Sunday, February 1, 2009

City Council Meeting

City Council tonight has several interesting bike items buried in the consent agenda. First is the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway signage. They also will take up the stimulus package and selection criteria for the just-passed bond measure.

The Stimulus Package Priorities are mostly big road projects. They include:
Union Street Railroad Bridge connection to Glen Creek Road
Completing 12th Street Pedestrian Promenade at Mill
The total is about 1% of perhaps $70 Million worth of projects. It's nice to see two bike projects included in them, but they meet only the minimum spirit of the 1% bike bill requirement (though I don't know whether these would pass through the state highway fund and therefore be subject to that 1% requirement). Projects leveraged with the stimulus package could be a bold move forward! But this is mostly more of the same.

The City is also proposing selection criteria for individual projects in the "safety improvement categories" part of the recent bond measure. According to the summary
staff recommends that City Council approve the selection criteria contained in the report for identifying individual Streets and Bridges General Obligation Bond projects in the following safety improvement categories: Core Area Curb Extensions for Transit and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Access, Pedestrian Crossing and Neighborhood Traffic Calming Measures, Missing Sidewalks and Bicycle Lanes to Schools and Parks, and Railroad Crossing Safety Improvement Projects.
In the "sidewalks and bicycle lanes" section, they identified the following criteria:These look great.

But. The next criterion is to ask whether the project is "already adopted into the unfunded CIP, Salem TSP, Parks Master Plan, associated neighborhood plan, or other adopted study or plan? Is it currently supported by the affected neighborhood association, Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Salem-Keizer School District, or Salem-Keizer Transit District?

While it seems reasonable to ask for public support, the kind of institutionalized and formalized support the criterion cites (TSP, School District, etc) has been backward looking and has generally failed to catch up to bicycle engineering best practices and to the realities of peak oil and climate change.

We think the City should lead, not follow! This document represents progress, but isn't bold as we would like, and enforces a stance of following.

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

The minutes to the meeting (pdf) show that the bikeway, stimulus, and bond items all passed without amendment.