Splendid Cycles Big Sale

Salem business owners work to stop bike lane project

Posted by on July 13th, 2009 at 11:07 am

Commercial Street in Salem.
(Image: Google Streetview)

A plan to restripe Commercial Street in downtown Salem has been met with opposition by some business owners.

Eric Lundgren, a bike advocate who manages a Salem bike blog and is a member of the Mid-Willamette Valley chapter of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, reports that at least one business owner has already started circulating a petition against the plan.

“Reducing a lane of traffic will increase congestion, making downtown less palatable for shoppers coming and going.”
— From a petition opposing the project

“Most of the claims [in the petition] about the plan are unfounded,” Lundgren reports, “but a number of businesses have signed on nonetheless.”

Currently, Commercial is a four-lane, one-way street with angled parking. According to project plans, the street is set for resurfacing and the city wants to re-configure the road to include a 7-foot wide bike lane on the right and shared-lane markings (a.k.a. sharrows) on the left.

Lundgren writes that, “The right-most lane is little used, and traffic volume projections indicate no loss of capacity by swapping the right most lane for a bike lane.”

The proposed new road configuration.

Lundgren obtained a copy of the petition in opposition to the project. Here are the four main objections stated in the petition (emphasis mine), followed by excerpts from Lundgren’s rebuttals:
Petition:

1) The congestion on Commercial Street combined with the lack of visibility backing out of parking spaces makes the addition of a bike lane fundamentally unsafe.

Lundgren:

…Over 40,000 people a year die in automobile accidents, but we don’t use this as a reason to tell people not to drive….

More worrisome is the way the safety argument can be used to place the burden on the bicyclist who “chooses” to bicycle (or the pedestrian who chooses to walk) in an ostensibly dangerous environment… the burden to act with care rests on all road users, not merely bicyclists.

Petition:

2) Turning around the sagging economy is a priority for us all. Reducing a lane of traffic will increase congestion making downtown less palatable for shoppers coming and going. To create a vibrant downtown shopping district we need to look at ways to reduce congestion, not increase it

Lundgren:

…Bicycling reduces congestion. Encouraging more people to bike will relieve congestion downtown, not increase it. City traffic engineers have shown that the loss of a lane will not impact traffic volumes, and increases in bicycling will reduce auto traffic further…

Petition:

3) A bike lane already exists one block away on Front Street. A new bike lane on a safer, less congested street further away from the existing bike lane may be a better choice.

Lundgren:

The Front Street bypass bike lane is just that: a bypass for through traffic. It does not help with getting around downtown…

Petition:

4) Slanted parking downtown is the best way to accommodate the most vehicles in a given section of street. We want to keep the slanted parking along Commercial Street unchanged so we have as much parking for our customers as possible.

Lundgren:

Angle parking remains unchanged.

The Salem City Council is set to vote on the bike lane project on Monday, July 27th. If you live in Salem, consider showing up and sharing your opinion with Council members.

We expect a statement from a BTA staff person soon. We will update the story as soon as that information comes in.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Val
Guest
Val

I’m not sure what it would take to get this publicised in a way that the merhcants involved will see it, but here’s the research that’s needed: http://tinyurl.com/lqdc9x
Encouraging cyclists will provide economic stimulus for the district, and will even increase traffic, if one measures traffic as individual people, rather than as cars.

RyNO Dan
Guest
RyNO Dan

Urban streets more than two car-lanes wide should be banned. No more three-lane streets !!

Allan
Guest
Allan

i wouldn’t be super-excited to bike next to angle-parked cars. it seems like drivers are less likely to see you as they back out. any thoughts?

Zaphod
Guest

I agree with Allan #3.

I’d prefer big fat sharrows in the left lane or a left lane bike lane. Of course, I don’t have enough information to engineer something but on the surface, that’s my intuition.

hanmade
Guest
hanmade

Biking behing angled parked cars is scary. Why don’t they put the bike lane in front of the parked cars? It would be safer for everybody.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

That road is scary enough driving a car with the angled parking. I ride that road on my bike, but I ride in the middle of the lane. They need to get rid of the angled parking for this to work.

ScottG
Guest
ScottG

I hate to admit it, but I do tend to agree that putting the bike lane behind angle-parked cars seems like asking for trouble. I’ve also never seen a configuration like that before, so I’d recommend looking at previous examples where it was done and see what the outcome of that was.

RonC
Guest
RonC

hanmade, I had the same thought about putting the bike lane in front of the cars. Would probably require a lot more work than re-striping though. I ride through Multnomah Village often, and watching for cars pulling out of their angled parking spots is an issue. But riding next to cars parallel parked has it’s own ‘dooring’ subset of issues. Both require rider and driver to be attentive, but usually you have a bit more time to react to a car backing out than a door swinging open into your path.

Matt Picio
Guest

I agree as well – angle parking should be banned to begin with. It doesn’t add many parking spaces and it ensures that any oncoming traffic, regardless of type, is directly in the driver’s blind spot.

Reducing the road width by one lane will make it easier for “wrong-side” drivers to cross traffic to get to the individual businesses, though, so I’m not sure why this is such a big deal to the businesses involved – sounds like the local community is believing the anti-bike and pro-growth hype.

Ethan
Guest

Fools, our own downtown businesses were late to the party . . . when it’s obvious to a 12-year old that bicyclists add value, then they will support bike infrastructure.

Atlanta rider
Guest
Atlanta rider

That’s a scary looking right lane in the pic. I don’t see how painting a bike lane stripe there would be helpful. Zaphod’s idea in #4 makes sense.

Roger Geller
Guest
Roger Geller

Make the parking back-in angled parking. It keeps maximum space for parking (making the merchants happy) and creates much safer conditions for motorists backing out of the spaces, and for all vehicles in the roadway–including cyclists. It’s also much less stressful for the person backing out their parked car. The parking maneuver is no more difficult than parallel parking.

Seattle uses back-in angle parking exclusively when they use angled parking and Portland is heading in that direction because of the obvious safety benefits.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

RE: back-in, angled parking.

Vancouver, WA also does this… it was implemented/researched/pushed by former planner Todd Boulanger… perhaps he’ll chime in with a comment about it himself.

Hart
Guest
Hart

Stupid business owners. Somebody tell them they’re fools for throwing away the money they could be making from improved cycling facilities. They’re gonna be begging for tearing out parking spaces in favor of bike corrals soon enough.

Todd
Guest
Todd

I could be wrong, but most streets in downtown Portland are 2 or 3 lanes. Salem will become congested if they don’t have 4 lanes? Seriously?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Back-in parking might be o.k. for a hybrid in electric mode, but isn’t so great if you’re talking about internal combustion motors. The amount of noxious fumes and heat of exhaust dumped towards sidewalk and adjoining buildings is more than it is with parallel parking. Makes life miserable for pedestrians, sidewalk cafe patrons, businesses… .

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

It seems some,but I bet not all business owners in the core business district would be happy to not have customers in the business district. They only get in the way. The rest of the business conmunity no doubt would welcome cyclists and peds who help create a buzz and atmosphere that is conducive to encourage people to come downtown, even in the evenigns,to go to movies, visit resturants and coffee houses, use the amenities of a vibrant downtown.

Portland used to have a downtown that emptied out at 5PM weekdays. A concerted effort by the City and the business district over decades has made downtown Portland successful. Amenities,such as the transit mall,pioneer square,bike and pedestrian improvements,and events such as saturday and farmers markets combine to encourage residents to come down, enjoy their city and support local businesses. Yes, sometimes there are conflicts and chaos. Sometimes tensions arise between competing interests. Yet overall, downtown Portland is much more a destination than before the improvments were made.

Businesses are unique. To lump a movie theater operator with an office supply store ignores their differences. That office supply store needs parking because many of his customers arrive by car. A theater or resturant might support imroved bike/ped access because they know their customers will stay longer and spread more money in their business district.

It sounds like somehown, that message hasn’t gotten through to everyone.

DVG from Salem
Guest
DVG from Salem

I own a building on Commercial Street and my office is the on the second floor of that building (my window looks out on Commercial Street). I’ve been in this office for 27 years.Commercial Street is highly congested during ‘rush hours’ because it brings so much traffic from the north and from West Salem through to non-downtown destinations. If downtown had its way, that traffic would be routed elsewhere, but that’s just not in the cards.I’d like to see more bike access downtown but putting one on Commercial Street is really a bad idea and bad for downtown. In terms of the facts, the right lane is not just a little used when traffic is heavy (although it is less used during slow traffic times because the other lanes have more room), and there would indeed be a loss of capacity if this street were reduced to three lanes of vehicle traffic. Saying otherwise doesn’t make it so.Finally, I would suggest that the reason a bike lane is proposed for Commercial is because Commercial will be the first of the north-or-south street to be restriped and some want to take the earliest opportunity available to increase bike accessibility. We’re other streets to be restriped at the same time (say, High Street, for example), no one would be proposing this on on Commercial Street.I understand bike advocates wanting to advocate for bike access. Bike advocates should also understand downtown businesses advocating against actions that will jam traffic on an already very busy street through downtown Salem that will hurt their businesses and not significantly help bike traffic (the Front Street access, one block west, is not merely a bypass for through street — in fact, the proposed Commercial Street lane would be more of a bypass because it is in the right-most lane and access to downtown would require that bikers get over to the left-most lane, which is another nightmare scenario).

Hart
Guest
Hart

DVG from Salem, what you don’t understand i that putting in bike lanes REDUCES car congestion by offering people a lane to safely ride a bike, instead of a car. Everywhere in Portland you have a bike lane, car congestion drops within a few months.

Hart
Guest
Hart

Not to mention the economic boom that businesses along bike routes and light rail lines experience, not to mention the increased air quality consumers will enjoy while shopping at such businesses. You’re concerned about people driving by who aren’t even stopping to shop when you should be worried about those who actually WANT to hang out in this area.

Nate Currie
Guest

Putting a bike lane behind angled parking on that street is insane. I am getting so sick of wildly ill-conceived bike infrastructure “improvements” like this one. Sometimes I wonder if the people who come up with these have ever actually tried to get around a city on a bike. Worst of all, the bad ideas seem so much more expensive than the good ones. The good cycling routes are not the ones where someone paints a 3-foot lane on a high-speed and/or high-traffic street which probably has cars entering and leaving frequently. Good cycling routes are on nearby low-traffic/low-speed streets with minimal stopping and traffic diversions set up to restrict through traffic by non-cyclists.

The other day I found myself riding the bike lane on SE Bob Schumacher Road (part of the detour from the I-205 path). The lane was littered with debris and cars were blazing past at 50+ mph. Visibility was incredibly poor at most intersections and the whole thing felt very unsafe. I would argue the Naito Parkway bike lanes are similarly ill-conceived (especially Southbound).

I know as cyclists we feel obliged to defend bike infrastructure spending wherever we can get it, but we also need to work more with the agencies which are coming up with these plans so we can get good, effective spending of the meager funds we’re able to secure.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Hart, Commercial st is the only major road out to south Salem neighborhoods which are 10-20 miles out. If you work in downtown or west Salem and live in South Salem, this is your only option. Plus, it is hilly and would be a tough commute on a bike.

DVG from Salem
Guest
DVG from Salem

Hart: Respectfully, I’m not the one that doesn’t understand. What you don’t understand is the traffic on Commercial during rush hour has LITTLE TO NOTHING to do with downtown. It has to do with cars farther north and from west Salem wanting to get to to south Salem. IF a significant number of those cars had downtown as their destination, your point would be valie, but that’s not their destination (hence, their cars won’t be replaced with bikes). Keep in mind that bikes can ALREADY take the Front Street bike lane, a mere one block west, if they want to get to south-of-downtown destinations. So far, the bikers I’ve talked to say they wouldn’t take the Commercial bike lane even if it existed. Your biggest problem, Hart, is you don’t know the particulars of this situation. You just say “stupid business owners” (#14) while you yourself are ignorant of the particular facts regarding this particular area and this particular proposal. You haven’t yet figured out that the “devil is in the details” — or maybe you just don’t care because its more fun bashing “stupid downtowners.” BTW, I’m all for converting some car parking stalls to multi-bike parking stalls. That makes sense, even after considering the details. On the other hand, a bike line on the right hand some of Commercial Street – because of the particulars — just doesn’t.

Hart
Guest
Hart

LOL, bikers! Bikers ride motorcycles. Shows how disconnected you are from what you’re talking about. You wanna ease rush hour congestion? Then offer alternative modes of transit on the main arteries, not blocks away.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“Commercial Street is highly congested during ‘rush hours’ because it brings so much traffic from the north and from West Salem through to non-downtown destinations. If downtown had its way, that traffic would be routed elsewhere, but that’s just not in the cards.” DVG from Salem

Not wanting to get off topic, but DVG, perhaps you might be able to briefly explain why diverting that particular traffic isn’t in the cards. I’m not familiar with Salem, but in the above shot of Commercial St, 4 lanes of traffic seems very generous.

Here in Portland, Broadway, running right through the middle of downtown (also one-way, but parallel parking) is just three lanes…and in a soon to come bike lane experiment, will be reduced to two lanes for 7 blocks up by PSU.

If there were any possible way, I would think that alleviating downtown from traffic that doesn’t have downtown as its destination would be a great first step towards helping the reduce congestion there.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

DVG, I just read comment 22 and yours, 23, so maybe further explanation isn’t necessary. Sounds like Salem needs a huge bypass.

Kt
Guest
Kt

I have to say that I agree with DVG, Jeremy and Nate Currie.

It seems like we’re only getting about half the information on this proposed change in the street. Add in that most of us are here in Portland, and don’t conduct much business in Salem (by car, much less by bike)…. well, I don’t really see how we can sit here at our computers and blast these business owners.

Oh, and let’s not turn a cycling-friendly business owner away from us by name-calling, eh?

Matt Picio
Guest

DVG (#18) – yes, there would be a loss of capacity, but no more congestion. Congestion would get worse for a few weeks, drivers would adapt and use other streets, and the system rebalances itself. Since the vast majority of drivers are not coming to your business, and since those who are would be driving Commercial St. anyway, the net impact is negligable. Meanwhile, since the street is now less unpleasant to pedestrians, you get more, and more cyclists. It’s much easier for a cyclist or pedestrian to get to your business than a motorist, who has to find someplace to park, so you get a higher level of “impulse” traffic to your business.

That said, putting bike lanes behind angled parking is asking for trouble. Frankly, they need to remove all the angled parking from Commercial, replace that space with wider sidewalks, put in some more trees and build a parking garage to accommodate the lost spaces. Put the road on a diet and pleasant it up a bit.

Oh, and add more bike signage so cyclists can find the bike lanes on the bridge over the Willamette.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

I just got off the phone with Salem’s transportation planning manager. She said that they feel the angled parking/bike lane would be safe.

I’ll have more from her and hopefully a statement from the BTA in a follow up story tonight or tomorrow morning.

Also, the June 27th council date has been postponed to work out some “issues”. ;-).

JI
Guest
JI

I work in the downtown area of Salem, bought my bike at The Bike Peddler and believe not only in alternative modes of transportation, but in fair use of our streets. I would also be the first to admit that Commercial is not a prime candidate for a bike lane. I know all about the bike culture of Portland and used to live off of 28th and E. Burnside, but Salem is NOT Portland and it really is difficult to try and compare the two. The mindset is different, the infrastructure is different, and the logistics are very different. As others have stated, Commercial is a major thoroughfare through the heart of downtown. It absorbs a tremendous amount of Traffic originating from West Salem and heading to South Salem. With so many state offices being downtown and so many people living in South Salem, it is not simply a major corridor into downtown like Broadway is, rather it is more like Grand on the east side except with diaganol parking. As others have stated, since so much of the traffic is pass thru and there is such a distinct lack of urban housing in the downtown core, it is highly doubtful that this would impact conjestion at all in the downtown core and by making the space more friendly to bikes, you remove far too much customer parking that keeps the Salem downtown core rather vibrant for its size. Personally, if they are going to lose a lane, I would rather see it for a street car/max setup that feeds West Salem, South Salem, Keizer, and Lancasater/East Salem.

Eric
Guest

I don’t have anything new to say on the argument. But I do want to add that DVG is incredibly public-minded and is a great champion for public space in Salem. Disagree with him on the merits, but don’t impugn his motives. He’s not a foe of bikes or bicyclists. Thanks!

Editz
Guest
Editz

“Back-in parking might be o.k. for a hybrid in electric mode, but isn’t so great if you’re talking about internal combustion motors.”

Many apartment complexes ban back-in parking for this very reason. I don’t see why it’s considered a solution anywhere there are sidewalks and pedestrians.

Eric
Guest

Matt @28 – Yes, there’s huge signage project moving forward with both the City of Salem and ODOT! While crossing some of the intersections to get to the bridges will remain problematic and take longer to fix, the way finding is going to make a huge leap.

Lurker B
Guest
Lurker B

I’m a Salemite of a few years, live close-in, and a multimodalist (mostly a pedestrian, but bike a fair bit).

If you went out to ride on Commercial Street today, the vast majority of the time you would have the right lane to yourself. Cars don’t like to drive there except maybe if they have to turn right, or during the peak PM hour. Four full auto lanes is overkill on this stretch, the city has done the engineering work to back it up. I think the opposition is mostly due to a lack of understanding of what the project actually entails. The lane won’t affect traffic heading to South Salem, as it only goes as far south as Trade Street. Through traffic to South Salem from Keizer, the Salem Parkway, or West Salem can use the Front Street bypass.

I agree there are probably better candidates for a bike lane downtown, but Commercial is getting repaved first, so we have an opportunity now to reconfigure the street. Other downtown streets should be reviewed as they come up for repaving and restriping. Downtown Salem is blessed with 99 foot wide rights-of-way, there is no reason we can’t have bike facilities on every street.

The idea of putting the bike lane between the sidewalk and parking (a cycle track of sorts) was kicked around, but this isn’t the right context. There are too many turning movements, both left and right.

Putting in back-in angled parking was also discussed but this is a nonstarter with the City. The project wouldn’t remove any parking.

Salem is behind Portland in terms of bikey-ness, but pretty much everywhere in the US is behind Portland. It is no excuse to try to improve conditions. Bike parking counts are underway on one block of downtown which will hopefully justify the installation of our first on-street bike parking corral. As noted above there is work on improving bike wayfinding signage, particularly along the Chemeketa bike boulevard and in connection with the new Union Street bike/ped bridge over the Willamette.

John Lascurettes
Guest

RE Back-in angled parking in Oregon: Portland already uses it without issue on NW Johnson St. between 10th and 11th.

LuckyLab
Guest
LuckyLab

Having lived in Salem for 32 years I will say Commercial is highly congested at peak traffic times because there are no other direct north-south arterials until you get east of I-5, but…

DVG, I don’t know what block you are in but even at peak times, traffic is never backed up past Court Street to access Front with a right turn. Frankly, the right lane is almost never used except right at intersections because the long-bed super-duty trucks that park stick too far out to pass them safely in anything larger than a Geo Metro.

The Front Street bypass route is a discontinuous route, meaning you must either take to the sidewalk (which is actually an MUP but not well marked) or join traffic at one of the most dangerous intersections in the city, then jump back into a bike lane, then back to an MUP (again not well marked) to make it through and I’ve been honked at and scolded taking the lane to bridge and taking the MUP (at 5 mph).

Now, all that considered, this doesn’t make it a good plan to put a bike lane behind angle in parking. Visibility is awful as you back out, even to spot something as large as a car. Given that 3 of the 4 bike shops in town are located on that stretch, it would make sense to have a bike lane as Salem drivers do tend to get a little pissy about having bikes on the road down there and write letters to the editor about it often. If the Mid-Valley BTA wants my support, they’re going to have to reconfigure parking because bike lane and sharrow right behind angle-in parking is NOT safe.

Hart
Guest
Hart

With so many state offices being downtown and so many people living in South Salem, it is not simply a major corridor into downtown like Broadway is, rather it is more like Grand on the east side except with diaganol parking.

Good point. We need bike lanes on Grand/MLK. As it is now I just take the entire traffic lane.

Hart
Guest
Hart

Disagree with him on the merits, but don’t impugn his motives.

I’ll impugn the motives of anyone who makes the false claim that turning car lanes into bike lanes will increase traffic congestion. This has been proven false over and over and over. Anyone still spreading this nonsense clearly has bogus motives aimed at protecting the failed car culture that pollutes the air and makes communities unlivable.

Agribob
Guest
Agribob

Lurker B in post #34 is absoulutely correct. The far west lane of Commercial is very narrow and the diagonally parked cars often extend out into the lane. Currently driving in that west lane is sketchy because of the lack of room. Cycling in that lane really gets sketchy when a car wants to squeeze past the cyclist.

Traffic heading South must ultimately move the the left because that lane ends anyway.

It is well thought out. Lets give it a try.

DVG from Salem
Guest
DVG from Salem

With advocates like Hart, the biking community doesn’t need an opposition. Arrogant zealots often help their chosen cause in the short run but usually end up hurting it in the long run.Hart obviously wants to be at war with the “car culture” (#38). I hope others (whatever their side) have the wisdom to ignore him.

DVG from Salem
Guest
DVG from Salem

wsbob (#26): Salem does need a bypass. That Commercial (south-bound) and Liberty (north-bound) streets carry so, so much traffic through downtown that has nothing to do with downtown is a huge problem.

There is a bypass planned — sort of — but everyone recognizes doing the bypass is a pretty long ways off (I hope someone is thinking about stimulus dollars?). In the meantime, we do what we can downtown, and that takes detailed thinking; without it, the ‘cure’ may well be worse than the ‘disease’.

Elly Blue (Columnist)
Member

DVG and Hart — you both have good points and make strong arguments. Please resist the temptation to make the discussion personal.

Vive l’internet!

Elly

Kenji
Guest

I despise angle in parking. When I have to drive and park downtown, the head in angle parking creates a very dangerous situation- especially when there is a large truck to the left of me. You cannot see traffic that is coming down the road when you back up out of a space. This is especially problematic near intersections- this discourages shopping downtown.

I’m puzzled sometimes why drivers don’t use the Front Street bypass to get from points North to South and vice-versa. I use it whenever I need to get N-S and avoid the congestion downtown. There’s also fewer lights for drivers to get stuck at.

Commercial isn’t too bad. Try Lancaster.

The downtown core doesn’t absorb traffic heading from West Salem to South Salem. Drivers take a right coming off the bridge and that drops them off onto Front St. and then they just take a right on Commercial. Commercial south of that intersection has a bike lane, which then disappears at Mission St. Cyclists are shunted off onto neighborhood streets. The bike lane then reappears further south.

The only time that traffic on Commercial is severely impacted is during the evening, when state workers head south on Commercial to head home. (I have a feeling that this increased traffic actually discourages shopping downtown since it become more difficult to back out of spaces.) I think the key to reduce congestion at this time is to figure out a way to get traffic (that wants to head south) from Marion St. to the Front St. bypass. What could work is modifying the intersection at Commercial and Division to allow traffic to cross straight onto the bypass. Drivers then could take a right onto Liberty from Marion, then left onto Division and then directly onto the bypass.

If this step is taken, I think it would be much better for us on Commercial.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

DVG….thanks for expanding on that. Has planning for the bypass reached the point to where a dollar figure can be attached to it? Bypasses can be multi-million dollar projects some people regard as either deliberately or inevitably leading towards sprawl.

Still, such as in the case of small towns like Salem and I might add, Newberg and Dundee, a bypass could be essential towards improving those towns livability. Less motor vehicle traffic in downtown Salem…more trips being made by bike on well designed and constructed bike infrastructure…seems like that would be quite a feather in Salem’s cap.

Would you care to share any thoughts about this excerpt from Lurker B’s comment #34?:

“Four full auto lanes is overkill on this stretch, the city has done the engineering work to back it up. I think the opposition is mostly due to a lack of understanding of what the project actually entails. The lane won’t affect traffic heading to South Salem, as it only goes as far south as Trade Street. Through traffic to South Salem from Keizer, the Salem Parkway, or West Salem can use the Front Street bypass.” Lurker B

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“The only time that traffic on Commercial is severely impacted is during the evening, when state workers head south on Commercial to head home.” Kenjii #43

Kenjii…I just read your comment. Wish I was personally familiar with Salem so I’d have some idea of how well it would work. Sounds good though.

Maybe Salem DOT just needs to create some very clear directional routing to define for those workers, the route you describe”

“I think the key to reduce congestion at this time is to figure out a way to get traffic (that wants to head south) from Marion St. to the Front St. bypass. What could work is modifying the intersection at Commercial and Division to allow traffic to cross straight onto the bypass. Drivers then could take a right onto Liberty from Marion, then left onto Division and then directly onto the bypass.” Kenjii

Hart
Guest
Hart

Hart obviously wants to be at war with the “car culture” (#38).

Wake up pally, “car culture” is at war with your health, your neighborhood, your wildernesses, your rivers and streams, your mountains. All are being taken apart to make and fuel automobiles.

JI
Guest
JI

Oh Lord, Hart, I think we can do without the grandstanding here… it is an attitude like that which gives bikers, including myself, a bad name. In order for any project like this to work, it really needs to be a consensus and looked at logically. Like it or not, cars are NOT going anywhere.

Kenji,

You’re right, folks coming from West Salem can take the front street bypass and a lot do, but I see just as many come straight off the bridge and hook right onto commercial. Perhaps they have business downtown or are shopping or heading to work, regardless there is A LOT of traffic that heads down Commercial off of that bridge and I don’t think you can oversimplify things by saying that everybody can and does use the bypass. The reality is that Commercial is a major thoroughfare downtown and even if they close off one lane of traffic for bikes which I would welcome, without changing the parking arrangement, it is one giant mess waiting to happen IMHO.

Kenji
Guest

Yo JL-

I don’t see the right hander onto Commercial happen as often (off of the bridge). More often I see drivers go down the right lane to High St. and execute that right turn. (I stick to the 2nd lane from the right especially when I want to head east since invariably, cars get backed up behind the right turning vehicles waiting for folks at the crosswalk on High.

I bet the City of Salem has some traffic counts. Would be interesting to look at. Heck- might be a good idea to have them run that count.

I think part of it has to do with signage too. When I come into Salem from the north, especially near rush hour, the bypass lane is empty. Perhaps they should add: “South Salem” in big letters.

JI
Guest
JI

I agree with you 100% about the signage… it seems like nobody coming from the North takes, rather they just stay on Commercial all the way through.

katrsixtyseven
Guest

I bike in the right-hand lane of Commericial, bike lane or no, and have never had much of a problem. But I am an experienced cyclist. The key to the bike lane positioning is will it get less-experienced cyclists to ride downtown? If they are too scared to ride in traffic, will the new configuration make them feel safer?