all surprising for the Pandemic to take a bite out of this, however.) The City has identified five projects they think will be competitive. They say
Candidate projects were screened against the grant award criteria. High priorities for this cycle of funding include: proximity to Title 1 schools (with higher priority given to schools with higher percent free/reduced lunch participants); safety risk factors; elementary and middle schools; and project readiness.
The five projects (see map above, links in bullets added) are:
  • Barnes Avenue SE: Construct sidewalk to fill gaps on the south side of Barnes Avenue SE between Andresen Street SE and Nightcap Street SE. Estimated project cost is $860,000; City would be requesting $688,000 and providing $172,000 in matching funds. Serves Pringle Elementary School.
  • Broadway Street NE @ Locust Avenue NE: Install median island in the north leg of the intersection to accommodate an improved pedestrian crosswalk and ADA ramps. Estimated project cost is $141,000; City would be requesting $112,800 and providing $28,200 in matching funds. Serves Highland Elementary School.
  • Macleay Road SE @ Caplinger Road SE: Install sidewalk on south side of Caplinger Road SE and west side of Macleay Road SE. Install median island with crosswalk on Macleay Road SE at Caplinger Road SE. Estimated project cost is $2.3 million; City would be requesting $1,840,000 and providing $460,000 in matching funds. Serves Mary Eyre Elementary School.
  • Pringle Road SE @ Hillendale Drive SE: Install pedestrian crossing with median island, ADA ramps, and street lighting on north side of Pringle Road SE at Hillendale Drive SE intersection. Construct sidewalk on Pringle Road SE from Morningside Court SE to Salishan Street SE. Estimated project cost is $485,000; City would be requesting $388,000 and providing $97,000 in matching funds. Serves Morningside Elementary School.
  • Sunnyview Road NE @ Hollywood Drive NE: Install median island in the east leg of the intersection to accommodate an improved pedestrian crosswalk, ADA ramps, and street lighting. Estimated project cost is $155,000; City would be requesting $124,000 and providing $31,000 in matching funds. Serves Swegle Elementary School.
Something that is not discussed in the Staff Report is any extent to which the School District's construction bond dovetails with any of these. Immediately at schools there are some street changes the District is funding, but they aren't of course responsible for the general street system. Still, we have read much more about parking lot expansion at McNary and South Salem, and very little about how the District might be thinking about Safe Routes to School for non-auto travel.

Consequently, these might be spot projects disconnected from any larger plan for reducing driving to schools.

Still, apart from that, they seem like valuable projects, and deserve support no matter what.

On the last round, Salem won funding on one of three applications. The demand for funding greatly exceeds the amount of funding, and so it is not realistic to think Salem will win on most of these. Two might be a reasonable expectation, unfortunately.

As a side note, it is perhaps interesting to think about our incoherence or tension on crosswalks and walking. In a FB post a couple weeks ago on crosswalks, one person who seemed to have been associated with ODOT at some point argued against them, saying they contributed too much to "frayed nerves" in drivers.

Are enhanced crosswalks deliberate traffic calming,
that have the counter-effect of "frayed nerves"?
(via FB a couple weeks ago)
Indeed, the City expressed a similar view on the proposed turn lane at Pine on Broadway.
The City appears to accept this theory of driver fragility
Yet, in that turn lane discussion the City also claimed enhanced crosswalks do not have a traffic calming function.

However! Enhanced crosswalks have
no traffic calming function
It will be very helpful when we can clearly say, "non-auto travel deserves priority" and start ending the indirect subsidies for our autoism.

A couple of other items of note.

A new sculpture at the corner of Winter and State
Sign code and the speech issues behind it are just so baffling. There's an information report on approvals for a new sculpture Willamette University wants to install at the corner of Winter and State. Why is is so complicated? Why does WU have to go before the Hearings Officer to install a sculpture on their own property? I get why a large flashing illuminated sign might need approvals, but a sculpture like this? This seems like a clear example of needless red tape. Should our sign code need to capture installations like this and force them through the regulatory filter? Maybe so, but on the surface this is sure a counter-intuitive requirement.

Council also affirmed the decision on the bus cut-outs and tree removal on Cottage Street at Grant School. (See previous notes here. The appeal did not appear strong from here, and Council did not seem to see it differently.)


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

(added streetview links to SR2S project bulleted descriptions)

Anonymous said...

The sculpture used to be in the SAIF courtyard! WU has a nice news post on the relocation.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Oh yeah. I hadn't made the connection. Here's a brief note on it, with photo, at SAIF and the magnificent Oak in the courtyard. Thanks for the link to the WU notice.