Saturday, December 3, 2011

City Council, December 5th - Sidewalks and the Prospect of a new Police Station

On Monday City Council will discuss sidewalks in the road bond, but in many ways the most interesting part is the report on prospects for a new Police Station.

Missing Sidewalks and Bike Lanes

Back in October the City baked the list of projects for "missing sidewalks and bike lanes" part of the road bond.

For people who bike, chief on the list was the blind corner and narrow clearances of the cut-through from Miller St S to River Rd S.

As part of the $100M Keep Salem Moving road bond, the city is allocating $15,000 for repairs.

The matter will come before City Council for a Public Hearing on Monday night.

The rest of the $1.2M allocated for sidewalks and bike lanes will go to sidewalk repair and construction:
  • Baxter Road SE @ Reed Lane SE (northwest corner of intersection)
  • Boone Road SE (Chan Street to Liberty Road)
  • Ellis Avenue NE (Reedy Drive to Savage Road)
  • Felina Avenue NE West of Hawthorne (north side)
  • Gerth Avenue NW and 9th Street NW (west side between 8th Street and 9th Street, and east side between 8th Street and Walker Middle School Driveway)
  • Hayesville Dr NE (north side of street, east of 12th Street)
  • Marshall Drive SE (north side or street east of 12th Street)
  • Onyx Street NW @ Chapman Hill Drive NW (along both frontages of north east corner vacant lot)
  • Pringle Road SE (Georgia Avenue to Morningside Court)
  • Simpson Street SE @ 25th Street SE (east Minor and west side of 25th Street across old Arterial railroad property)
  • Tanoak Avenue SE (across from Ginwood Local Court)
  • Weathers Street NE (south side, west of Weathers Park)
Strictly speaking, it doesn't appear there will be any new bike lanes constructed.

As a sort of footnote, there is an interesting report on sidewalk construction, requested by the Morningside Neighborhood Association.

Also on the bond measure, there is a proposal to exempt from public bid process the contracts on the rail line for the "quiet zone" and crossing improvements. The proposal looks somewhat absurd on the surface: As apparently the projects are all in the railroad's right-of-way, the railroad is the only entity that can do construction work. So if folks insist on a public bid process, it's far from clear how that would work. This looks like a mere formality. Another footnote.

New Police Station

Maybe the most interesting item - at least the one with the biggest budgetary impact - is a status update on the site evaluation for a new Police Station. Cost estimates range from $53M to $60M for a retrofit to a new facility. As with so many things, parking is a differentiator:
The primary difference between the Civic Center site and the alternative sites is the underground parking included in the Civic Center concept, which costs about $9 million more than the at-grade parking made possible by more abundant land area at the alternative sites.
Here's the concept plan for the current preferred Civic Center site option, in a rendering by collaboration between CB|Two and ZGF architects.

The new building, identified by A2, would sit across from the Boise project. Here's a corresponding aerial view (awkwardly snipped and rotated from the google):

The Civic Center is currently a dead zone outside of business hours, a mono-use office park that empties out at 5pm and on weekends. It would be neat to have some ground floor retail or restaurant, something unrelated to police and other City or emergency services, that would relate to the Boise project (also currently being designed by CB|Two) and create a richer zone of activity here. It's also an opportunity for a lovely building as opposed to the brutalist fortress now there.

When the earthquake hits, City Hall will be toast, so it's not like this is a frill. This is an essential infrastructure project, and hopefully the City will do it well and do it right.

Other Matters

In appointments, Council will confirm Councilor Bennett's appointment to the Citizen Advisory Committee for the North Broadway/High Street Parking Management Plan, and a new citizen appointment to Downtown Advisory Board.

They'll also possibly approve more money for the downtown Economic Improvement District, administered by the Salem Downtown Partnership.

In an information report, the name change for a segment of Salem Industrial Way to Auto Group Avenue appears to have been approved without asking for any concessions.

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