The meeting slides and boards are posted and in the second half they broke up into small groups.
And from here the biggest problem looks like our increasingly counter-productive obsession with Levels of Service for automobiles and the antiquated mobility standards that are behind it.
The goal of the project has to be to meet mobility targets for people by means other than drive-alone trips - by means other than mobility targets for cars alone.
If we don't want State Street to look like it currently exists, then measuring it for 2035 by the standards that led us to this exact outcome in 2015 is methodologically totally wrong. If we want a different outcome, we need different measurements.
Digression on Traffic Modeling for 2035
Briefly, the mobility standards for 2035 are problematic for two reasons.
The first is math and science. The model is broken and no longer corresponds to reality.
|In 2014 the FHWA revised modeling;|
Salem is still using older assumptions from 2005 or before
Here in Salem the modeling that underlies claims that intersections will be at or above capacity in 2035 continues to rely on 20th century assumptions that are no longer true.
Empirically, the model is broken, and we cannot trust its assessments.
The other reason we should be doubtful about claims for 2035 capacity is about values, not math.
We have said in our highest level policy document, the Salem Area Comprehensive Plan, that
transportation system and demand management measures, enhanced transit service, and provision for bicycle and pedestrian facilities shall be pursued as a first choice for accommodating travel demand and relieving congestion in a travel corridor, before widening projects are constructed.This clearly applies here!
The "first choice for accommodating travel demand and relieving congestion in a travel corridor [like State Street!], before widening projects are constructed" should be provisions for things other than drive-alone trips.
It's right there, in black and white. We should not let some hypothetical demand and a faulty model for 2035 constrain our vision here.
It's time that our studies actually enact the values we profess to hold.
Back to the Study
Like so other recent studies, if we don't change the analytical frame, we will start with optimism and end in a pallid, timid set of minor, incremental changes that don't alter the underlying structural problems.
So it looks like an important area for criticism and comment right off the bat is to say that this study by its very nature means that a commitment to mobility standards for 2035 is inappropriate and that alternate mobility targets need to be developed and adhered to.
If we judge this project by car traffic only, it is doomed to failure.
In response, the project team correctly identifies some of the great bones that are underneath the corridor!
This will be a route to the gradual erosion of vision for the project and yield a dim set of minor, incremental improvements. The project team will say "we tried," but "the ideas didn't meet requirements for auto capacity in 2035." What a sad epitaph that would be.
For previous notes on the State Street Study see here.
Here's a cartoon that illustrates a back-n-forth in the comments below:
Making walking, biking & transit delightful will mean reprioritizing at every scale of city design. (Andy Singer) pic.twitter.com/ISVxl3W3QX— Brent Toderian (@BrentToderian) March 16, 2016