Bikeway could change course

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Signs like the one on the left of this photo designate the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, which could change course soon. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

The Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway takes cyclists on a ride from Champoeg State Park near St. Paul to just outside Springfield.

In between are the farm fields between St. Paul and Keizer, where it comes down Windsor Island Road, Shoreline Drive and onto Rivercrest before continuing into Salem via Delmar Drive.

But downtown traffic and the hustle-and-bustle of Liberty Street in Salem may necessitate a detour – one that could result in more bicyclists coming through town, and at certain points of the year a possible bounty for businesses along the south Keizer route.

Doug Parrow, a local resident who sits on the advisory committee for the bikeways, is proposing a shift that would instead steer the path east down Manbrin Drive and across River Road, continuing south on Cherry Avenue and rerouting the bikeway through a different portion of downtown Salem.

Parrow said the ride along Keizer’s residential riverside community isn’t the problem – it’s the roadway design that steers bicyclists into heavy traffic.

“(Liberty St.) does have bike lanes but they’re very busy and not particularly scenic,” Parrow said. “To the extent you’re worried about safety, it takes away from the aesthetics of the ride.”

The state has nine scenic bikeways. The State Scenic Bikeways Committee’s next meeting is on October 25.

While only a handful of people are generally riding the path on any given day – neighborhood cyclists aside – events can bring hundreds of bikes on a particular day. Parrow said businesses along the new route could capitalize.

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