Salem takes steps to improve walkability, biking, access

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — The Salem City Council took steps Monday night to make areas of the city safer for pedestrians and cyclists — and more appealing to developers coming to the city.

The push to improve accessibility and safety in areas of Salem that need it most is all part of a bigger project through the Oregon Department of Transportation investing in multi-use transportation paths that aren’t a part of roads.

Salem is embarking on 2 major projects to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety through ODOT’s Community Paths Program.

One program would create a pedestrian bridge over Highway 22, connecting a park and homes to the area of Miller Elementary. People in the area say this is needed, something City Councilor Trevor Phillips agrees with.

“There’s a grade school just north of Highway 22 and there’s no way for the community that’s south of there to get there safely,” Phillips said Monday night.

The first step would include $300,000 in refinement grant money from the Community Paths Program to determine further steps such as design and overall cost.

Salem officials are also looking toward constructing the Pringle Creek Path under Commercial Street and the railroad to various park paths. They’re requesting $6 million from the Community Paths Program to cover most of the $8 million project.

Mayor Chris Hoy said these potential projects and the subsequent need for pedestrian and cyclist access are even a draw for developers.

These projects are “things they’re interes