Friday, May 23, 2014

City Council, May 27th - Part 1, Third Bridge TGM Grant

In a way the City has maneuvered brilliantly.  By applying for a Transportation and Growth Management grant to mitigate effects at the bridgeheads of the proposed giant bridge and highway, they've crafted a delicious double-bind:
TGM concept
  • If the grant is denied, then they have cover for the despoliation of the adjacent districts.
  • If the grant is approved, it provides cover and implied consent for moving forward with the bridge.
Either way, the Bridge wins and nearby residents and citizens generally are screwed.

On Tuesday (not Monday because of Memorial Day), Council will consider a TGM grant application for the Third Bridge.

The report is interesting, as you'd expect.

It's good to see official recognition of one cost: "traffic calming measures will be needed to protect adjacent neighborhoods from cut-through traffic."

But it's also disheartening to read the double-speak:  "Emphasis will be placed on livability improvements, including active transportation choices within the Bridge Districts."  This is nonsense. The biggest livability improvement, of course, comes from not building the giant bridge and highway.

Widening and Ramp Spaghetti in Highland at Pine and Hickory
And if the grant project plan goes forward, it creates development in the next 10 or 20 years that is shaped around the invisible footprint of the proposed bridge and highway. But if, as we sceptics think, our future transportation system will not in fact need this giant bridge and highway, and the plug is pulled at some future point for good, now we have two "bridgehead districts" that are shaped around a "ghost bridge" and essentially effed-up.

Additionally, we have seen many times, solely considered for people on foot and on bike and even on bus, the giant bridge and highway drastically diminishes system connectivity:

It's worth remembering what the State has to say about the TGM program:
A partnership between the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Oregon Transportation and Growth Management Program (TGM) supports community efforts to expand transportation choices for people. By linking land use and transportation planning, TGM works in partnership with local governments to create vibrant, livable places in which people can walk, bike, take transit or drive where they want to go.
If we linked land-use and transportation planning, if we really cared about "vibrant, livable places," we wouldn't be planning for this giant bridge and highway!

The appropriate subject for a TGM grant is how to avoid a giant bridge and highway.

In other words, as we pointed out earlier this week, 1) the TGM program is designed to create solutions in earlier stages of growth that eliminate the need for giant bridges and highways in later stages, and 2) A back-filled "mitigation" for a giant bridge and highway is antithetical to the stated aims of the TGM program.

This is a lousy grant application.

Consider writing Council to let them know.

(In fairness, there are two TGM grant applications. The other one looks terrific, and will be discussed in very positive terms over the weekend in the second post on the Council agenda.)


Susann Kaltwasser said...

I fear what will happen to these proposed bridgehead neighborhoods is what happened the the neighborhood where the city proposed a realignment of Market Street with Swegle Road.

The idea was first proposed in about 1992, but there was no funding, so there was only a very basic sketch for where the road would be relocated.

Some of the area had existing homes and some of it was vacant. Every time someone wanted to build in the area they had to build to accommodate the 'footprint' of the project. This was theoretically good, but it made for some interesting conditions. One was a subdivision that had a vacant strip left for a future road. The other was a nursing home that had to build around the foot print and leave room for paths that might exist some day.

For 20 years 7 property owners lived in limbo. Some people just hoped that they would die before they had to deal with seeing their family homes that they had built and where they had raised their families torn down. Others just moved out right away because they did not want to live with the uncertainty.

Most did not want to make major improvements to their homes. Several became rentals that were kept in just good enough shape to keep a small profit coming.

Some people bought homes in the area not knowing about the future construction project. They bought a house thinking it was going to be next to a vacant lot, only to find out later it would be the major arterial for east-west commuters.

But perhaps most disturbing was that the City put no effort into upgrading the infrastructure. No sidewalks, not sewer or storm drains. When businesses built in the area closest to Lancaster the requirement for half-street improvements or sidewalks was waived...for 20 years!

School children had no sidewalks on one side of the street. The School District couldn't even fix broken sidewalks or put in pavement to help with dirty muddy gravel parking strips in front of the school.

Everything was deferred in anticipation that year after year, bond after bond, did not get constructed.

Now one can look at the area and say, what a great improvement to this area, but for 20 years we had to suffer with blight, uncertainty and safety issues.

Plus, the project that was projected in 1992 to be less than a million dollars ballooned into a $10 million project.

Last summer the project was 80 percent completed and this summer the remaining parts will be done.

This is called planning!

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks, Susann! That's great historical detail and perspective.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Salem Weekly has a note about the fact the bridge is outside of the Urban Growth Boundary.

Forgot about that!

That's another strong reason this is a lousy TGM grant application.