Saturday, June 30, 2012

Federal Road Funding to Decline; ODOT Should Sieze Opportunity for Least Cost Planning

ODOT released a snapshot analysis of the reduction in road funding from the 2011 budget (SAFETEA-LU) to the new 2013 budget (MAP-21).

The total is about a 7% reduction, from $518,684,306 to $483,226,388.

BikePortland has some brief thoughts, and Streetsblog writes of bike/ped stuff:
This is one of the unmitigated failures of the bill. It’s been clear for a while that the Republicans had the Transportation Enhancements program and other programs dedicated to safer biking and walking in their sights. Sen. Barbara Boxer fought to save the program, but it verged on “deal-breaker” status for Republicans. The GOP managed to paint these life-saving, community-enhancing programs as a frivolous waste of money spent planting flowers, and they hacked off a big chunk of money that used to be set aside for them. The end result is a “Transportation Alternatives” program which, according to America Bikes, cuts bike/ped funding by 60 to 70 percent. Not only is the overall pot smaller, but these funds can now be used on certain types of road projects. Worse, although half the funds will go straight to local areas to distribute, the half that goes to the states doesn’t need to be used for active transportation – they can “transfer” it to a whole host of other uses if they want. “Complete streets” language in the Senate bill that created a federal requirement for accommodation of non-motorized road users was stripped as well.
Transportation for America echoes - as does pretty much every other advocate of rational transportation policy.

The funding crunch, however, offers ODOT an opportunity to accelerate least-cost planning.

In a world of shrinking resources, we have to get smarter about allocating those resources. Since there won't be dedicated pots for walking and biking, a rational analysis will level the playing field so that the mobility of people, levels of service for people, rather than levels of service for engines, is the baseline for planning. Least cost planning should more efficient in this and be an excellent start.

The other thing is that without dedicated pots of money, Salem City Council will be tempted to stint on bike/ped funding.

In this fiscal environment it is even more important to write your Councilor and remind them of the importance of bicycling for health, for safety, for livability, and for the environment.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tandem Riders hit the Town; Winter Street Construction at Shelton Ditch

Even though the sun's not really out, there's lots of people on bike around town!

The tandem riders started assembling this morning for the Northwest Tandem Rally. HQ is at Willamette University.

At B on B lots of folks picked up the new bike maps.

And if you're out and about, Winter Street between Mission and Bellvue is closed at the Shelton Ditch bridge. There's a narrow gap on the west sidewalk, but you'll likely need to dismount and walk.

The cofferdams, diversion, and other construction work is interesting, too.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hearing on Proposed Apartments on 23rd Shows Limits in Comprehensive Plan

Tonight the Hearing Officer will deliberate on a site plan review, conditional use permit, and design review of a proposed 96-unit apartment complex located just south of Mission and 23rd.

Some thoughts on it are here.

The part I want to zero in on is a criterion in the Comprehensive Plan for the conditional use permit.

The idea that this location is good for walking and biking is ludicrous, but the way our plans and zoning are written, the mere fact of sidewalks and bike lanes necessarily implies these will support trips other than drive-alone car trips. This is not pedestrian oriented!

The particular criteria and interpretive standards by which we seek to instantiate higher level goals are incoherent with those higher level goals. The way Mission is currently built, and the way we are placing car-dependent development along it, will not provide anyone with meaningful alternatives to drive-alone trips.

After the Bike Plan update, there's work to do on the Comprehensive Plan and other zoning stuff.  (And there's got to be a way to make it simpler - this is so Byzantine!)

Update, July 19th

I don't know why I didn't think of this before - but Mission here is also a State Highway:

Notice the person on bike going opposite traffic (they're on the sidewalk, though, not in the bike lane) and the right-in, right-out treatments for 23rd, the cross street. There's really nothing multi-modal about this road. It's a highway.

Tweet of the Day - Thanks, Salem PD!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Council Votes to Vacate Alley; Retains Interest in a Connection

Most of you will know by now that Council voted to proceed with the vacation of the remnant alley.

This is very disappointing.

City Councilor Brad Nanke
At least there was some honesty about it! Just before voting for vacation, Councilor Nanke said
We keep crushing their hopes. Let's get done with this and find another alternative.
Summing up her feelings before voting against the vacation Councilor Blasi said
I'll continue to work for you, and look for an option and to work with staff...This won't be the end of it.
City Councilor Sheronne Blasi
Councilor Tesler also voted against it. All others voted in favor.

The majority sentiment seemed to be reflected by Councilor Clem: "This door [for the alley and cemetery] was closed 7 years ago."

So we'll see. Community sentiment seems largely in favor of a connection. If the adjacent neighborhoods are passionate about it, maybe that will encourage staff and electeds to put some muscle behind the effort.

As for a particular alignment through Pioneer Cemetery:  1)  I think the City is wrong to vacate the alley before settling on an alignment.  2)  I think most of the objections to an alignment through Pioneer Cemetery are not well founded.  3)  I still think that, notwithstanding the fact that Pioneer Cemetery is a public park, the geography of City View Cemetery is better suited for a connection than Pioneer Cemetery.

If a mutually agreeable alignment (and improvements, compensation, whatever is agreed upon) can be negotiated with City View, at the end of an agonizing and protracted process, we might find ourselves with the optimal outcome.

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 27th City to Conduct Walking Education and Safety Action

Great news! The City's gonna do a crosswalk education and enforcement action. From the blurb:
As the weather becomes warmer and days become longer, we typically see more pedestrians out and about at various times of the day and night, and pedestrian safety issues become even more important. As a result, the Salem Police Department traffic unit will be conducting pedestrian safety enforcement and education campaigns throughout the City on Wednesday, June 27.

The campaigns will utilize plain clothes officers who will be crossing streets at crosswalk locations throughout the City, and video cameras will be used to record violations. Those who are contacted will be able to view the violation on video.

Oregon law requires all drivers to stop prior to entering a crosswalk for pedestrians who are crossing the street in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. Drivers are required to stop if a pedestrian is either in the lane in which the driver's vehicle is traveling or in a lane adjacent to the lane in which the driver's vehicle is traveling.

Marked crosswalks may be located at or between intersections and are recognized by solid or dashed white lines. Oregon Law also states that every intersection should be considered to have a crosswalk, whether marked or not. Additionally, a vehicle may not legally pass another vehicle that is stopped at a marked or unmarked crosswalk for a pedestrian. Failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and for passing a stopped vehicle at a crosswalk are class B violations and carry a fine of up to $260.00.

This will be one of several campaigns to be conducted by the Salem Police Department Traffic Control Unit to address pedestrian and crosswalk safety through education and enforcement.
I love the video component!

Remember, too: When you are on a bike, you must yield also to people on foot in marked and unmarked crosswalks!

Update, Wednesday night

Here they are! Saw them in at least two marked crosswalks on 17th - including Chemeketa and 17th, where a motorist struck a blind person walking in the marked crosswalk.

Breakfast this Friday

It's summer! (But maybe you didn't notice?)

Friday, June 29th, we'll be at the North Office Mall Building on Winter street NE from 7am to 9am with free coffee, pastries, and fruit for you.

Please support our generous sponsors!
Cascade Baking Company
Governor's Cup Coffee Roasters
LifeSource Natural Foods
Salem Bicycle Club
Willamette University.

Tentatively scheduled - Aaron from the new YMCA Second Chance Bikes will also be available for quick check derailleur adjustment, lube, and tire inflation!

View Larger Map

Sunday, June 24, 2012

City Council, June 25th

The alley and cemetery leads Council on Monday, but that required a separate note on its own.

A Different Vacation

But there is another proposed vacation on the docket, and while I'm not sure that it is intrinsically very interesting - unless someone points out something tricky about it, it looks unproblematic - its process looks very different than that of the alley/cemetery matter.

To wit: It is a petition-initiated vacation, which is probably what the alley should have been, rather than a City-initiated vacation. (There's still no reason for the City to want to vacate that alley; it's the developer who wants it - just like this case.)

Anyway, at the Boise site, Pringle Square South LLC proposes to use a 10-foot strip along Bellvue to site a PGE vault. The existing right-of-way is 80 feet, and current standards call for a 60-foot ROW on a local street. At least initially, I'm not seeing how this would be a problem. But all Council is asked to do is set a public hearing, and there will be more analysis, I'm sure.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

City Digs in on Alley North of Cemeteries - Whether it's Straight, it's Certainly Narrow

The latest chapter in the saga of the alley by the cemetery continues on Monday at Council. Minimizing possibilities for mobility choice and sustainability, staff recommends affirming the vacation. To do so, the staff report relies on a very narrow interpretation of things.

Narrow Interpretations

The interpretation of "potential" probably makes it most clear.

What does "potential" mean? The City construes it to mean in an "approved or adopted plan," though not necessarily built. Formally planned and intended. That seems overly narrow to me. An "approved or adopted plan" seems like a lot more than merely potential! An approved plan signals intention, and I think potential isn't always intended. Potential is often pre-intention - pre-adopted, not yet formalized, not merely planned-and-pre-constructed, don't you think? I mean we talk about the potential of a child or of a concept, not just about the potential in an adult or in a detailed or formally adopted plan.

The case for vacation in the latest Staff Report relies on a narrow, maybe even tortured, reading of the criteria:
Q: Is the right-of-way proposed for vacation part of or near a planned transportation improvement? Rights-of way that have the potential to be used for a future transportation project should not be vacated.

A: There are no approved or adopted plans in the Salem TSP, or any other planning document adopted by Council, for use of this section of alley right-of-way for public vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian access to community activity centers, nor any approved or adopted plans to use this section of right-of-way as part of the City's compliance with the State TPR or the City's TSP.
Basically, the City maintains that the whole connection and alignment would need to be planned before we could say that the alley in question has the potential to be used. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Help Ike Box Ditch the Wheel Bender!

If you've had coffee or attended a show at the Ike Box, you've probably grumbled about the bike parking.

The old-school "wheel bender" rack isn't very secure and it has competed with the ADA parking spot.

Clif Bar is holding a contest, and you can help Ike Box win a serious upgrade!

The decision is by vote - so vote early and often!

It looks like the proposal is competing against 47 others.

Here's their pitch:

Vote here and help out a community center!

Monday, June 18, 2012

ODOT Bike/Ped Committee to meet Friday

From the blurb:
SALEM – The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee will meet Friday, June 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the ODOT Mill Creek Building, 555 13th St. NE in Salem. In the morning, the group will hear presentations on the state’s greenhouse gas reduction efforts and cycling/walking in Mexico (Andar en bici y caminar en Mexico), among other items. In the afternoon, the committee will be joined by members of the Transportation Enhancement Advisory Committee to discuss the review process for the responses to recently-combined funding program.

All Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public. Time will be available at the meeting for committee members to hear public comments. Those who wish to testify are encouraged to sign up on the public comment sheet provided at the meeting. General guidelines: provide written summaries when possible and limit comments to 3 minutes. If you bring written summaries or other materials to the meeting, please provide the chairperson with a copy prior to your testimony.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Home Builders Tour Homes Mostly Lead with the Garage

Olsen Design and Development
The annual Home Builder tour of homes starts tomorrow and it's always interesting to see what is the fashion.

The most interesting house, it turns out, is in Monmouth. The Olsen house has a traditional front porch oriented towards the public ways. It's got neo-traditional curb appeal. But in back it's configured with a granny flat to accomodate multi-generational housing. It's skinnier, too, and might fit on a narrow lot as infill.

At the other extreme is the Wheeler house, all garage. Not even a meaningful window on the street.

T Wheeler Homes
It's plainly centered on the cars, and oriented towards a back deck and views. It's all about privacy and the golf course.

Most of the other houses are in between, but almost all of them lead with the garage rather than with a front porch. They aren't meant for walkable neighborhoods.

Boulevard Treatments for Busy Roads Should Complement Low-Traffic Bikeways

On Monday at Council, members of the Downtown Advisory Board indicated "there is difficulty finding patience for waiting for studies to unfold."

No kidding! The downtown mobility study is taking for-ev-er.

And who knows whether it'll result in substantive change, visionary change, or will just sit on a shelf collecting dust.

In the mean time, we can dream, right?

Over on the facebooks there's been some talk about ways boulevard- and multiway-treatments might help with our broad, intimidating, and ultimately dehumanizing arterial roads.

At the level of concept, several have been proposed for various Salem locations.

Here's two looks for a treatment for Liberty downtown between State and Court.

Arbuckle Costic and Salem Downtown Partnership

Arbuckle Costic and Salem Downtown Partnership
And here's an image for south Commercial from the Sustainable Cities residency and the South of Mission project.

SCI Grand Boulevard design proposals
On June 19th at 6:30pm, the downtown neighborhood association, CAN-DO, will learn about another one, as I understand it, proposed for Court and State streets.

It would be great, of course, to be able to make these conversions! But Salem struggles with the baby steps: Basic sidewalk and bike lane remediation too often is a stretch, an "enhancement," and not a baseline.

If we can't seem to walk, how are we going to run or dance?

At the same time, sometimes it's easier to stretch for the visionary, to rally behind something grand, than to execute the merely adequate, which seems banal and, well, pedestrian. In this way it might be easier to dance than to walk.

These treatments would help a lot for internal circulation. Through traffic wouldn't have to wait for people parking, local traffic would be slower and calmer and more thoroughly multi-modal.

While we pursue family-friendly bike boulevard treatments for lower traffic streets like Chemeketa, Union, Church, and Winter, we should also work for more urbane boulevard treatments for our busy arterials.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Alley Vacation Hearing Announced for June 25th

The City's announcement for the "continued" Public Hearing on the alley fragment* by the cemetery is out (though not yet to the web). Maybe the thing that's the hardest about it, is that should be a no-brainer. The vacation criteria are so easily answered - there is no compelling public need, only a private wish - that to answer otherwise is to wander (and wonder) with Alice:
'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'
Fortunately, the hearing will be pretty limited and narrow, and at least formally it should not get side-tracked by questions about Pioneer Cemetery and its capacity for an increment of walking and biking traffic.

The alley is not in Pioneer Cemetery, and there is no formal plan for a path in Pioneer Cemetery.  The alley is also a dinky east-west fragment*, not by itself continuous with anything.  If Council says "no" to the vacation, as it should, no path will suddenly spring into existence.  The alley fragment is an island, and requires a bunch more stuff to happen before it forms a path connection.

(It is easy to get distracted by side issues!  The alley and whether a connection might pass through the cemetery is an important question, but the path alignment is a question separate from the matter of vacating the alley, not to be decided at this time.)

Here are the relevant criteria, the only substantive matters on which Council will deliberate:
b. Does the proposed vacation restrict the City’s compliance with the State Transportation Planning Rule (TPR) and the Salem Transportation System Plan’s policies on transportation system connectivity? A proposed vacation should not limit, nor make more difficult, safe and convenient pedestrian and bicycle access to community activity centers such as schools, parks, shopping, and transit stops. Additionally, local street connectivity, traffic circulation, emergency vehicle access, and accessibility to transit service should be maintained within and between neighborhoods.

d. Is the right-of-way proposed for vacation part of or near a planned transportation improvement? Rights-of-way that have the potential to be used for a future transportation project should not be vacated.

e. Does the vacation of the right-of-way satisfy a compelling public need? Issues that address health and safety concerns may outweigh the transportation criteria listed above and should be given proper consideration.
And here's the nut: A connection between Hoyt and Rural might need the alley. Therefore, until a connection is fully planned, the alley should not be vacated. And that's what was in the original staff report over a year ago:

It is possible, of course, that the final alignment for a connection would not need the alley. At that point, the alley can be vacated. But until then, vacating the alley is premature.That's all Council is asked to find.

But if you want more detail...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

City Council, June 11th - Second Street Lot and Downtown

Lots of things at Council on Monday. First off the date for the Bike and Walk Salem is back to August 13th.

Lots of downtown details on the agenda. (It's also sunny, and I have "third bridge fatigue."  So this will be a rather thin Council summary.)

Transportation Infrastructure

A proposed change, a reduction, to the required clearance of bridges over the 100 foot flood level. (Maybe an engineer can help out with the significance of this?) 

Right of way acquisition for the intersection widening at Rosemount and Edgewater, and more interestingly for Second Street NW.

You may recall that the City could have chosen to make Second Street a bike boulevard for moving people (remember there's an abandoned railroad in the middle of it and it would connect to the Union St. Railroad Bridge), but instead chose to make it a parking lot for car storage. It is infuriating that this now requires the acquisition of private property!

A rails-to-trails and bike boulevard concept would not require additional acquisition of private property and would not involve the city subsidizing private car storage.

This is far from the most important item on Council's agenda, but it's maybe the most telling.

Not transportation infrastructure, but interesting is a report about problems getting an easement for a sewer to serve a 100+ unit apartment complex. Is the City this zealous about non-auto connectivity to serve apartment housing, hmm???

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Proposed Apartments on 23rd, South of Mission, Tricky for Food and Transport

Recently the City announced a hearing for a site plan review, conditional use permit, and design review of a 96-unit apartment complex located just south of Mission and 23rd.

At first glance it's a little bit of a head-scratcher. The area is bounded by the railroad, McGilchrist, 25th, and Mission. The airport and industry dominate. City Public Works shops are nearby.

But there's a residential pocket to the south, small homes orphaned by other development around it. Unlike a lot of development on the edges of the city, even with the industry, this is, well, central-ish. It should be easy to get places.

Friday, June 8, 2012

New Toy: City's New Map Gallery and Low-Stress Bikeway Paper

Maybe this is old news, but I hadn't seen anything about it. The City is updating their maps gallery to include a bunch of new interactive GIS stuff.

The maps may still be in beta, and I have a question into the City, but I haven't heard back (and in fact the City may have temporarily disabled the development map below - in response to the query? - as today I can't link to it and it times out with the ominous message: "The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable").

One map, for example, on development projects shows the Chemeketa Center for Business and Industry as not yet finished, but of course the building has been constructed and open for quite some time.

Spot checking other buildings and projects suggested the data source may not be being updated in a timely fashion.

Still, it looks like it could be a useful tool in monitoring development in the city.

Other maps might similarly be useful. There's a link to a traffic counts map (also disabled, however).  Poke around and check them out!

Also, via Portland Transport, a note on a May talk about low-stress bikeways has been updated with the paper (84pp, 6mb)!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pedalpalooza's up North, but Think about Salem too!

I hate to plug the bike fun import* business, but right now our neighbors to the north have the market cornered!

So two things: If you're headed north, be sure to take your bikes and check out the day's activities in June for Pedalpalooza.

More importantly, even though we seem to be getting into a bit of another June-uary, what bike fun would you like to help create?

If you're looking for guidance the Portland Bicycle Transportation Alliance has made 20 ride picks, from Comic Books to Cargo Bikes. In the Mercury, Sarah Mirk's story on "How to Survive Pedalpalooza," offers another take.

But what about here in Salem?

Saturday's "ride in" to Venti's is a great start. Kidical Mass will have a family-friendly bike train to it from Bush Park!

Are there other rides you'd like to organize? Rides you'd like to help out on? Rides you'd just like to do and want to suggest to someone else to organize?

* Import, right? Portlanders create the fun and Salemites sometimes consume it and spend associated tourist dollars in Portland. We need home-industry and bike fun exports!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Comment on Draft 10 Year Energy Action Plan

Yesterday the Governor Released a 10 Year Energy Action Plan.

Least cost planning makes an appearance:
ODOT’s least cost planning tool (LCP) is an attempt to improve the ability to measure the true costs and benefits of transportation plans, strategies, and action for development and project identification. LCP seeks to incorporate utility-based efficiency and conservation tools to better address issues such as public health, economic, and environmental impacts. In doing so, it will increase diversity of information considered in transportation decision-making in Oregon. It also can provide a more accurate assessment of potential benefits relative to costs and impacts.

Action Item: The Department of Transportation will incorporate least cost planning into the development of the Oregon Transportation Plan update, modal plan updates, region and corridor planning as well as investment scenarios. The Department of Land Conservation and Development will use this tool in development of Comprehensive Plan updates. Agencies with investment portfolios will study the use of LCP in their decision-making processes as applicable to energy use and energy conservation.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ride your Bike to Ventis on Saturday!

On Street Bike Parking + Deal at Ventis = WIN!

Bike Peddler and Venti's are teaming up to promote bicycling downtown!

They're repurposing two off-street parking stalls for bike parking and offering a deal on food. Check it out!

Monday, June 4, 2012

West Salem and Grant Neighborhoods to talk Salem River Crossing

Live in West Salem or in the Grant Neighborhood? Both neighborhood associations this week will talk about the River Crossing alternatives and the ways they may impact neighborhoods.

West Salem meets Monday, June 4, 2012 at 7:00 P.M. in Roth’s West, Mezzanine, on 1130 Wallace Rd NW.

Lunch or Cars more Dangerous? CDC Mortality Data Answers

Oh, boy. Deep Breath.

Child safety is a treacherous topic. Children are simultaneously fragile and robust, and in them we place our fondest hopes for the future and on them all too often our worst fears for them, for ourselves and for others. The topic is super loaded.

Nevertheless, today's piece about school lunches raises some questions.

Without spending too much time on it, here's a provisional swag at mortality rates from the 2009 national data from the Center for Disease Control. They don't have a bucket for "food poisoning," so this represents mortality from "Salmonella infections," "Shigellosis and amebiasis," and "Certain other intestinal infections." (There may be one or more categories I missed, do note.)  The other category is "Motor vehicle accidents."

Count is the number of people in the age group who died in 2009. Rate is the rate of death in the group per 100,000 people.

Selected Mortality Rates for Kids

CountRate per 100K
age 5-14age 15-24age 5-14age 15-24
Possible Food Poisoning91300
Motor vehicle accidents97476882.417.8

The infections, of course, come from all sources, not just school lunch.

But the numbers look pretty clear: A child is far, far more likely to perish from motor vehicle use than from eating. (The rate for the infections is so small it rounds to zero.)

If we are serious about harm and risk reduction, we may well be better served by turning our attention to Safe Routes to School and encouraging lower usage of motor vehicles, instead of focusing on School Cafeterias and their oversight - even if some cafeterias are icky and have a bad record for cleanliness.

(If you understand disease and cause of death coding and/or demographic analysis better, and want to update the chart, or if you believe these stats are in substantially in error, please chime in! I would love help on making this better, and I will be delighted to edit and update.  Again this is a provisional swag, aimed more at magnitudes than precision.)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Active Transportation Important Mobility Option in Social Services

Saturday was a great day for thinking about active transportation!

Aaron and Janice have a full truckload of donated bikes!

The pickup for Second Chance Bicycle Recycling was a real success.

The bikes will be taken out to Hillcrest for rehab and repair - and many will find new homes there. YMCA Community Wellness Director Janice talked about slowly and surely helping to build out a program and envisioning what might happen in downtown Salem at the Y itself. Later this summer some bikes may be donated in town or sold to generate revenue.

But the first priority is getting the Hillcrest program going, then who knows!

The program also needs tools. The list is on a pdf here, and if you have ones you can donate, they'd love to put them to good use!

Not far from downtown and the Y is the brand new Forever Home Community. You may have read about it in the paper on Friday (full articles are now behind a paywall).

City Council, June 4th

Not much for transportation on the Council agenda this Monday.  

Upcoming Dates - with Changes

Public Hearing -City Initiated Vacation of a Remnant Alley Right-of- Way Located along the North Property Line of Pioneer and City View Cemeteries ~ Monday, June 25

Work Session - Willamette River Crossing Options ~ Monday, July 9, 5:30 p.m.

Public Hearing - Amendments to the Salem Transportation System Plan Bicycle and Pedestrian Elements ~ Monday, July 23

Work Session - Minto-Brown Island Bridge and Trail - Joint work session with URA ~ Monday, July 23, 5:30 p.m.


Probably the biggest item was going to be a continuation of the hearing on the Simpson Hills Refinement Plan. (Here's the latest staff report.)

But instead of action, staff recommends deferral:
Staff recommends that City Council grant a request by the applicant to continue the public hearing for review of the Planning Commission’s decision for Fairview Refinement Plan Case No. 12-01 to July 23, 2012. Following receipt of an amended refinement plan proposal from the applicant, staff further recommends that the record be re-opened to allow additional oral and written testimony in response to the modified plan.
Other Stuff

Council will appoint two new members of the Planning Commission. Three had been recommended on the short-list, and one dropped out. Appointing the remaining two looks like a formality.

A bunch of "enclave annexations" are also on the docket. Enclaves are "'islands' of land surrounded by the city." See the full agenda for individual listings. Perhaps readers with a special interest in annexation issues can chime in on these?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Vision 2020 Ends and Bridge Press: Friday Newsbits

Today City Staff sent out the unsurprising news (presumably because of budget cuts) that they will no longer be providing staff support for the Vision 2020 project.

As far as I knew, the Bicycle and Pedestrian workgroup was the only part of the project still meeting regularly. Other groups may have met intermittently, but most groups had disbanded within months or a year or two after the release of final vision document, the action plan.

In the past year the bike/ped group had definitely lost energy and momentum, and there may be more to say on the critical side of the ledger.

But Vision 2020 was an ingredient in the final decision for sharrows on Chemeketa, Commercial, and in west Salem. A different Vision 2020 workgroup was behind the colorful new signage downtown.

While it's hard to say it really accomplished anything truly visionary, it did do some nice things. So, Cheers!

Third Bridge Press and Analysis

Salem Weekly's cover story this issue is a look at the River Crossing project.

Check it out - and perhaps more importantly, give it to your friends and colleagues for whom perhaps the bridge materials are new.

If WESD and Courthouse Square need ten and twenty million dollar solutions, the bridge would be a 200 - 700 million dollar solution.

Measured by dollars, it deserves at least 10 times the scrutiny.