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Photo of Union Street Railroad Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge 

September 2014 Update

ODOT Approval and Funding Secured for Phase 1 of the Union Street Family-Friendly Bikeway:  Improvements to the intersection of Union Street NE and Commercial Street NE were identified by City Council, Urban Renewal Agency, and the community as a high-priority project in the Central Salem Mobility Study.  In summer 2014, the City obtained approval for this signal from the Oregon Department of Transportation and secured funding to improve this connection between downtown and the Union Street Railroad Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge.  This funding will pay for the new traffic signal and curb extensions at the intersection of Union Street NE and Commercial Street NE.  The new traffic signal will provide pedestrians and bicyclists a safe way to cross the four lanes of Commercial Street NE in this heavily congested area. This project will also update the bicycle wayfinding signs and install shared lane markings (sharrows) on Union Street NE to connect the Union Street Bikeway with the existing Winter Street NE Bikeway. Construction is tentatively scheduled for summer 2017.  This project will be paid for with a combination of federal transportation dollars and Riverfront Downtown Urban Renewal Area funds.  Completion of future phases of the Union Street Bikeway and other Mobility Study projects will require grants and other funding.

Mobility Study Recommendations Adopted into Salem Transportation System Plan:  City Council adopted amendments to the Salem Transportation System Plan that incorporate the recommendations from the Central Salem Mobility Study.  These included new text and projects in the following chapters: Street System Element, Bicycle System Element, and Pedestrian System Element.  These amendments were adopted May 2014, and published July 2014.  


The Central Salem Mobility Study (Mobility Study) evaluated a range of multi-modal transportation issues affect downtown Salem, including circulation, access, and safety for people traveling to, through, and within central Salem. The study was initiated by the Salem City Council and Urban Renewal Agency Board in 2011. Work on the study was completed in 2012 and 2013 as a joint effort of the Public Works and Urban Development Departments working with the Salem office of DKS Associates Inc., a traffic engineering consulting firm.


Recommendations were prepared based on two tiers of transportation analysis and feedback from the project's Stakeholder Advisory Committee, Technical Advisory Committee, and the public.  Projects were only recommended if they were able to provide adequate traffic flow while improving multi-modal accessiblility.  Recommendations are separated into three phases; short-term, medium-term, and long-term recognizing the limited availability of funding and the benefits of building on the success of early phases. City Council adopted the Central Salem Mobility Study recommendations on August 12, 2013.


The analysis done to develop the recommendations was presented to the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and shared with the public over a 10-month period from September 2012 to June 2013.  The following documents provide an overview of how alternatives were identified and analyzed.

  1. Existing Conditions (Presentation to Stakeholder Advisory Committee, September 19, 2012)
  2. Initial Project Concepts (Materials for the first public forum, December 13, 2012)
  3. Refined Project Concepts (Materials for the second public forum, March 6, 2013)
  4. Draft Recommendations (Materials presented at the third public forum, June 12, 2013)
  5. Traffic Operations Simulations. Three simulations were prepared to illustrate future operations with some of the recommended changes to circulation. These simiulations use traffic volumes as projected in 2035 for the afternoon peak hour.

Public Feedback

Project recommendations were developed with input from the public through a two-tiered process. The alternatives were analyzed and refined with input from the project's Stakeholder Advisory Committee, Technical Advisory Committee, the public forums, and various organizations, including the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Advisory Board, Capitol Planning Commission, neighborhood associations (SESNA, CAN-DO, and NEN), Salem Downtown Partnership Board, Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and the Latino Business Alliance.


To learn more about this project, please contact Julie Warncke, Transportation Planning Manager, at 503-588-6211 or

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