Sunday, October 23, 2011

Transportation on the Front Page Today

Wow. Two articles that directly or indirectly touch on bike transport made the front page of the paper today.

The direct hit was a discussion of the cost overruns on the path between the Union St. RR Bridge and Glen Creek Road.

It's true that the project is a weak one. But, come one, to go after it for a $100K overrun when just up the street is a planned $11M crater on Wallace and Glen Creek? Or $6M already spent on the half-billion dollar Rivercrossing boondoggle?

Is this journalistic time well spent?

There are much, much bigger problems with transportation spending in Salem than this dinky path.* It may not be a very good project, but it's peanuts compared to real boondoggles, much larger bad projects, and short-sighted planning efforts.

More interesting is the discussion of the Kroc Center, which circles around, but does not name part of the problem.

Something not discussed in the article, but pointed out rightly by commenters, is the location of the center. If you want to make it available to people living in poverty or low incomes, they have to be able to get there without a car! Whatever problems there are with the operational revenues and expenses, there's also a huge transportation problem with the site.

It's great to see some critical inquiry here, but the journalism's missing important parts of the big picture.

* And of course as advocates we have to ask ourselves if we really want to go to bat for a weak project. By pursuing weak projects, the City ensures that advocates aren't going to defend them very energetically, if at all. At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter whether this path is built. That's a crappy, demoralizing thing to conclude, especially as we all get ready for the update to the Transportation System Plan.

Wouldn't it be nice to have something worth fighting for?

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