Friday, March 2, 2012

Make a Video for the Salem Rivercrossing!

The Salem Rivercrossing Project is a lot like the Columbia Rivercrossing between Portland and Vancouver: Though the issues are not identical, many are similar, and the planning efforts drive with the same inertia towards elephantine overbuilding.

One important way they are similar is the donut hole: There's no middle. The planning and alternatives have focused on "no build" and hypertrophied "high build" highway options, but little in the way of "low build" options, like a smaller, local bridge for arterial traffic or modifications to the existing bridges. The universe of possibilities looks like it's being constrained as a way to bias the selection.

Spencer Boomhower is doing amazing work up in Portland. Here's a couple of videos on the CRC. Are there any enterprising animators in Salem who would like to do something similar for the Rivercrossing?

The CRC: A Boatload of Questions 1.1 from Spencer Boomhower on Vimeo.

A Common Sense Alternative to the CRC from Spencer Boomhower on Vimeo.


Jeff McNamee said...

I do not support yet another single driver car centric (single mode) project. BUT, what IF another bridge reduced traffic downtown? I am just caving to proponents argument?

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Well, from the Ross Island Bridge to the Fremont Bridge, Portland has 8 (soon to be 9) bridges. Eugene-Springfield has 5 bridges.

So does Salem really have the right number? I think an honest answer is that we should definitely be looking at improved connectivity across the river. But you know, the new bridge in Portland across the Willamette (not the CRC) will be for light rail, streetcar, transit, and people on foot and on bike - no cars. That's a bridge for the 21st century.

For me it is a question of scale and mode emphasis. The bridges they are planning here are waaaay toooo biiiig and too firmly oriented towards supporting the drive-alone trip in a car. They are too much a produce of Eisenhower-era thinking about transportation - we don't need a Leave it to Beaver Bridge!

But the draft plan pointedly omits the center: It will give us a no-build, leave things as-is option, and an analysis of three ginormous highway style megabridges. It looks to be a really bad case of either-or, with an excluded middle. The donut hole - totally shoved aside. It's possible that a smaller bridge for local multi-modal traffic could be really helpful. I think lots of people would be willing to entertain that argument - if the planning team were willing to make in a serious way.

Moreover, we're really not looking at more affordable solutions in a serious way - Just tolling the existing bridges, improving Cherriots service to west Salem, and knitting connections to the Union St. RR Bridge so it can function for a larger universe of casual walkers and bikers, would do a lot!

The main problem is that the study is not intellectually honest in looking a full range of mobility solutions for people; it is, instead, constrained with a pre-arranged bias towards the drive-alone car trip and 1950s road engineering standards.

(Also! Conversations about reducing traffic downtown make me a little queasy. We want more people downtown, not fewer! But it's the mix of traffic that's messed up, not the quantity - and that's an artifact of the way we count motors rather than people. We want fewer motors and more people, right?)

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Hooray for N3B! They've done the first one: