Monday, February 24, 2020

Local Wineries that Profess Sustainability should rethink Airport Support

While we watch the latest episode of Calhounian Reactionary Nullification at the Capitol, over the weekend it was dismaying to note the local winery enthusiasm for "the return of commercial air service to Salem."

Boosters for the airport held a "Come Fly with Me" fund-raiser Saturday night with tickets starting at $150 a person.
Taste the best of the Willamette Valley as 15+ wineries pour in one location! Sip as you feast on a beautiful meal, and seize your opportunity to bid on unique and one-of-a-kind auction packages.

Proceeds from the event go to further the effort to restore commercial air service to the Salem Airport.
The effort has attracted formal support from the Oregon Wine Board and Willamette Valley Wineries Association in addition to the individual wineries that were pouring for the dinner and auction.

Do the wineries really think things through?
But the wineries and their trade associations should know better than almost anyone other than a scientist about the effects of greenhouse gases and warming. They have the record of summer temperatures and harvest dates in the vineyards. They great data!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Keizer Names a very Bikey First Citizen, Scenic Bikeways at the Capitol

Here's some old and pleasant news that deserves more notice!

Last month the Keizer Chamber named Hersch Sangster First Citizen. He's a long-time Salem Bicycle Club member and past President, a former Cherriots Board Member, and current Ride Salem Board Member.

Hersch Sangter, Keizer First Citizen - via Keizer Times
They write:
Hersch, is a man who has mentored and served Keizer in multiple ways for many years. He is “the guy people want to know and be around”. He has a deep passion for transportation and cycling.

Hersch and his wife, Marianne, have lived in Keizer for many years. He is an active community servant, participating with community organizations and boards such as SE Keizer Neighborhood Association, Salem-Keizer Mass Transit, Keizer Rotary, McNary High School Boosters (band and athletic), and the City of Keizer Bikeways/Traffic Committee.

Hersch has a remarkable talent for getting things done and being exceptionally kind to all around him. His deep love for cycling has fostered his approach to bringing access and safety to all.

Hersch “got caught” doing great things for Keizer, and the short list of honorees who have come before him are proud to see his name added.
You can read a longer piece on Sangster at the Keizer Times.

Friday, February 21, 2020

City Council, February 24th - Win on Parking

Earlier this month Council made a strong move towards comprehensive parking reform when at first reading they strengthened the multi-family and missing middle housing code amendments. The ordinance is up for second reading and enactment on Monday, and this is a great step.

From the updated Staff Report on parking:
The proposed code amendment would calibrate parking requirements according to the type of units provided in developments with 13 or more units. For example, one space would be required for each studio and one-bedroom unit, but 1.5 spaces would be required for each two- or more bedroom unit. This recognizes that dwelling units with more bedrooms are more likely to house residents with more than one car.

The proposed code amendment would also reduce off-street parking requirements for smaller multifamily projects. Specifically, the requirements for housing with three to 12 units would be required to provide one space per unit. Currently, a three-unit project is generally required to provide two spaces per unit, and a four to 12-unit project is required to provide 1.5 spaces per unit. Reducing these requirements would make it easier to develop smaller developments by providing more space for housing units instead of parking stalls. (Developers could build more parking than the minimum requirement.) The current parking requirements have made it very challenging for property owners to develop smaller projects on smaller lots, with many often abandoning their plans.

As mentioned above, the City Council voted to eliminate minimum parking requirements for multifamily projects in the Central Salem Development Program (CSDP) area and Cherriot’s Core Network. The CSDP area is generally located between Hood Street NE to the north, Mission Street SE to the south, the Willamette River to the west, and 12th Street to the east (Attachment 7). Salem’s downtown is more likely to support multifamily units with little to no parking than other locations in the city. It is an urban environment where goods, services, and entertainment are generally within walking distance, and there are multiple options for alternative forms of transportation, including frequent transit service. There are also City-owned parking facilities in the downtown that could provide additional parking spaces to residents that want to lease an off-street parking space.

The Core Network is a network of bus service corridors where frequent service is prioritized. The corridors include, in part, Commercial Street SE, Liberty Street SE, Lancaster Drive NE, Market Street NE, Center Street NE, State Street, Edgewater Street NW, and Salem’s Downtown (Attachment 8). Reduction or removal of service in the corridors cannot occur without the Cherriots’ Board of Directors holding a public hearing and taking action. This Planning Commission recommendation is reflected in the ordinance; it further incents transit-oriented development and workforce housing.

In addition, the proposed code amendment would allow a 10 percent off-street parking reduction for developments within a quarter-mile of a transit stop, and it would allow reductions for multifamily projects that provide additional covered bicycle parking or a shared car/van service on site. This provides an incentive for multifamily housing to be located near transit stops and encourages alternative forms of transportation. A 20 percent reduction in required parking spaces would also be allowed for multifamily developments within a quarter-mile of stops with 15-minute transit service, as recommended by the Planning Commission.

Under the proposed code amendment, parking reductions would also be allowed for affordable housing units, which are those affordable to household with incomes equal to or less than 80 percent of the median family income for the county in which the property is located. This would incent the development of lower-priced housing and workforce housing. [italics added]
I'm not sure everything is cleaned up and consistent?
But look at the two italicized passages from the Staff Report. Aren't the 15-minute service bus stops essentially identical with the Core Network? I'm not sure it's clear on when a 20% reduction is allowed and when there is no minimum required. Separately, the summary chart also uses 25%, not 20%. There might be a little clean-up and clarification needed yet on the support materials and perhaps even in code itself.

But the overall policy goal remains clear.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Susan B. Anthony visits Salem in 1871

Salem Reporter just published a nice piece on Willamette University Prof Cindy Richards and her research on women suffrage in the Pacific Northwest. "As U.S. celebrates 100 years of women voting, Willamette professor chronicles how Oregon suffragists won the ballot" is worth a read!

In Portland, September 8th, 1871
Transportation news here is slow. SKATS even cancelled next week's Policy Committee meeting for our MPO, and there's just not a lot to comment on right now.

But in that article is a nice tidbit about Salem.

"Miss Anthony's success at Salem
was as complete as at Portland"
September 22nd, 1871
On her 200th birthday the other day Susan B. Anthony had a google doodle, and I had wondered if she'd ever been to Salem. I did not chase after it very hard though, and I did not come up with anything. Published remarks in 1906 from an April memorial service in Salem did not mention an earlier visit, nor did the local obituary published on March 17th, 1906.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Causes of Downtown Struggle: Insuffient Free Parking or Loss of Residences?

"There are problems the market can't solve.
Parking isn't one of them"
It was nice to see this Strong Towns post circulating on local discussion groups, but some of the responses are strange.

Asphalt soteriology and asphalt socialism
While some people say that free parking was key to downtown survival in the late 20th century, I think this is wrong. Downtown never really prospered during that period and people constantly fretted and complained there wasn't enough parking. People who make this claim about free parking "saving" downtown can't point to a golden age of downtown when it was actually "saved," a period when we had enough parking and businesses were thriving. Instead, in the 80s and 90s and thereafter there is a constant refrain of complaint about imperiled downtown vitality and always wanting more parking as if that was the solution. But even with the devotion to free parking, and with the free garages that remained only 50% full, downtown struggled.

In the second half of the 20th century we hollowed out the city, and people would have gone further, killing the patient to "save" the patient.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Police Surprised at Amount of Speeding

Even the Police said "eye-opening"
It was nice to see the front page article today on speeding and automated camera enforcement for speeding and red light violations.

But it's still framed up as almost like service journalism: Don't get caught doing this basically innocent thing we know everybody is doing! The dominant frame is about driver convenience - don't be inconvenienced by a ticket - rather than about road safety and our obligation to other road users.

The full lethality of driving and driving speed is evaded a little.

But look at the scope of the problem:
Once the speed tracking capabilities went live at the intersection of Fisher and Silverton roads NE, more than 1,100 speeding tickets were issued in October, November and December — nearly three times the number of tickets issued to red-light runners at the same intersection in the same three months.
10mph makes a huge difference - via Placemakers
And remember also that a person really has to be speeding to be ticketed, and a certain apparently "banal" level of speeding of one to 10mph over the limit is tolerated:
When a vehicle approaches an intersection going 11 mph or more over the limit, the system triggers the camera to capture the image of the vehicle and records its speed.
The fact that we're surprised remains surprising. Public Works and transportation planners routinely conduct and have access to speed studies, and the 85th percentile engineering doctrine nearly always discloses astonishing levels of speeding.

Here's one from right in front of Statesman-Journal-HQ from the Commercial-Vista Corridor study of a few years ago.

From the Commercial Vista Corridor study
If they were surprised at 1,100 over three months,
how about 4000 a day! (red comments added)
So it's great to see more visibility for the problem of speeding, but it would be nice to see the frame shift so that we don't talk about "inconvenience" to drivers anymore, and about expectations for speed and free-flow, and instead we talk primarily about the way speeding inconveniences and harms people on foot, on bike, and others in cars.

The harm and problem is speeding, not the ticket or any intrusive nanny state.

See also:

Friday, February 14, 2020

City Council, February 18th - Climate Action Plan - updated

The first half of this month has already brought news about record warmth in Antarctica with temperatures in the mid- and even upper-60s.

"climate change is related
to the growing extinction risk"
(February 8th)
The drip-drip-drip of other signs and alarms continues unabated.

Pinot in Peril:
Our Pinot Noir vineyards are at risk
They will likely be grafted over
to warmer climate grapes
(January 28th)
Council meets on Tuesday because of the holiday, and they'll conduct the Work Session on Council goals and policy originally scheduled for January that was postponed to address street camping and homelessness.