Monday, June 7, 2010

Time to Revisit RR Crossing on Front and State?

The Statesman today has an article about the Boise Cascade site. While there are many intersecting issues with the idea, and the online comments get at many of them, something not mentioned is whether the difficulties developing the site provide an opportunity to revisit the decision to close State Street at the Carousel and further cut off Riverfront Park from downtown.

According to the article,
Salem Mayor Janet Taylor said the city is interested in buying portions of the 13-acre riverfront site in downtown for a park. The city's urban renewal agency is currently gathering information about the property and doing other due diligence, Taylor said.
In 2007, Salem developers Dan Berrey and Larry Tokarski teamed up to buy the Boise Cascade property at Commercial and Trade streets for $7.25 million. Mixed-use development has been proposed for the site.

Developers say they are making progress, but it's been slow going because of the troubled economy.

Taylor said "more than one parcel" has been offered for sale by the site's private developers. She declined to say how many acres were being considered for purchase

The decision to close State Street was based on a particular configuration with the development. As this configuration looks increasingly less likely, it would seem wiser to plan traffic circulation - including transit, foot-traffic, bicycle-traffic, and other active transportation - around the new development and not seek to impose an awkward street and circulation plan on a new development footprint. Moreover, once the bridge to Minto gains traction, its sight-lines and natural traffic flow would be along State Street.

(Background and more here, here, here, and here.)


Walker said...

MWVBTA FTW! Great reminder about an important double-facepalm-of-fail decision that is totally needless and now shown to be so. Good for you.

Stephanie Matlock Allen said...

Chuck Bennett mentioned this up on his Facebook page today.

He said: "The Mayor announced possible city purchase of part of the Boise Cascade site and add it to Riverfront Park. It's about 5 acres and the asking price is around $6 million. What do you think? Mine is to rescind the city's application to close the State Street rail crossing and entrance to the park (in front of the Carousel)."

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks for the news, Stephanie! I wish I could be so confident, Walker, about a "win," but I am not. Nevertheless this is progress, and we should try to capitalize on it!