Of the Keizertimes

The Keizer Traffic Safety, Bikeways and Pedestrian (TBP) Committee continued its efforts to find a project to throw its weight behind at a meeting Thursday, March 8.

Committee members are looking for a suitable project to enter into the running for improvement funds provided by the Oregon Legislature’s Keep Oregon Moving program, a massive transportation package approved in 2017. Some of the money provided through the package will be disbursed in grants for projects with enough political will behind them.

The TPB committee is hoping to whittle down a list of potential projects and forward one to the city council as a prime candidate for grant funding. Some of the potential improvement projects committee members are investigating are: sidewalks in the neighborhoods around Cummings and Kennedy elementary schools; a lighted pedestrian crossing on south River Road North or near the Lockhaven Drive entrance to McNary High School.

Committee member David Dempster has been tasked with helping come up with a plan around Kennedy Elementary School. While the school itself has some sidewalks along the campus, Dempster labeled the roads leading to Kennedy “a black hole.”

“There are next to no sidewalks between Verda (Lane) and the school,” Dempster said. Kennedy might be a more appealing projects in some grant processes because of the school’s Title 1 designation, but there is a groundswell of support for adding sidewalks to the areas surrounding Cummings. In addition, sidewalks will be added to the Cummings’ school campus if voters approve a bond measure for capital improvements in May.

Dempster also lamented the lack of connectivity between the streets around Kennedy and the bike trail that runs along the west side Salem-Keizer Parkway.

Members of the committee noted that when the property known as “the cow pasture” is redeveloped into apartments, students who live there will need to get across Verda and to Kennedy. The same property is also the site of two Cherriots bus stops.

“We could prioritize a path that goes from the bus stops to the school. We have to make some call about the level of importance (within that area) and that could be one way to do it,” said Pat Fisher, a member of the committee.