|Cop shop as playground? Look at all the kids!|
Corner of Division and Commercial,
from mid-block, looking NW (see image below)
First off, where are all those little kids and their bikes are going to come from?!
That does not seem at all like a realistic expression for the street system here. Bike boulevards are recommended for local streets with less than 2,000 trips per day. Commercial directly in front of the station has over 30,000 trips per day. (But you know that it was a major arterial!) Even Division at the picture image has about 10,000 trips per day. If we want to encourage biking here, better facilities will be necessary. But really, this immediate neighborhood is not likely to be hospitable for kids on bikes, nor is it likely that the Police Station will be a drive-to destination for families to unload the bikes for family fun.
All the people in the picture are props in a fabulist interpretation, quite over-optimistic.
Do you remember the load of chickens in that crash a few years back?
|On the doorstep of the Police Station site|
|Commercial at Division, Northbound|
That is another element of fabulism.
There will be bollards and barricades!
The building too will be reinforced, and it seems unlikely there will be so much glass. Maybe there will actually be a way to have a public foyer and any community space be glazed that way, but it seems unlikely.
In response to a question about this a while back, a member of the local design and consultant team wrote:
you bring up valid points regarding the use of glass on a public safety facility. This is an artist’s rendition of what the building could look like. While there is not yet a design, the building will have a balance between safety features and the comfort of the users. Bullet resistant glass is usually used on the ground level of buildings like this. Overall threat assessment and seismic design will commence once an architect has been selected. Cost, energy efficiency, and natural light will also be factors in determining how much glass is used on the façade. The majority of the glass you see in this image is conceptually where the community room and entrance lobby would be.It's too strong to say the whole image was a confection to shore up support for the bond, but it's also at an extreme end of the spectrum of probable outcomes. It's something of an outlier and not very realistic or representative.
|Proposed UGM center (2014)|
Directly across the street from the Police Station site
Using children as props in the image also underscored the irony in the fact that Council chose not to protect children at the Library in the measure itself and to split off the Library issue. On the new City bond site, they wrote
In February 2017, City Council held a work session and unanimously decided to split the Library upgrades from the police facility. This maintains the Library upgrades and police facility funding as two separate issues. By keeping the issues separate, residents will be able to express their opinion on the bonds as individual items rather than a bundled package.That pretty directly courts defeating the Library upgrade, doesn't it? It will be "ok" if opinion is not to save lives at the Library. This is an unseemly neutrality.
Moreover, the City and "Friends of Salem Police" will go all out for the Police Station bond, but it seems unlikely they will show the same enthusiasm for the Library.
Reasonable people will been on both sides of this bond measure for the Police station. But prospects for November in the face of a Schools bond do not seem very optimistic for the Library. It may be that the win for a needed Police facility will be a very bittersweet one indeed.
In any event, now that have passed the bond, it is interesting and important to ask, if we do in fact want our new Police Station to be a gathering place and focus for families and kids on this corner or nearby, what do we need to do to ensure this actually happens? More generally, what do we need to do in order to knit the building into the neighborhood fabric so that even while it is protected as necessary it is also not a fortress and bunker? With the UGM facility, this could become a small "district" of people in crisis, and it will be important to creation connections and invitations so it is not isolated or forbidding. Just as our social practices should seek to reintegrate people after crises, so should our urban fabric also enact connectivity.
|Same corner today - Commercial and Division NE|