Friday, June 27, 2014

Is it the Pathway or is it the Urban Fabric?


TriMet is looking at closing a pathway that connects the Willow Creek Transit Center which is located just northwest of the intersection of 185th and Baseline on the MAX Blue Line. The reason behind the possible closure is because of crime and drug problems along the path so I decided to take a look at the situation first hand to see what the problems truly are here.

First here is a Google map of the area:


View Larger Map

The pathway in question goes south from the transit center to Baseline Road.
Looking from Transit Center toward Baseline Road
The picture above is looking from the Willow Creek Transit Center toward Baseline Road and instantly you can see two major problems with this pathway. The first is that there is high walls on both sides blocking views of anyone along the path and the second is that there is very little lighting along the path. In addition there is a child care facility to the left of the photo which is only open at certain times of the day and there is a single family residence located to the right of the photo.

Looking back toward the Willow Creek Transit Center from Baseline
The next picture is looking back toward the transit center from Baseline and once again you can see the problems along the path. Once again you have the fences which creates a canyon affect which is just asking for problems in addition to the bushes on the right that even further block the view of the path. While you want tree canopy to shade pathways and make them more walk-able in this case they combine with the high fences to further hide the pathway from the public.
Looking west along Baseline
Looking east from along Baseline

Once you get off the pathway you have more issues once you get to Baseline. The road is wide with narrow sidewalks and very few streetlights. As can be seen in the upper photo looking toward the west where most of the residences are you have fences that put even fewer eyes on the street. Looking east you have a child care place that is very auto centric and turns its back to the transit center then empty lot on one side of the street and a shopping center.

The problem with closing the path is that for people to residences located on either side of Baseline there it leaves a long walk. From the transit center you will have to travel out of your way and head north to Edgeway then head to 185th then south to Baseline with both of those streets being very pedestrian unfriendly. While walking is fine for many of us, we also have to take into consideration the elderly and those with limited mobility that will have a more difficult time reaching the center. The other alternative for these people will be to take the infrequent 88 bus that travels a short distance on Baseline to reach the transit center.

The problem here is not the presence of the pathway but the Urban Environment around the pathway or the lack there of. The pathway design creates a canyon and walled off effect that means that there is not eyes on the pathway. The solution is not to close the path but to find ways to make it safer which will require rethinking how it is laid out and the visibility onto it. Unfortunately it is just not the path that is the problem, the area around Baseline is auto-centric suburbia where pedestrians come last.

Hopefully a good solution can be found. 

1 comment:

top aussie writing service said...

It is good that you have shared the pathways with pictures for clear description. The givernment should do proper planning before specifying the routes.