Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Picking Projects from the Bike Plan; SCAN to meet on Church Street

Now that the Bike Plan is out of the Planning Commission, it's time for the City to make a bold move!

The next step is for the Plan to go to Council, but preparations to apply for the next big set of grants can't wait.

The City should think big and select one or more tier 1 projects from the Bike Plan to start implementing. The Transportation Enhancement and Bike/Ped grants will be combined this year and there's a meeting today on the program criteria.
The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Transportation Enhancement Advisory Committee will hold a joint meeting from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. on Tues., March 13 at ODOT’s Mill Creek Building, 555 13th St. NE in Salem. The groups will be reviewing and approving goals and criteria for the upcoming joint TE-Bike/Ped Grant selection process.
Presumably the City will continue to chase funding for the Minto Bridge and Path as well as the Wallace Park connection between Glen Creek and the Union St. RR Bridge.

The City should also pursue projects within the public right-of-way that will improve connectivity and comfort for people who bike to work, for errands, and other transportation needs.

With $4/gallon gas, people want to feel they have mobility choices other - and cheaper than! - the drive-alone trip.

(Video: Denver Igarta in Copenhagen)

Church Street

One such project could be a Church Street bikeway between McKinley School and through downtown.

On Wednesday at 6:30pm the South Central Association of Neighbors meets in the South Salem High School Library, and among the topics will be an overlay zone for the hospital/blind school parcel and Church Street.

I don't know the details on the proposed overlay, so I want to talk about design.

At the last SCAN meeting, one of the neighborhood members talked about the role of good design. Chris Morris of CB|Two was at the meeting and he, as you might expect for an architect, was happy to hear someone mention design. A lot - maybe not all, but a lot - of conflicts and problems can be solved through good design; conversely, bad design exacerbates all kinds of problems.

Engineer and designer Conde McCullough used to live in the neighborhood on Church Street. His bridges are known not just around Oregon, but internationally for their beauty, elegance, and function. The much more modest cast concrete bridges across Pringle Creek on Church, High, Liberty, and Commercial streets, as well as many others in Salem, are also thought to have been designed under his influence. (Pictured: Yaquina Bay Bridge, 1936)

Hopefully the hospital and the neighborhood can channel the spirit of Conde McCullough in working on a plan that is both beautiful and functional, meeting the needs of the hospital, the neighborhood, people on foot and on bike, and the wider city.

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