Whether on two wheels or two feet, for exercise or your commute, the interest in self-propelled transportation is growing in Salem as our City grows.
The 2019 Community Satisfaction Survey suggests Salem residents want to see more improvement in walking and biking safety.
Our location at the center of the lush Willamette Valley and our temperate climate invite residents and visitors to make active transporation a more viable option throughout the year – and that's a good thing.
More people getting around the city on bicycle and on foot can help limit traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, important considerations in a growing city.
Improvements with bikers and walkers in mind
The City of Salem continues to add new trails and new safety features on existing roads and in parks to help cyclists and pedestrians move more safely through the community.
From the 29 miles of trails at Minto-Island Brown Park to the Winter-Maple Neighborhood Greenway that connects Salem Parkway to downtown Salem, walking and bicycling in Salem is growing easier and safer.
We're building bike lanes and pathways, adding and improving sidewalks, and installing flashing lights at crosswalks to make riders and pedestrians more easily seen.
Over the past several years, we've also added crosswalks and pedestrian crossing islands, made improvements to intersections, and installed speed humps throughout Salem to be more friendly to bikers and walkers.
Many of the improvements come from the 2018 Pedestrian Safety Study, which looked at crash data, police reports and field operations across our community.
Here are some examples of completed upgrades that make it safer for bikers and walkers:
- Buffered bike lanes added to High and Church Streets between Ferry Street and Union Street NE.
- Improvements to the intersection of Union Street NE and Commercial Street NE as part of the Union Street Family Friendly Bikeway.
- Replaced and widened the Court Street pedestrian bridge.
- Added three median pedestrian crossing islands with rapid flashing beacons on Portland Road.
- The Winter-Maple Neighborhood Greenway connects roughly 2.5 miles between Salem Parkway and downtown Salem in an attractive, safe and convenient route. Several projects are now complete including additional signs, and speed humps. More improvements are planned.
- Between 2008 – 2016, we completed nearly 50 different projects to upgrade or add sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, pedestrian crossing islands, radar speed signs. We also added biking and walking paths, added rectangular rapid flashing beacons, and shortened the crossing distance at certain intersections.
- A new pedestrian crossing was completed at Commercial and Royvonne with a striped crosswalk, American with Disabilities Act-compliant curbe ramps, a median island, and rapid flashing lights to alert drivers.
You will find many other current and future improvements in the City's five-year Capital Improvement Plan.
Development rules friendly to bikers and walkers
We've also adopted new rules designed to require pedestrian access paths in some cases as part of new development through the Salem Revised Code (SRC800.065).
If a path or trail is identified in specifid adopted City plans, developers must generally construct that path or trail through their site or provide an easement or dedication.
New safety measures at busy intersections
Salem's busiest intersections are getting new safety features designed to reduce crashes by encouraging drivers to slow down.
We are adding photo enforcement cameras to four new intersections this year as a way to discourage speeding and stop drivers from entering intersections on red lights.
Three such cameras have been in place since 2008. Since they were installed, Salem has seen a 92 percent decrease in traffic crashes at those locations. New cameras planned for fiscal year 2020 include the intersections of:
- Fisher Road NE and Silverton Road
- Commercial and Madrona Avenue SE
- Commercial Boulevard and Kuebler Boulevard
- Center Street and Hawthorne Avenue NE
Speed plays a major role in motor vehicle crashes. The goal of the cameras is to improve driver behavior and safety for all modes of travel at the City's busiest intersections.