Update to SKATS Transportation Improvement Program

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

2/28/18 UPDATE:

Following a 30-day public comment period, the SKATS Policy Committee (PC) approved resolutions this week to update the 2018-2023 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Of the 8 projects up for consideration, the PC approved added funds for 2 current projects, full funding for 3 new projects and preliminary engineering phase funding for 2 new projects.  The National Partnership was happy to submit comments and provide testimony in support of many of these project that include significant upgrades for people walking and biking (see our comment letter below). Some highlights from the TIP update approved by the Policy Committee yesterday:  

  • $630,000 total additional funds for existing project, Brown Road NE: San Francisco to Sunnyview. Project includes added curbs, sidewalks and bike lanes that will benefit kids and families in a neighborhood that includes nearby access to Douglas McKay High School, as well as local parks, churches, restaurants and shopping.
  • Funds new project, Wheatland Road Multimodal Corridor Plan: River Road to Clearlake Road.  $213,000 will fund the development of a multimodal corridor plan and conceptual street design, including pedestrian crossing enhancements. The National Partnership spoke in favor of this project, for its focus on increasing the safety of children who walk and bike to school, including both Forrest Ridge and Clearlake Elementary schools.
  • Funds new project, Center Street: Lancaster Drive to 45th Place NE. A budget of $2.1 M was approved for this project, including new sidewalks and bike lanes on the north side of the route. We requested adding sidewalks and bike lanes to the south side of Center St. Budget constraints won’t currently allow for sidewalks on the south side, but have been included in the project design and will be completed when further funding becomes available.
  • $1.5 M total additional funds for existing project, McGilchrist Street SE: 12th St SE to 25th St SE. Project includes added bike lanes and sidewalks to areas that have previously had no capacity for people walking and biking. 
  • Provides preliminary engineering phase funding for two projects: Connecticut Avenue: Macleay to Rickey West Side ($213,000) and Turner Road: Mill Creek to Chicago Street SE ($175,000).  Both projects include design for completion of urban bicycle facilities and sidewalks.

SKATS, the regional transportation planning agency for the greater Salem/Keizer area, is in the process of updating their 2018-2023 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). About $5 million in additional federal funds have become available since 2017, allowing this expansion of the TIP to include new projects that will improve infrastructure in the region.

There are 8 proposals being considered for funding, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is excited to see that so many of these projects would include significant upgrades for people walking and biking, such as added sidewalks and bike lanes. Specifically, the following proposals have been designated as bike/pedestrian projects (click on each to read a full summary):

Each of these four proposals include total project cost estimates starting at $200,000 and ranging up to $3.2 million. The National Partnership is pleased to have regional planners considering such a significant investment in new active transportation projects in the region. Good planning and dedicated funding for these types of projects allows kids to walk and bike safely in their neighborhoods, provides equitable access to transportation, and promotes healthy and vibrant communities.

Regional leaders and planners want to hear from you! Final project and funding decisions will be made by the SKATS Policy Committee at noon on February 27, 2018. We encourage you to take some time to read through these summaries and thoughtfully consider how these projects might affect your family, neighborhood and greater community. Some possible questions to keep in mind during your reflection, might include:

  • How would the Wheatland Road Project serve those students most in need at the Forrest Ridge and Clearlake Elementary schools?
  • Would the new sidewalks and bike lanes in the Brown Road Project accurately address the growing safety concerns in this high-traffic, high-speed zone?
  •  Much of the Connecticut Avenue Project is focused on ADA improvements. How does the plan address the day-to-day transportation needs of people with disabilities?   
  • How will the Orchard Heights Project provide connectivity solutions for older people, people of color and people who are low-income?

Click here to visit SKATS’ interactive website, where you can view a map and details for each project under consideration. The National Partnership encourages you to join the conversation, submit your comments on the interactive map, or send an email to Karen Odenthal: kodenthal@mwvcog.org  

You can also check out comments submitted on behalf of the National Partnership, by clicking on the PDF download below. 

Related Files:

Safe Routes to School National Partnership comments on SKATS TIP Update