The Mid-Willamette Valley Area Commission on Transportation, MWACT, meets on Thursday the 2nd, and they have a number of interesting items on the agenda.
Even though the membership of MWACT overlaps a lot with the membership of SKATS, the ACT is a creation of ODOT and State regulations, whereas SKATS is largely a creation of USDOT and Federal regulations. For non-specialists these expressions of the bureaucracy are largely opaque, duplicative, and Byzantine.
The ACT also represents a lot of rural area, the whole of Yamhill, Marion, and Polk counties, and often they are focused on highway matters or other roads distant from Salem. So we don't talk about them very often here.
But this month they have a lot of urban and non-auto matters of interest.
Alas, there is something profoundly remedial in the agenda items.
|Do we really have to keep doing this?|
The first agenda item is "Strategic Bike /Pedestrian Project Prioritizations for FY 24-27 STIP Update." Which might be great if it was really about "strategy" and "priority." But the presentation is padded with yet another instance of supplication, "why fund walking and biking."
Apparently, even with rising traffic fatalities and rising emissions from motorized vehicles, it is not a baseline or self-evident yet. That's the reality and it is dispiriting.
(In fact, outside of urban areas there are ways that walking and biking might be even more politicized now. See especially "How a trail in rural Oregon became a target of far-right extremism," a new take on the collapse of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, which had been on the agenda of MWACT several times in the past few years. Here in 2016 is some criticism of it, which reads a little differently now in light of the news on right-wing extremism. Maybe the composition of MWACT really does need this presentation and approach. At the same time, ODOT could more firmly support walking and biking, and make it clear they are in fact a baseline, not an enhancement or amenity.)
In the minutes from last meeting they talked about the scoring for walking and biking facilities on the "Active Transportation Needs Inventory," but they do not seem to have made any changes since last time. The curves on the downtown Pringle Parkway remain the worst - but scanning the list of projects in this meeting I didn't see anything to address it specifically.
|ODOT ATNI Evaluation Criteria and Prioritization|
And there are a lot of projects buried in the agenda. The second agenda item is a list of projects proposed for scoping before final funding decisions. Many of these are new proposals that have not, I think, hit City Council agenda.
|A bunch of new crosswalk improvements proposed|
The most exciting might be a new list of crosswalks for improvement and a couple for outright creation.