Biking North Salem

Last week I mentioned it takes me 12 minutes to walk from my home in North Salem to the Y downtown.

It only takes me 7 minutes for the same trip on my bicycle. Even though it is half the time, any guess as to which one I do more often?

The connection to downtown, while poor for pedestrians, can be even more dangerous for bicyclists.

The Pop-up bike lanes that have one weekend left on North Street have sparked debates online and amongst neighbors. As the “Space for People” project for the Summer of 2019 is coming to a close, conversations are happening, data is being collected, and the city will be reviewing what worked and what didn’t.

Personally, I enjoyed being able to bike North Street with my 7 year old daughter and head downtown for some cookies, ice cream & even a trip to the Willows. All without having to fight for parking. And I am pretty sure we beat those driving when it came to travel time. Since the pilot program was just run on the weekends, I could only imagine more practical uses for commuters during the weekdays (although I would argue ice cream *is* practical in August). 

The lanes also slowed down the traffic on North Street, which I appreciate. The entrance corridor of North Street is treated as just that – a way for those to get in and out of Salem. But for the residents here, we deserve a healthier, safer and better environment.

During our rides downtown it became pretty obvious biking with a 7 year old, that there are more barriers then just the safety of riding on North Street. Any proper transportation connections from North Salem to downtown were designed solely with cars in mind. This mindset needs to change.

Perhaps the biggest chatter online regarding the bike lanes was around the loss of parking on the inbound side. While I am not impacted by this directly, I do understand and I am sympathetic towards those that lost parking in front of their homes and businesses. Any permanent solution needs to happen with better communication prior to, with both the business and the residents along North Street involved in the dialog. I will continue to work hard to help engage the neighbors that are impacted in these conversations. 

Did you get a chance to ride the bike lanes? What are your thoughts?

7 Year old Stella biking towards popcorn, jazz, and crab hunting down at the Willows