Please comment on CAMPO’s draft transportation improvement program

We have until October 4th to comment on the Corvallis Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s draft Transportation Improvement Plan. Comments can be sent directly to Ali Bonakdar. If approved, this document will prioritize projects that have local funding commitments, making the projects eligible for matching grant funding from state and federal agencies.  The document isn’t very readable; the only section that seems to be open for comment starts on page 22.

12 “Surface Transportation Projects” are listed but only the roads in question are listed without what they are doing.  While some of these projects will likely include bicycle and pedestrian improvements (sidewalks, lanes), without more description it is difficult to comment on.

The “Transit and Alternative Mode Projects” appear to just list the budget for existing transit programs without added service; I am inferring this by comparing this draft plan over the three years and with the approved plan for the last three-year period.  In the last plan, the plan budgets for the purchase of a new bus in 2012 — no such purchases are budgeted for the remaining years or in the current draft plan.  The budget from 2012-2015 is roughly $2.25 million per year (with inflationary increases).  The budget for 2015 in the current draft (which overlaps with the last plan) is for $3 million — an increase for sure, but without explanation.  Since there are no new-bus purchases budgeted, I am guessing that this could be unexpected inflation.  It is possible that hours will be extended next year.  The budget for the remaining years has only inflationary increases.

There are two ODOT-sponsored projects which directly affect cyclist and pedestrians: modifications to the multi-use path along HWY34 and construction of a new multi-way path in South Corvallis (page 24). The latter is a new path connecting the 3rd Street South Corvallis pedestrian bridge to Chrystal Lake Blvd by a multi-use path that will bypass the sidewalk along 3rd.  I wholeheartedly support this project which is slated for 2016-2018.

The former project is mixed. As listed in this draft plan, it seems to simply replace the multi-use path on the north side of HWY34 from the lights to Peoria with a road.  A backwards step in my mind! However, if you look up the project by number on the ODOT website you find out more hopeful information.  While the project calls to add additional right-turn lanes for highway access, it also “extends the multi-use path on the north side of the highway from the OSU Crew Docks approach road west to the Susan Wilkins multi-use path and east from Wolcott Road to Riverside Drive”.  This would be an amazing improvement making a truly safe bike route between Corvallis and Albany by way of bike path and Riverside Drive (which, although narrow, has low traffic that seems used to bicycle traffic).  I will be commenting that I approve of this part of the project and disapprove of other parts and that if anything the project order should be to first improve the safety for vulnerable road users above all else

I will be commenting on this to Ali Bonakdar and will include comments that I don’t believe we should be spending resources on extending highway access.  I also noticed that in the evaluation of the projects, up to 10 points is given to improving the safety of motorists and only up to 9 points for improving the safety of transit users, bicyclists and pedestrians (page 27).  Many more points should be given for the latter.

Please take the time to comment on these projects.