Tuesday, April 12, 2016

CANDO Public Safety Survey


Last January, the Marion County Public Safety Coordinating Council contacted CANDO and requested a meeting to discuss its public safety concerns.  To prepare for that meeting, CANDO  created a short, unscientific Survey Monkey survey, and shared it through its mailing lists and Facebook page.  We received more than 100 responses.
  
A majority of the respondents (97%) have lived in Salem at least a year, and 67% have lived here more than 10 years. Almost half (49%) live or work in downtown.
Before moving to Salem, our respondents lived in Mexico, Chile, Germany, England, Finland, Shanghai, Idaho, Indiana, Washington, Wisconsin, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Illinois, Kansas, South Dakota, Utah, D.C. and Oregon, in rural areas and cities that included most of Oregon, as well as Memphis, San Fran, Sacramento, Santa Maria, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Baltimore, Richmond, Alexandria, Reno, Detroit (MI), Vancouver (BC), Philadelphia, Montgomery (AL) New Orleans, Bristol (CT), Brookline (NH), Honolulu, Missoula, Winston-Salem, and Anchorage.

By far (70%), the greatest concern is pedestrian and bike safety, followed by safe/sanitary streets and parks (47%), followed by "quality of life" concerns (43%).  Of less concern, but still in the top four, was "car clouts" (car break-ins) (27%).  Survey results can also be viewed here, on the Survey Monkey site, at least for awhile.

We also asked respondents if they had any thoughts they'd like to share with CANDO or with the MCPSCC, not necessarily relating to public safety.  Here's what they wrote:

"Right now, it's illegal to ride bikes on the sidewalks. Some streets are just too narrow for bikes to ride safely in them. They need to be able to ride on the sidewalks when necessary."
 
"Reduce the speed limit to 25 mph on all city streets."
 
"We need to reduce the number of homeless people wandering through the Court-Chemeketa district. We have seen an increase in thefts from porches and driveways. Also, we need a better plan/program to reduce/eliminate the increasing tagging phenomenon throughout the Court-Chemeketa district."

"Cell use while driving, lack of use of signals when turning (very often) and a lot
of other poor driving habits all over the city."

"The amount and quality of transient traffic in the neighborhood is always a concern as is the lack of respect for the property rights of others."

"I live in Grant two blocks from Cando, and i work in the capitol mall area. So I live, work, play centrally. Love it. Ped and bike safety is getting worst. Street people also need better solutions."

"Our streets would be safer if they weren't designed purely to move vehicles fast. Plus it would improve the attractiveness and economy of the downtown."

"Thank you for doing this!"

"The traffic patterns in Downtown detract from livability. What ever happened to the viability studies that were done (@3years ago)looking at changing this? Cars are encouraged to rush through downtown and little is done to encourage pedestrian access-case in point, there are many vehicle-pedestrian accidents and close calls all the time. There is potential for downtown to be vibrant-especially as PDX becomes increasingly crowded and less attractive-but the frustration is that the city doesn't appear to care, doesn't allocate money for this, or doesn't have the "cahones" to make significant, visionary changes on a scale that leaves a legacy. Doing a survey is great, but what is the follow up plan?"

"[Do something about] UNSAFE bike riders who don't follow traffic laws!!"

"The presence of parking officers is incredible. Literally every time I'm downtown I see multiple parking officers walking along, writing down car information and giving tickets. Usually as soon as I pull into a space someone
writes my info down to make sure I don't go over. It seems almost predatory, as if their very livelihoods depend on making money off the people who spend money downtown, and it makes me want to shop, eat and play elsewhere."

"I really like downtown Salem and I am very pleased to see a nice mix of new business coming to downtown."

"The downtown is vibrant and livable, but no one properly markets it or communicates this to the public. Previous efforts were dismal. Oh, and please don't allow for negative voices to be representative of the whole."

"Research has proven there is a correlation between crime and traffic safety. Reducing injuries related to speeding and impaired driving (alcohol and/or drugs) is important for Salem and also makes walking and biking feel safer. Having Salem PD bike downtown during the summer is both a great deterrent for drinking and driving and great PR for the agency. Parking changes are needed to get more bike traffic downtown."

"There are a number of creative ways that cycling safety could be increased in Salem. Having cycles share main arterials in not one of them."

Scheppke's FBI Data Charts
"There is data that is collected annually on crime in Salem that is reported to the FBI by the SPD. There is good data going back about 20 years. I hope there can be actual analysis of data, and not just anecdotal information gathered from surveys and word of mouth, that can be very unreliable. I have looked at the data and some types of crime are down fairly dramatically in Salem in the past 20 years, despite what you might hear. Falling crime rates are a national and international trend. Salem is no different. Jim Scheppke"

"I walk my dog in the dark. I'm concerned about the brightness and number of street lights on the streets where I walk."

"The most dangerous thing in the downtown area is crossing the street. I am a frequent visitor to downtown, at all times of the day, and have never felt threatened or unsafe. The homeless are simply reminders of how ineffective our community is in providing housing and services. They have never bothered me."

"Salem had more pedestrians killed by cars in 2015 than we had homicides. Our street design for bikers and walkers is poor."

"More enforcement of speeding and distracted drivers (i.e. cell phones)."

"Just to explain my write-in answer to the safety question, I think it's unbalanced to talk about pedestrian and bike safety without acknowledging the risk they pose to driver safety -- all three groups, pedestrians, drivers and bicyclists, need to work together to safely share the streets/roads."  

"I appreciate your efforts to improve the neighborhood."
 
"Any efforts to help the Downtown Salem Homeless Community is encouraged."

"Seems pretty safe. I'm not sure why this is on CANDO's radar."

"Non profit fundraisers on city sidewalks as well as national lemonade day and fundraisers for cub scouts troops as well as business locations and types in downtown area."

"Thanks for your work. After living in other cities Salem seems tame as far as some issues are concerned. The working poor and the homeless due to economic factors are consistently my concern. Salem is trying."

"I watched two cars almost crash at the corner of Trade and I think 20th with NO stop signs on either side of that intersection. It's happened more than once."

"I'd like see more and better integration of Riverfront Park with the Downtown."

"I've lived here about five months and I have no clue as to how to participate and learn about civic and community affairs that affect me and my neighborhood. I live near the Oregon State Hospital and I know Salem is home to several prisons. I would like to know if parolees are a big issue here, if they contribute to crime and if sex offenders here and if they are getting services they need. I see some mentally ill people in my neighborhood
and don't know if they are getting any services. I see a lot of poverty and sickness downtown. I have no clue if Salem has enough services or if they are poorly funded or mismanaged, how the county and state government fit into funding and responsibility for these agencies. I've attended a few neighborhood association meetings but I'm the only member of the public who is there who not a member of the board. I have no clue if there is strong civic pride here in Salem. I don't know who to contact about littering and graffiti. I don't see any state agencies or community groups picking up trash. I think pedestrian safety is a big concern mainly due to the safety aspect but also due to the fact that it seems many people don't want to walk around. I am concerned that in my neighborhood the
neighborhood association wants to fix all the broken sidewalks but that could easily lead to a lot of trees being cut down. I am really afraid of that. I want the trees to stay and for sidewalk repairs to be done in such a way that the new sidewalks accommodate the trees, not the other way around. I get the impression that city officials, the mayor and staff members don't listen to average members of the public, and that there is not enough vehicles for public comment and public buy-in. This is a big change from where I moved from. There public comment was an automatic given, automatically built into every workshop and session on every single issue. Pedestrian safety is raised a lot but I don't see what's being done about it. Why don't the police go out and issue tickets for drivers blowing through crosswalks when there is a pedestrian in them? Why aren't more speeding tickets issued? Why doesn't the city put up traffic calming devices on main streets like 17th and Market and Center."

"Basic tenet: we need to take care of each other and the place we live in. We have a way to go on both of those items. Salem needs a minimum living wage ordinance to start. We should stop relying on corrections inmates to do public works jobs -- we need permanent living wage jobs with benefits instead."

"Great job by the downtown police team."

4/20/16 Update:  The results of the survey were discussed at CANDO's Annual Meeting on April 19th.  All the comments concerned bike and pedestrian safety.  Here's some of what people said:

Rosa Leonardi: the speed limit downtown is 20 mph (it's often exceeded).

Diana Dettwyler: almost struck twice downtown at midday.

Rebekah Engle: it's not just the core that's dangerous.  Streets feeding the core bring in traffic moving at higher speeds (that doesn't slow to 20 mph when it reaches the core).

Woody Dukes: there are a lot of "almost hits" that of course aren't tracked.

Chief Moore: (noted all 2015 pedestrian deaths occurred during the hours of darkness, included many variables, SPD will be starting an education campaign)

Bruce Hoffman: feels safer on his motorcycle/scooter than on foot, is concerned about the speeds on Liberty at Leslie, and thinks a flashing crosswalk is needed there.

Chief Moore: (agreed the 3 flashing crosswalks work, but concerned they might work less well if there were many more of them) 

Michael Livingston: at some point, Public Works/the City Council need to look at street design, the platoon effect of four-lane roads, etc. (as a way to address safety issues)
 
Simon Sandusky: a UGM resident is hit every couple of months by traffic coming off the Center Street bridge at high speeds.  Moving downhill contributes to speed and there are no warnings to slow on the bridge.

Jan Kailuweit: in Europe, speed is limited by traffic lights, which default to red  and turn green only if approached at the limited speed (could that not be attempted here?).

Chief Moore: (as many will complain about slow speeds as are here tonight concerned about high speeds)

Rebekah Engle: CANDO/Salem has been talking for years about traffic calming measures (and she is ready to have the City do something).

Neal Kern: lived in Salem a couple of years now, has found the grid very challenging to navigate.  For instance, there are sidewalks, but not infrequently, a sidewalk will be closed on the opposite corner.

Jon Christianson: you are taking your life into your hands to cross Liberty near the library.

Bill Holmstrom: (explained standard traffic calming measures, such as lane narrowing, two-way streets, etc.)

Rosa Leonardi: (pointed out some downtown streets are state highways and not subject to such abatements by the City)   

Cara Kaser: (referred everyone to the Central Mobility Study for abatements the City has planned for, such as two-way streets, etc.)

Don Frederickson: (would see that the MCPSCC received CANDO's comments)

Chief Moore: (would see that the City Council received the comments as well)

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