Monday, May 21, 2018

Goal 7 and the Greenhouse Gases: At the MPO

The Policy Committee for our local Metropolitan Planning Organization meets tomorrow, Tuesday the 22nd, and they'll be grappling in a more serious way with engaging citizen calls to write a formal goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for inclusion in our upcoming 2019 Regional Transportation System Plan.

For years SKATS has resisted any kind of accounting for greenhouse gases. But there is now an opening and a new possibility for change.

The RTSP's curent draft goal 7 and several options
for a revised goal 7 for the 2019 plan
(May 15th memo, "RTSP Goals: Discussion of Options")
Salem City Council had submitted a letter in support of adding a clause about "reducing greenhouse gases" and this is option C in the supporting memo.

Other MPOs in Albany, Corvallis, and Portland include provisions on carbon and climate disruption. Currently, Bend, Eugene, and the Rogue Valley do not. (Eugene's silence on this is surprising.) So if SKATS adopted language in a goal, we would be right in the middle: Neither an early adopter nor a total laggard. That seems like a very comfortable place to be.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

West Salem Neighborhood to talk SRC and Second Street Crossing on Monday

The West Salem Neighborhood Association meets tomorrow, Monday the 21st, and they'll be talking about the SRC and about the under/overcrossing concept at Second and Wallace Road.

April 16th presentation to WSNA
At last month's meeting, they saw a long presentation on transportation and land use. It is notable because it gave visibility to the fact that the current plan on the SRC doesn't do very much to "solve" congestion. At multiple intersections it fails to meet the study's own mobility standards. If you accept the study's traffic modeling and definition of acceptable delay at intersections, the SRC is a FAIL.

It is good to see more discussion of this. $500 million (and very likely much more) is a lot to spend on a project that fails to solve congestion.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

ODOT Works to Box in Salem City Council on the SRC

Here's an interesting item a reader just sent in. It involves a deadline hitherto ignored publicly - or perhaps just very little discussed - and a decision made without publicly consulting relevant parties. You may know more about it, or about the regulatory requirements more generally, and feel differently. But from here it looks like ODOT making a unilateral determination and working behind the scenes and in a non-public way to force a very particular concluding action on Salem City Council and other parties.

But the nature of the matter looks instead like something that should have gone before the Oversight Team as well as City Council for a more public analysis and debate.

Back in June of 2017, or thereabouts, ODOT realized they had missed a September 2016 deadline on the Salem River Crossing. They wrote to the Feds for an extension.

Letter from FHWA Dated August 3rd, 2017
From the Federal Highway Administration's letter back to ODOT in response to the ODOT petition:
Thank you for you June 29, 2017 [before the LUBA remand was issued], letter requesting an extension to the provisions set forth in 23 CFR 630.112(c)(2), commonly referred to as the PE 10-year rule, until September 30, 2019. The Salem River Crossing (SRC) project was first authorized on March 1, 2006 (Oregon Federal-aid Agreements S000(287) and S000(288)), and Oregon thus had until September 30, 2016, to undertake a construction project or repay the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) the sum of Federal funds paid to ODOT under the terms of the agreement. However, FHWA regulations allow a time extension with no repayment of Federal funds, when requested by the State and considered reasonable by FHWA.

The SRC project is complex...FHWA recognizes ODOT's current efforts to actively advance the project through the environmental review process, with the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision scheduled to be completed by December 2017 [didn't happen]. Recognizing the project's many complexities and ODOT's demonstrated commitment to advancing the project through the environmental review process, it is reasonable for FHWA to grant a time extension to ODOT until September 30, 2019....[italics added]

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Congestion Task Force Meets Friday Morning

The Congestion Relief Task Force meets early tomorrow morning. There's not a whole lot new to say, so we'll bury that down at the end, and meander first over a couple of related topics.

Last month at the meeting of the Policy Committee for our local Metropolitan Planning Organization, in the context of conversation about the current Salem City Council politics on the Salem River Crossing, Councilor Lewis indicated he thought that there might be changes to the composition of Council.

Changes to City Council? Yes, indeed!
He got his wish!

I-5 Kuebler to Delany Road Project Doubles to $35 Million, on OTC Agenda

The Portland debate about decongestion pricing will be the lead item at the Oregon Transportation Commission, meeting today in Portland. Eventually this will filter down here, and at some point it seems likely we'll finally be able to have a conversation about decongestion pricing on the Marion and Center Street bridges and perhaps other places in Salem. But at the moment this remains a "third rail" kind of topic. (Full agenda here.)

Decongestion pricing isn't popular, but it's coming
(ODOT report to OTC)
More immediately, the OTC look to approve funding and changes to an I-5 project between in South Salem. The project would roughly double in budget, and add a construction phase to what had been just a design phase.

The background and history is a little interesting - look at the date of the Record of Decision!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bike More Challenge at Mid-Month; Institutional Support Remains Spotty

At mid-month it's always interesting to check in on the Bike More Challenge here in Salem.

Unsurprisingly, it is the small groups that are able to compete statewide best. These results are filtered for Salem-Keizer groups, but the numbered rankings are from the statewide list.

This is a mystery "State of Oregon" group!
(But South Salem Cycleworks is looking to that retirement!)

Northwest Hub is doing well

Ride of Silence Tonight

This evening, May 16th, the Salem 2018 Ride of Silence will be at 6:15pm. John Henry Maurice and Joanne Heilinger of the Salem Bicycle Club will lead the ride, which departs from the "red lot" downtown. All are welcome.

Since 2003 "the mission of the world wide Ride of Silence is to honor bicyclists killed by motorists, promote sharing the road, and provide awareness of bicycling safety."