Friday, January 11, 2019

City Council, January 14th - Crosswalks and Green Bike Lanes

Council meets on Monday the 14th. Councilor Leung will be sworn in for the first time.

Five Crossing Safety Projects
Project estimate is now at $566,220
On the agenda are a couple of intergovernmental agreements with ODOT for walking and biking projects. One is a set of five enhanced crosswalks, some with additional bikeway components on the Winter-Maple Greenway at Pine Street and Fairgrounds Road. These are scheduled for construction in 2020. The very first estimates totalled about $250,000. Once the projects were scoped in more detail, the final estimate and contract was for $566,220. For two reasons this seems unlikely to be sufficient now. These were priced several years ago (notes from 2015 and 2016), and since then construction costs have risen. Additionally, the crossing on Fairgrounds is not a simple one, and though the City has not commented on this directly, it seems almost certain that the project will be phased and that the budget here will only afford partial construction.

There is a second agreement for signal enhancements and green bike lanes, but the project description is still a little vague:
Typical enhancements include intersection lighting upgrades, traffic signal equipment upgrades, the installation of protected/permissive left-turn phasing, and the installation of green bike lanes to alert motorists of the potential presence of bicyclists. One or more of these enhancements will be incorporated at each intersection identified above.
I think this is from the last round of All Roads Transportation Safety funding. Based on that 2016 description, here are the sites for green bike lanes:
But some projects from that 2016 list are not on this most recent list: The Commercial-Vista Corridor projects and Broadway at Pine Street.

The Staff Report does not explicitly reference the ARTS program, and it is unclear how directly the projects in this agreement follow from the ARTS list. (This is a way that transportation funding is rather opaque and mysterious to non-insiders.)

Restaurant concept for 245 Court Street, with some zig-zags
In the information items is a modification to the single-story retail space on the east side of the residential block at the 245 Court Street project.

The earlier plan with sidecar on right
The earlier plan was for a rectilinear building with the storefronts parallel to Court Street.

The new concept has a sawtooth offset for some angles and the whole building is a little smaller. It would also offer a slightly larger plaza for outdoor seating (at the left in the picture at top).

This seems fine!

But it is intersting to note that the basic structure for 245 Court is the same as that of Waterplace: There is the main residential/office block and then a one-story sidecar.

Also a sidecar: Basil & Board at Waterplace
But no door under the sign
A small problem with the sidecar at Waterplace is that it does not relate directly to the sidewalk. You'd expect an entry under the sign at the corner, but it's just windows there. Moreover, the windows along the street are separated by the bark mulch setback. This makes the primary relation to the backside and parking area rather than to the sidewalk and front.

The plan for the sidecar at 245 Court appears to correct for this and has windows, doors, activity, and a relation to the sidewalk. This seems like a distinct improvement on the basic plan of Waterplace.

And if they are successful attracting a restaurant - what a gateway to Riverfront Park!

1996 vision v. 2017 reality
The 245 Court project realizes a little of the 1996 intent
You might remember that the 1996 downtown plan had two plazas on the corner of Front and Court. The housing on the corner with a restaurant and outdoor seating just to the east will realize part of this intent. While it will not be a fully public space it will, especially in the fair weather, be a lure for activity and help bridge gap between downtown and the park across Front Avenue. There will be the Ike Box outpost on the corner at Commercial, and then this cafe space. Together they will attract movement along Court Street.

All in all this is a very promising development.

A couple of things are worth some observations more in passing.

The Mayor will announce assignments to various internal and external committees.

Assignment to SKATS
But on those Council assignments it is interesting to see that Councilor Lewis will again be assigned to our Metropolitan Planning Organization, SKATS.

Councilor Lewis has been, depending on how charitable you feel, either a personality refreshingly independent of Council policy or outright insubordinate.

On the SRC he has consistently acted contrary to Council direction. There are other areas in which it is possible to say he has not very passionately advocated for Council policy and intent, especially when it concerns greenhouse gases or non-auto travel.

It is not difficult to see the Mayor's calculations, his bias for the SRC and preference at SKATS.

But is this something the rest of Council should embrace? The politics are not easy to discern, and it's very possible there are other battles to fight and that this is simply not worth it.

But at the same time, it is strange to have someone at the MPO, which administers significant pots of federal transportation funding, who does not skillfully and passionately advocate for the interests of the City as Council articulates them. Why the tolerance for an underminer?

And there is a proclamation about the 1855 Treaty with the Kalapuya. The proclamation is very ambiguous: On the one hand it seems like it might be celebratory for January 22nd, "Willamette Valley Treaty Commemoration Day"; but on the other hand, it's not clear what is being celebrated. Here's anthropologist David Lewis (no relation to Councilor Lewis) on the treaty:
The Willamette Valley Treaty was designed to remove the tribes from western Oregon, from lands desired by American settlers. When the treaty was finally signed, on January 22th, at Dayton, Oregon, at Joel Palmer’s DLC homestead (Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon). The tribes were ready to sign, to be removed from the vicinity of the whites, and to safety. The chiefs knew that if they remained they would not survive a few more years as the tribal populations were collapsed from diseases, and being worn away through multiple acts of aggression by settlers engaged in the colonization of Oregon.
The proclamation calls for a formal Memorandum of Understanding with improved "protocols" for communicating with tribal representatives at Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

This is important history and maybe there will be more to say. If the first deed in Marion County was filed in 1854, but the treaty was signed in 1855, it is easy to see some of the messy nature of our land ownership scheme and the dispossession it required.

August 15th, 1918
Bullets for the rest:
Addendum, January 12th

The corner non-entry for Basil & Board is confusing enough that they have added a sort of Burma Shave sign sequence directing people to the main entry!

If you need signs for your main entry, there's a problem

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Added photo and note on Basil & Board Burma signs