Summary prepared by Janet Adkins, LWVMPC Transit Study Committee Member
The Salem Willamette River Crossing Alternate Modes Study, completed in April 2010, was funded by the Oregon Department of Transportation and jointly directed by the City of Salem, the Salem-Keizer Transit District, and the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments. The study team and a stakeholder group identified a range of projects intended to decrease peak-hour single-occupancy vehicle travel across the river by an estimated 8 percent or more over a twenty-year planning horizon. According to the Study, if these projects were implemented, they would help to reduce congestion, accommodate future travel demand, increase travel options, and extend the service life of any potential future crossing improvements. The Study also estimated costs and effectiveness for most of the alternate mode projects. The Alternate Modes Study is available to the Salem River Crossing Project team as it prepares the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for river crossing alternatives. The Study recommendations are also intended to be considered by local agencies as they update their long-range plans.
The Alternate Modes Study begins with some interesting baseline travel information: Based on 2000 Census information, 74 percent of Salem area residents drive alone, 15 percent carpool, 3 percent take transit, 4 percent bike or walk, and 4 percent work at home. Of those West Salem residents that are employed, 77 percent worked on the east side of the river.
The projects identified in the Alternate Modes Study included bike, pedestrian, parking, and carpool projects, as well as the transit oriented projects listed below. The full study can be downloaded at http://www.salemrivercrossing.org/AlternateModesStudy.aspx.
The transit-oriented recommendations:
- Bicycle / transit integration + including bike parking, accessibility, etc., around bus stops
- Transit signal priority at key intersections + permits bus driver to extend green lights
- Downtown circulator trolley bus
- West Salem Transit Center improvements; change commute routes to bypass the Center
- Real-time transit tracker at some stops using GPS
- Provide direct transit service from West Salem to major destinations such as Willamette University & Salem Hospital
- Install transit queue jump lanes for buses to allow them to cut in front of the line of traffic, reducing the delay for buses
- Increase service on CARTS routes in Polk County
- Improve Park and Rides west of Salem
- Improve transit service to the Edgewater district
- Increase service frequency to West Salem
- Stabilize and grow transit funding
- Develop a group to work with major employers in downtown to implement transportation demand management strategies
- Acknowledge & reward commuters who adopt alternate mode
- Improve transit’s image and recruitment of passengers
- Reduce the direct cost of transit passes to employees and commuters