Saturday, September 24, 2016

City Council, September 26th - Low Income Housing and Transportation Burden

Council meets Monday and there are some interesting things on the agenda - but just summary bullet points today. Next week I may return to back-fill with more extensive notes, but maybe not. The meeting agenda wasn't posted 'til Thursday, and the first weekend of fall promises what might just be a summery last hurrah. You've probably got better things, too! (And the week before the UGB hearing on the 12th will be a dispiriting slog in the civics mire.)

Low-income Housing

Totally car-dependent
City has leverage with the Hospital and should have used it on Howard Hall:
Other bits
Again, some of these might merit more comment with an update early next week. Know something about one or more of them, chime in with a comment!

But that's all for now. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cherriots: Stockholm Syndrome on SRC, Boardings down 11%,

Tomorrow the 22nd the Cherriots Board meets for a light agenda, mostly of reports.

One of them is on the Salem River Crossing Board Subcommittee, who met last month. It is dispiriting to pick on Cherriots, who have already suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, but these minutes on the SRC suggest a neutralized Board, insufficiently critical and engaged on the costly, risky SRC and what would be the biggest infrastructure project in a generation.
President Krebs shared the Board’s concerns that the Alternative Modes Study needs to be implemented with the transit alternatives as well. One bus can take 40 people to a destination. It is not a huge infrastructure cost. Clover leafs at the end of the bridge might be a problem for the buses.

Mr. Pollock advised that the Board as a matter of record was supportive of the “Salem Alternative” as the preferred alternative but prepared a statement that was to be included in the SRC Environmental Impact Statement in order to avoid additional costs and design conflicts, advising that bus stop locations and construction should be coordinated with the District; and other supportive amenities such as park and ride lots, transit centers, bus queue jump lanes and transit signal priority were also to be considered as part of the design of the overall project.
Cherriots support for SRC
Letter from July 15th, 2013
Reprinted in Board Packet, December 9th, 2013
Wait, does GM Pollock work for the Board, or does the Board work for him?

In all seriousness, what is in the SRC for Cherriots? What benefit does Cherriots derive from the SRC and its Preferred Alternative?

Maybe you will read this differently, but if there were benefits to Cherriots, it seems like they would emerge clearly and easily in discussion. Instead, it seems obvious that nearly all of the consequences for Cherriots will be negative ones. It's the costs, not benefits, that are highlighted.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Salem Falls again in Bicycling Magazine Rankings, from 38th to 47th

The good news is Bicycling Magazine still ranks Salem in the top 50 cities for bicycling. The bad news is we continue to fall in the rankings relative to other cities. This year we are 47th.

From #19 in 2010 to #38 in 2014
Salem's ranking has traced a steady downward arc, going from #19 in 2010, to #22 in 2012, to #38 in 2014.

It's also a little hard to square a top 50 ranking with "miles of bike lanes in Salem...woefully inadequate."

Your mileage may vary - but the high level observation remains true: By national standards Salem is pretty good, but by absolute or international standards, Salem still rates poorly.

The LAB renewal will come out soon - Keizer you may have heard submitted an application! - and it will be interesting to see how our "bronze" fares in that round of evaluation.

Both Eugene and Portland ranked higher than Salem on the Bicycling Magazine ratings - but not Corvallis, Ashland, Beaverton, or Bend, each of which is rated "silver" or "gold" by the LAB. Those are interesting omissions, though they may have missed a cut based on population size.

Also interesting in the piece:
In addition to its work on a greenway network, in 2016, Salem will strip its first buffered bike lanes on two downtown streets, and launch a bike share system in 2017.
Bike share in Salem next year? Hmmm....

Also not quite sure about the geographic accuracy here:
On the 132-mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway you’ll pedal alongside the Cascade Mountains and the Coast Range, through the Cubanisimo Vineyard, which produces some of the best Pinot Noir in the country, and amidst the refreshing fragrances of pink and purple wildflowers. Make a pit stop in Salem, about 30 miles into the Bikeway, for shortcake topped with local berries at the E.Z. Orchards Farm Market.
These are puff pieces, and maybe it is unrealistic to expect close-to-the-ground detail.

But even if you still want to celebrate Salem's top 50 standing, it is also important to note that we are losing ground relative to other cities, who seem more eager to give bike transport and bike recreation a bigger portion of the transportation mix.

West Salem NA on Salem River Crossing and 2nd Street/Marine Drive Plan

Earlier this month, SCAN voted for a resolution recommending
the Salem City Council stop all work planning for a third bridge in Salem and turn attention to 1) locating fund to retrofit the existing bridges so they are operational after a major earthquake, 2) review remaining recommendations from the 1998 SKATS [...] to improve traffic flow and safety of the existing bridges, and 3) finding low-cost and no-cost ways to reduce single occupancy vehicle commuting during peak hours.
SCAN resolution against SRC
via N3B
The West Salem Neighborhood Association meets tonight, and they could have an opportunity to do the same.

From the agenda:
[4] Old Business
  • UGB Expansion and Upcoming October 12th Salem Alternative Crossing Public Hearing;
  • 2nd Street Feasibility Study Follow-up – Tory Banford – City of Salem;
  • Salem Planning Commission Hearing Re: Development on Glen Creek and 9th Street update;
  • Park and Grant Ideas – Linda Bierly;
A few years back, WSNA had opposed the Salem River Crossing, but the vote was close, and it has seemed like the current board and active members of the Neighborhood Association are more in favor of the Salem River Crossing and the associated Land Use actions coming up next month.

But if folks packed the meeting, it might be possible to turn the tide!

The West Salem Neighborhood Association meets at 7pm at Roth’s West, Mezzanine level, at 1130 Wallace Rd NW, tonight, Monday the 19th.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Rally, Public Hearing Thursday at Capitol Opportunity to Talk Transportation and Safety

On Thursday, September 22nd at 5pm, the Joint Interim Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization will hold a Public Hearing at the Capitol.

Our own Senator Jackie Winters is a committee member.

This is the final stop on a statewide tour of hearings and listening sessions. Previously they made stops in:
  • Portland
  • Ontario
  • Hermiston
  • Eugene
  • Bend
  • Medford
  • Newport
  • Hillsboro
At least theoretically, all this is to prepare for a large "transportation package" at the Legislature in next year's session.

New Downtown Housing Proposed for Corner of Front and Court

Here we go, there's no drive-through coffee shack for this corner!

Old Safeway at 245 Court - time for redevelopment!
Last month at CANDO there was talk about a new downtown housing project proposed for the corner of Front and Court downtown. Application for design review was just filed with the City this week, and the Downtown Advisory Board meets next week and will consider a grant application for $740,000 Urban Renewal funds to support the project. They're moving fast!

From the Urban Renewal application:
The redevelopment proposal [currently estimated at $9 million total] comprises a 43,790 square foot mixed-use building with 40 residential apartments on four floors over parking, ancillary uses and commercial space. The retail building is designed as a one story building of approximately 2,180 square feet. Parking is provided in an open garage and a surface lot that is tucked behind the buildings...A landscaped plaza is planned for the open area between the two structures and will provide both private and public open space...
Corner of Court and Front
The project site, approximately the quarter block at the northeast corner of Front and Court, is a parking lot with the early 1940s Safeway, and it seems likely the old Safeway will be demolished. No matter. The lot is just outside the downtown historic district, so it's not protected by that, and new housing is an unambiguously higher use for the land than repurposing the old grocery store shell, which had been remodeled already for offices. It has been vacant for a while anyway, and didn't seem to be in very high demand. Housing will be great. The small plaza and disposition of the parking sound appropriately urban.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Nursing Home at Boise Finally to go Before Planning Commission

Hey look, it's details and a Hearing Notice on the proposed Nursing Home for the Boise Project!

The Nursing Home's a done deal, it is what is is, and so even though it has seemed a really suboptimal use of the parcel, we'll stop complaining (mostly).

And in fact, right off, procedurally there's something very nice to note about the Hearing Notice. It's not a scanned image of a print out! It's a native pdf, and even though people grouse about pdfs, at least you can select text and embed links.

And even better, in it is embedded a link to the drawings.

That right there is a meaningful improvement on the way the City shares and publishes information. Maybe it will stick! (The other recently published notice is old-style and bad.)

So. What do we have?

Well, a lot of parking lot it seems.

But note that the Nursing Home's footprint is the dark shadow in addition to the beige building, and a good bit of the parking will be open, ground-floor carport style (see elevation views below). The main axis of the building will parallel the creek and be oriented to that rather than to the streets or sidewalks. The north part of the parking lot looks to be shared with the forthcoming Triangle Building, so that's a mitigating factor. All that lot is not just for the nursing home, and the building mass is bigger than it maybe looks from just the plan view.