Celebrating a Month of Active Travel

Last year, the City of Corvallis Public Works Department asked the community to help find, and develop, the Active Travel Corridor (ATC) network. Together, we identified over 100 ATCs, providing all of Corvallis with “people only” paths helping to shorten trips for those traveling by active modes.

May signifies National Bike Month and this year, we celebrate it again by honoring all of those who walk, ride and roll in and around our city.

With our ATC network identified, the City has produced Corvallis’ first Walking Map to highlight the path network along with other foot-friendly locations. Useful markers such as where Corvallis Transit System (CTS) bus shelters are located, providing an outline of where the routes run and to alert you where to duck under should the weather turn wet. Corvallis Parks and Recreation trail and natural areas network are also called out. These paths invite you to wander the beauty of the City’s nearly 2,000 acres of places to play, explore and roam.

Download the Digital Version by visiting the Corvallis Walking Map website

Physical maps are coming soon! Email josh.capps@corvallisoregon.gov and we’ll let you know when physical maps are available to pick up around town.

Josh Capps is the Active Transportation Program Specialist for the City of Corvallis and a member of the Open Streets Steering Committee.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Data for the Eric. E. Austin Memorial Bypass

The Corvallis Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) has completed two rounds of bicycle and pedestrian counts along the Eric E. Austin Memorial Bypass in South Corvallis and recently released a report documenting the findings. Counts were collected using automated counting equipment which was temporarily installed during each of the two study periods.

The first deployment of the counting equipment spanned eight weeks during cold weather months (November 23, 2020 to January 17, 2021). Following this, counting equipment was returned to the same location for six weeks of data collection during the summer (June 28 to August 8, 2021). The results from the most recent report, which includes seasonal comparisons, can be found on CAMPO’s website HERE.

Despite the fact that the winter weather counts were conducted over an eight week period (56 days) and the summer counts only covered a six week period (42 days), the total number of people walking and riding bikes on the newly installed multi-use path grew significantly during the summer. While a large number of walkers and bikers used the pathway during the winter reporting period (8,669 total) the summer numbers were significantly higher (15,028 total users). On average, 358 people walked, jogged, or rolled along the path each day during the summer reporting period.

The roll-out of this counting equipment is part of a larger effort to inform long-range planning by systematically surveying the number of bicycle and pedestrian trips made at key locations in Adair Village, Corvallis, Philomath and Benton County. The data collected will help transportation planners better understand how pedestrians and cyclists travel throughout the region and can be paired with automobile count data to evaluate mobility across multiple modes of travel. This information can help track usage of bicycle and pedestrian facilities (including changes in use over time) and help evaluate the impacts of infrastructure projects after they are completed.

Counting equipment was purchased with Federal planning funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Look out for the counting equipment in other locations in the future, including our 2022 Open Streets event, happening Sunday, August 14.

As more information is collected, additional data and reports will be available on CAMPO’s website at https://corvallisareampo.org/data-maps/campo-region/.

Steve Dobrinich is a transportation planner for the Corvallis Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) and a member of the Open Streets Steering Committee.

The Open Streets Classroom: a University-Community Partnership for the Public Good

Event Date: February 27, 12-4 pm

Location: Corvallis-Benton County Library Meeting Room
645 NW Monroe Ave, Corvallis

This is a free event where participants will identify ways to build inclusive, walkable, bikeable, and livable neighborhoods. Join us to create community-university collaborations in the context of Open Streets Corvallis. Everyone is welcome! Spanish interpretation and lunch provided. Registration required.

Dr. Adonia Lugo is the Interim Chair of MA in Urban Sustainability at Antioch University. She will discuss mobility justice, her time co-founding CicLAvia, and open streets work being done elsewhere.

We invite you to join us in addressing the following key issues:

  • Neighborhood Engagement – enhancing livability and resiliency by connecting neighbors and neighborhoods
  • Engineering/Design – designing and implementing construction-related demonstration projects
  • Health – designing and implementing physical activity and health initiatives on event day
  • Inclusion/Representation – enhancing participation of all ethnicities and minorities in Open Streets Corvallis 
  • Peace Literacy/Civil Discourse – understanding peace as a set of skills that need learning, practice, and discipline

Anyone interested in university-community partnerships, community-building, and active transportation should attend. This may be of special interest to neighborhoods where Open Streets events have been located in the past and/or will be hosted in the future. Tangible projects, actions, and volunteer/internship opportunities will come from this event.

Thank you to Linn Benton Health Equity AllianceDevNWCorvallis Sustainability CoalitionOregon Sea Grant, and OSU’s Office of Institutional DiversitySchool of Language Culture and Society, and Precollege Programs for making The Open Streets Classroom possible.

Better Bike Lanes

After 40+ years of adding bike lanes to busier roadways throughout Oregon, there’s a push to do more for the safety and comfort of people biking (or skateboarding, scootering, etc.). Two ways of accomplishing this include widening bike lanes and/or adding something to physically separate people rolling along relatively slowly from people in faster moving cars and trucks. 

While cities have been building planter strips next to sidewalks for over a hundred years to improve the safety and comfort of walking, something similar for people biking is relatively new in Oregon. Granted, multi-use paths outside the curb-to-curb roadway have a long history, but these can be less practical as driveway and intersection density increases along roadways within cities. 

But how does a city add better bike lanes? That depends on a host of factors including design standards, roadway characteristics, and funding. In Oregon, a city’s Transportation System Plan (TSP) can provide the framework for allowing these facilities. From there, cities look to organizations such as AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) and NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials) for guidance on creating the design standards that best address the needs of their jurisdiction.

Image from People for Bikes.

In Corvallis, the recently completed TSP calls wider bike lanes “buffered bike lanes” and wider bike lanes with a physical barrier “protected bike lanes”. A buffered bike lane would typically be eight feet wide, rather than the current five or six foot width. Two parallel white stripes and other markings between the bike lane and vehicle lane may delineate this buffered space. The exact street markings of a buffered bike lane and characteristics of a protected bike lane will be determined in an upcoming design review process at the Public Works Department. 

While Corvallis is not a member of NACTO, this organization provides some of the most current and accessible guidance for urban bikeway design. Organizations such as The Street Trust and People for Bikes advocate for better bike facilities and laws with projects like the Green Lane Project. The People for Bikes reference guide entitled 14 Ways to Make Bike Lanes Better provides an overview of how other cities have approached the most prominent elements of buffered and protected bike lanes, also called cycle tracks and separated bike lanes. 

At Open Streets, we will demonstrate a center left turn bike lane on Alexander. It will help people on bikes to turn left comfortably and avoid conflicts with drivers. You will see temporary chalk paint on Alexander defining the bike lane, which will be in place from August 14-25. On event day, look for a potential protected bike lane design, too.

In the years ahead, keep an eye out for better bike lanes here in Corvallis and across the state. What’s your favorite better bike lane? 

Placemaking in Southtown

On Sunday July 28th, after months of planning and design, a community street mural was painted at the intersection of Lilly Ave. and Bethel St. in south Corvallis. The work was completed by over 40 volunteers from the community. This mural is only the second street mural painted in Corvallis and the first to go through the brand new City process for Intersection Paintings. A small team of neighbors led by local teaching artist Diana Ryan and Living South Town Community Organizer Rebecka Weinsteiger worked together with the City as well as the neighborhood at large to make this project happen. The project was inspired by the JANA Street Mural of 2017 (on 11th and Taylor St). This placemaking mural project will be featured at Open Streets, a free street festival on August 18th, 2019 that encourages active transportation and engages the community to create spaces where people want to walk, bike and play. In its third year, Open Streets will happen between two parks in high-density, low-income and working class neighborhoods: Lilly Park and Tunison Park.

Finished Street Mural designed by Diana Ryan, local teaching artist and South Town resident. “After being involved with the street mural of 2017, I was inspired and excited to have the opportunity to design and organize a mural on my street. I use the route to bike my kids to and from school every day.”

Our project goals when proposing the Lilly and Bethel Street Mural were neighborhood engagement, beautification and placemaking. The street mural is titled “Lily and Bluebirds” and was designed by local teaching artist Diana Ryan who runs an art studio adjacent to her home just down the street from the mural on Bethel St.

In planning the design for the street mural, I used natural imagery in a colorful and playful way to celebrate place and diversity.  

The project goals were achieved with a fantastic turn out of volunteers of all ages that helped with the painting as well as passers-by that stopped to engage and watch the painting process. The new street mural enhances the neighborhood and beautifies the commute for many walkers, bikers, buses and drivers. After the painting was completed, neighbors celebrated by having a neighborhood potluck in Lilly Park as they waited for the paint to dry.

The painting team was super grateful to be fueled by donations from Tried & True Coffee Co.First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op and New Morning Bakery and the project would not have been possible with out the support of the City of Corvallis Neighborhood Empowerment Grants program which funded the materials!

The Open Streets event on August 18th will be another great opportunity for people to view the new street art while celebrating community.

The most rewarding aspects of the project were hearing people’s enthusiasm and support for the project and getting the community involved in the painting itself. One neighbor remarked at how lucky he is to have the street mural going on so close to his house and how his daily life will be uplifted by it, like it was painted just for him. That’s the beauty of this neighborhood street mural; it is for everyone. I enjoyed getting people of all ages involved and reinforcing the fact that this art is about community and everyone can be a part of the painting. The project was very successful and rewarding and I look forward to being reminded of my own pride in place each time I see it!  – Diana Ryan