Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Historic Landmarks Commission to Discuss State Hospital Park Restoration

Thursday night at 5:30pm, the Historic Landmarks Commission will discuss the proposal for restoring the historic park and grounds at the State Hospital.

Because Center street is busy and can be tricky for many people, the preliminary draft concepts in the bike plan update include a shared-use path connection across Center Street between 24th and 23rd NE. This would take people on bike through the State Hospital grounds.

(The route is in dashed purple behind the label "bobolink." It would connect with sharrows on 24th and 23rd, indicated in dashed light blue.)

Here's a pre-demolition and construction aerial shot with the proposed path marked in green:

As you might imagine, there are multiple and sometimes conflicting needs to be balanced. As on the Capitol Mall - and several other places - an operating water fountain constitutes a liability concern, and the Hospital proposes a trade-off in order to preserve public access to the park area. By leaving the restored fountain dry, and filling it with pebbles as a water substitute, the Hospital is willing to leave the park open. If the fountain must operate, the park would be fenced.

Since there are other options for north-south travel in the area, this is not a critical connection. But it would be nice to preserve the possibility of a nicer crossing at Center Street and the picturesque ramble through the park. Hopefully the Landmarks Commission and Hospital will be able to land on a compromise that preserves public access.

The Commission meets Thursday, July 21, 2011, 5:30 P.M. in Council Chambers at the Civic Center.


d. davis said...

Strange that they would need to put a fence surrounding the entire park. I would have expected a fence* immediately around any open water features. That shortcut was welcome on my commute down Center to connect with the Chemeketa bike boulevard but the light at the 24th/Center intersection has usually been sensitive to bikes.

* Or landscape barrier like they installed around the Sprague fountain on the Capitol Mall.

Also, this might represent a change in how they secure/patrol the area. Friends have said they were asked to leave that section of the park while playing frisbee but were allowed on the grounds near D St and 25th.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Dang! A member of the Advisory Committee reports that this route concept got axed and will not appear in future drafts of the bike plan.

Hopefully the City will include treatments to make the right-hand, left-hand jog connecting 24th and 23rd via Center more easy - since the merge left to make a left turn from the right-hand bike land is not always easy.

Not sure about the patrolling/access question. I guess we'll learn more.