Thursday, October 6, 2022

Comment on Projects for the 2023 Long Range Plan at the MPO

Yesterday the MPO sent out notice that they have opened a social-media style map for comments on projects being considered for inclusion in the long-range plan.

Click those hearts for projects you support
(SKATS 2023-2050 MTP comment map)

They said:

The Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study (SKATS) is updating its long-range plan. The Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) addresses regional mobility, safety, maintenance, and improvements for all modes of travel through the year 2050. It will include a list of anticipated future projects.

There are 263 projects under consideration. Not all projects will be included into the financially constrained long-range plan. The Policy Committee will review the draft project list at their November 22, 2022 meeting, based in part on scoring and public input. Public input via the map is open until November 15, 2022.

You can see the preliminary score of each project when you click on it (from a range of 0 to 17, higher is better).

Previous maps with a few tens of project have seemed like good ways to solicit comment. But this map is simply overwhelming. You have to scroll a long ways down to hit them all. It might be better to break up projects into clusters somehow. Are these all new projects since the 2019 RTSP (which the MTP replaces)? If not, maybe the old projects carried forward should be separate from projects brand new since 2019.

The Center Street Bridge is automatic, right?

For example, at the MWACT meeting this week ODOT gave an update on the Center Street Bridge project. There are zero circumstances under which that would not be included in the 2023 MTP! So why is the MPO gathering comment on it? Committed and funded projects just clutter up the map and list. (Also, why does it score only a 7? How can a seismic retrofit across the river merit such a low score? It's an essential project. The low score doesn't inspire confidence in the scoring generally.)

Why is a 2007 project in the 2023 MTP?

The significance of green, yellow-brown, and brown is also not obvious. And what's up with some of the dates? Why is this candidate project on Portland road given a 2007 date?

In order for this map to be most fully useful to the public, it may need a further round or two of refinement.

There may be more to say later.


Here is a clip from that October TAC packet with the evaluations for the Portland Road and Center Street seismic projects

Excerpted from the October TAC packet

Apparently the Portland Road project is not yet funded or completed ("included" projects aren't funded). But if that is the case, a 2007 date on it is very misleading and nonsensical.

Again, regarding the Center Street seismic project, "committed" projects should just be eliminated from the map. It is not necessary to collect further comment on them.

As for the scoring, the Center Street seismic isn't really a capacity project to "address a bottleneck." The "safety" category is inadequate to capture the significance of the seismic retrofit and the impacts of the Cascadia Subduction Zone quake. In this way it might deserve to be exempt from the scoring rubric.

We'll fold some of this into the discussion of the Tuesday TAC meeting and revisit the map then with more detail from the evaluations in the TAC packet.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments, we'll look into whether the software allows any sorting and adding the legend.

One way to reduce the amount shown is to go to an area of interest (e.g., downtown Salem) and click on the "Filter List by Map" which will list only those projects that are shown on the map.

Scores are based on the methodology discussed at the September 2022 SKATS Policy Committee meeting. See also the materials provided to the SKATS TAC for their October 2022 meeting (both available on the MWVCOG website at:


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks! Was already looking at the TAC packet and added a clip and comment.

Jim Scheppke said...

Why can you only "heart" a project and not give it a "thumbs down"? There are many that need a thumbs down if we are serious about the Climate Emergency.