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Siskiyou Velo

Southern Oregon's Premier Cycling Club

Sweeping of Medford streets after snow event

by Victoria Brown on Jan, 24 2017

The Siskiyou Velo Board recently contacted road maintenance jurisdictions in Jackson County (see letter) regarding unsafe cycling conditions created by the accumulation of cinder and gravel in bike lanes and on road shoulders. Below is the response from the Public Works Department of Medford:

Siskyou Velo Bicycle Club

Thank you for your recent email regarding sweeping of Medford streets after the snow. Your email was forwarded to me for a response.

During the recent snow event the City of Medford Public Works Department spread approximately 550 tons of sanding rock on Medford streets. As you clearly understand, it goes down much faster than it can be cleaned up. Public Works operates three full time street sweepers that generally sweep the entire city every 4-6 weeks under normal conditions. With this amount of sanding rock out there I anticipate it will take slightly longer to complete the entire city due to more frequent trips back to the Service Center to empty the full sweeper hoppers.

We appreciate your input on priorities but our experience is that when we attempt to modify our normal sweeping patterns we become much less efficient and streets get missed. We anticipate being complete with the clean up by the end of February. However, property owners will likely be sweeping off sidewalks into the street well into the summer so isolated areas of sanding rock in the bike lanes should be anticipated in those instances until the next time the street sweeper is in the area.

Thank you for communicating this information to the cycling community. Rest assured we are working diligently on the clean-up effort and we appreciate their patience.

Brice Perkins, PE
Deputy Public Works Director – Operations
City of Medford Public Works


  • Gary Shaff

    1/24/2017 at 12:23PM

    I am not patient when it comes to local/state jurisdictions unnecessarily risking the health and safety of people riding bicycles.

    The response from Medford is discouraging. Rather than alter their priorities to reflect the needs of cyclists they are simply adhering to their normal sweeping schedule. Which means, some parts of town won't be swept until the end of February. If they approached snow plowing in the same way - people would be outraged. Cyclists should be equally outraged with their (Medford's) unwillingness to alter their schedule to ensure that cyclists can safely utilize the roadway network and not just when the weather happens to be nice.

    Please consider sending an email or calling your local public works office, Jackson County, and ODOT asking them to do their job and sweep the bike lanes and roads with wider shoulders (greater than or equal to two feet), and designated bike routes and bikeways - ASAP. Explain that the gravel makes the shoulders/bike lanes unusable and unnecessarily increases conflicts between people riding bikes and automobiles/trucks, and reduces bicycling safety.

    Consider writing a letter to the editor - make it personal (what happened to you and be specific about the location, including, if you know, roadway jurisdiction).

  • Gary Shaff

    1/24/2017 at 6:14PM

    Below is a copy of an email sent to Medford Maintenance Supervisor Brice Perkins,

    I read your response to Viki Brown concerning sweeping the bike lanes in Medford. Your response seems to ignore the City’s investment in bike lanes and their value for transportation. It would seem that rather than use the regular street maintenance schedule for sweeping (as done year-around) the City could use the priorities/schedule that you normally use for snow removal. In that way, you wouldn’t miss any streets but your efforts would focus first on the major street network and progressively on less important streets. This seems much preferable to the standard geographic basis normally employed for street sweeping.

    As it is now, people riding bikes are forced to ride in the lane or close thereto to avoid riding in the cinders. The auto/bike conflicts are increased and cyclists’ safety is much reduced.

    Please reconsider your approach.

    Thank you,
    Gary Shaff

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