We have learned that the City of Salem has been disqualified for the current round of Oregon Department of Transportation Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Grant funding. The City had proposed bicycle improvements on Winter, Myrtle, and Cherry streets NE as part of a longer-range plan to create a safe route for kids to the Kroc Center.
The reason for the disqualification is that the current project at River Road NE And Riviera Drive NE (where River, Front, Commercial, and Liberty all come together) is not yet complete. It had to be finished on October 1 in order for the City to be eligible for this round of funding.
This is disappointing, but not unprecedented. Of the twenty grants awarded last cycle, only 3 were complete by October 1. By what we might call "prevailing community standards," the grant cycle is apparently on the tight side for communities to be awarded grants in consecutive cycles.
According to the City, the traffic engineer who was managing the project quit last summer, and the city has not hired a replacement. The City is behind on delivering nearly all traffic projects, whether for autos or bicycles or pedestrians.
It is also disappointing because this was ODOT money rather than City money, and we all know that budgets all around will be tightening over the next few years. The City intends to continue to explore interest in the project, but the exploration will move forward in an increasingly dismal budgetary climate. We will have updates on future progress and opportunities for public comment or support.