Monday, September 1, 2014

Sanity Prevails on TGM Grant Applications! State Street Wins; Bridge Fails

Remember the Transportation and Growth Management grant applications from earlier this year? One was for a State Street "refinement plan" and the other was for the Salem Alternative bridgehead districts.

State Street Corridor as Mixed Use Zone - streetcar scaled

Land Use Plan for Bridgehead Districts
Guess what?! One was funded and one was not.

Yes, a few days before the big weekend, maybe a little buried, last week ODOT/DLCD sent out a press release on the awards:
SALEM - The Transportation and Growth Management program, a 21-year partnership between ODOT and the Department of Land Conservation and Development, has announced the recipients of more than $2.5 million for transportation and land use planning efforts. Transportation and Growth Management grants support communities in Oregon that are working to create vibrant, livable places where people can walk, bike, take transit or drive where they want to go.

For this annual funding cycle, the Transportation and Growth Management program received 40 applications requesting $4,558,916. After reviews, twenty applicants were chosen to receive $2,590,864.
The full list of awards is here.

Unsurprisingly, Salem's good application was approved and the lousy application failed to make the cut. N3B had submitted several letters in critique of the bridgehead application, and it is great to see they weren't for naught!

The funded project, the State Street Refinement Plan,
aims to revitalize State Street into a vibrant, attractive, walkable mixed-use corridor through coordinated land use and transportation improvements. It will result in street cross sections that illustrate how State Street can be transformed within its constrained right-of-way into a welcoming environment for all transportation modes. Zoning regulations and design standards will also be developed to encourage pedestrian-friendly redevelopment and mixed-use development.
As always with a new study, and especially with this one, this is full of huge servings of potential win. We can do as much or as little as we really want with this, and if we grab the vision and decide to fund it, many things are possible.

But it could be another pallid "shelf study," too, just gathering dust after its completion.

In any case - blank slate, think blank slate!

The contractual and administrative preliminaries take about a year - last year's "middle Commercial" study might kick off this month finally with the public components - so hopefully next late summer or early fall the State Street study will hold its public kick-off.


Susann Kaltwasser said...

I hope that the bridge head study is dead, but don't count on it. At the West Salem NA meeting a few months ago staff was asked the question what would they do if they do not get the grant. The answer was that the City would have to look to internal sources to continue the project and or look for other funding sources. This is a project that just won't die. I suspect it is because several staff members jobs depend on keeping it going.

Jim Scheppke said...

This is a good victory for NO 3rd Bridge which mounted a letter writing campaign telling ODOT to turn down the application. It would have been a big waste of ODOT's money because this bridge will never be built. There is no state or federal money for it and local folks will not want to raise their property taxes or pay tolls on the Marion and Center Street bridges to pay for it. Now ODOT needs to pull the plug somehow on the planning money that is already in the pipeline and lining the pockets of an out-of-state consultant, CH2M HILL, to the tune of many thousands of dollars a month.

Gary said...

Yes, the State Street project has a lot of potential. The street right now looks like a left-over from the days before the Mission Street monstrosity was built. With Mission Street now built, I'd wonder about allowing State Street to be reconfigured to better-serve adjacent land use instead of a thru-traffic function.