(Maybe you see something more optimistically?)
And much more than policy and ideas, which seemed especially insignificant this time, the year was about people and politics.
Although there is little to say here, the most important transportation stories of 2016 arise out of the National election in November and the City Council elections settled in May. The further resignation of another Councilor in November and the subsequent March 2017 election could decisively shape Council. Things seem likely to change on both local and national levels. If the Legislature can manage, 2017 might also bring a new funding package.
|Councilors-elect Cara Kaser, Matt Ausec, and Sally Cook|
join Councilor Tom Andersen in May
(Tom Andersen's public Council Facebook)
Hopefully we can "right-size" things in 2017.
|City report on walking deaths|
- Olivia Stroup
- Jaren Nash
- Alex Armes
- Anthony Earnest
- Baxter Harrell
- Unknown (just outside Salem)
- Bradley Goad (in Silverton)
The City and volunteer organizers cancelled Sunday Streets for 2016, and it is not clear what its prospects really are for 2017.
The City and property owner missed an opportunity to redevelop the downtown Barrick Funeral Home in an interesting way, and instead let it become a drive-through coffee shack. (Here, here, and here.) Instead of being developed to its highest use (or even just a higher use), the lot was redeveloped to just about the lowest possible use, hardly better than a surface parking lot.
|Buffers, Plastic Wand, "Yield to Bikes" at Church & State|
- New buffered lanes through downtown on Church and High Streets (here and here)
- The reconfigured landing with bike traffic signals on the Bush Park/South side of Mission and Winter
- A new crosswalk on 19th and Market
- The accommodation for bikes at 25th and Madrona
- Bike counters on Union Street Railroad Bridge
- The Minto Bridge construction happened, but opening was delayed until 2017
Planning in Process
Several studies percolated and could promise good things in the future. But they were far from finished or guaranteed.
- Several new enhanced crosswalks for a section of Portland Road
- A pump track for Geer Park (here and here)
- A private group working on a small bikeshare project
- Modest progress on the concept of the second street underpass to connect the Union Street Railroad Bridge across Wallace Road (most recently here)
- Starting work for the Maple-Winter bike boulevards, including nearly certain funding for two key crossings
- The State Street study carried on with some preliminary concepts.
Programming and Development
Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns came to visit in October, and more than any other walking/planning/health advocacy visit and talk in recent memory, it seemed to have some traction and to engage a wider group of people. It left a deposit of useful concepts to which citizens return on issue after issue.
Northwest Hub continued to build out its programming, and that was great to see.
Salem Area Trail Alliance unveiled the Catamount Trail this Spring at Silver Falls, and it may be that SATA is the most vibrant bike project in Salem at the moment. (It's great to see, of course, but that recreational focus also might be a sign of how much we are lagging in projects for urban and utility cycling.)
Just Walk Salem won some awards, and it will be interesting to watch its advocacy efforts grow in 2017.
Travel Salem revised its bike maps (but still needs work) and is working on a better understanding of and marketing for bike tourism.
Greenbaum's Quilted Forest closed (here and here), and the Salem Summit Shop purchased the building. At one generational transition many years ago, Greenbaum's had successfully resisted becoming a parking lot or parking structure, and it was good to see the building navigate another generational transition, staying local, and the storefront reborn with an outdoorsy, fitness focus.
The 245 Court Street apartments (and here) will juice a quiet segment of Court Street and provide more downtown housing, so it will be great to see that project go up in 2017.
The LAB also didn't announce any renewal for Salem in the fall 2016 round of "bicycle-friendly communities" and that's just something to register for the moment. That should have been our cycle for recertification. Salem did fall again in the Bicycling Magazine rankings. Rankings have their limits, of course, but in a very general way they confirm the lack of progress or of urgency on biking in Salem.
That's what strikes me. There wasn't an obvious "top 10" list or anything. 2016 was not a year for inspiration or to observe a neat or insightful theme. In the public realm, it provided more occasion for grief and sorrow than wonder, delight, or confidence.
Did you have a meaningfully different read on 2016? See a pattern that snaps everything into a different light?
(See previous "year in review" posts.)
Here's a large-scale structural element that probably belongs in a year-end round up: Cheap Gas. Cherriots boardings were down, and driving is trending up again.
|Driving (blue) goes up when gas (red) goes down! 2000-2016|
(See discussion on Cherriots and at City Observatory)