Monday, July 30, 2012

Grant Neighborhood to Discuss Parking in August

Parking. It's a big issue for neighborhoods and August brings lots of parking talk to the Grant Neighborhood.

On Thursday, August 2nd at 6:15 p.m. in the Outdoor Amphitheater at Broadway Commons, the Grant Neighborhood Association meets and will be talking about the proposed parking lot at Maynard's and the North Broadway Parking Study.

The high level problem is that we are mucking around asking about how to manage car storage instead of asking how to increase personal mobility and customers while also reducing the number of car trips and concomitant car storage.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bike to Bite and Brew

There's something about the summery, cotton-candy pleasure of the carnival and side-show.

Though this might look a bit like a Dantesque entry to the "rat race," the food, beer, and music will be lively. (And your bike's a secret weapon against the rat race!)

But WAR??? - Salem ought to be able to do better music than that!

For DIY music, don't forget about the pianos! If you're out this morning, B on B is on the Bridge.

What are your bikey delights this sunny weekend?

Update Sunday Morning

Here's the bike parking Saturday around 5pm. It's right next to the entry on Court Street, but it's also not formally attended this year. There's not enough temporary racking, as you can see from the bikes locked to the fence.

You might be better off locking up downtown and walking a couple of blocks.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Breakfast on Bikes with Piano this Friday!

It's almost the last Friday, and that means Breakfast on Bikes!

Friday, July 27th, we'll be on the Union Street Railroad Bridge 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.

In a special bonus, it looks like the street pianos will still be there - so whether it's Chopin or Chopsticks, bring your funnest music!

Photo of and by Hettwer Family

Here's a clip from some folks on a bike ride!

We'll also have new bike maps and information about the Public Hearing on August 13th at Salem City Council for the Bike and Walk Salem plan.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Enjoy Art - by Bike!

There's a nice piece on public art in the paper today. And there's no better way to notice and enjoy the art than by being on bike or on foot!

And for a bit yet, through the 29th, the pianos are still around town. Here one adds life to the concrete plaza of the sculpture garden at the Convention Center.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Salem River Crossing Memo on Bike Connectivity Potentially Misleads Task Force

One of the things about the Salem River Crossing process that is troublesome is its opacity cloaked in public process. Time and time again people who should know have said off the record that very few really want this thing, that outside of a few individuals they don't know where the real drive for it is coming from. And yet the process has sufficient inertia that folks don't seem to be able to stop it.

A small example of this is an informal memo that as it gets cited and its citations in turn cited, seems to be wrapped up increasingly in official status.

At the Open Houses in May, there was a poster for illustration purposes that wasn't formally part of the draft Environmental Impact Statement. It was labeled at the bottom "The above evaluation is not part of the DEIS for the Salem River Crossing Project, but is provided for informational purposes and is subject to future modification."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

City Council, July 23rd

Since the agenda for City Council on Monday doesn't anything of great moment, let's tip our caps to the Reve Tour!

Photo: Reve, via the Oregonian
Don't know about the Reve Tour?

This year we are celebrating 100 years of women voting in Oregon and 40 years of women's athletics under Title IX. Just the other day Yahoo named a new CEO.

And over the weekend a team of women finished the Tour de France one day ahead of the men.

Portland writer Heidi Swift is blogging about the tour here.

I have a feeling the ripples from this may not be fast, but they will be strong and long, and will be an important ingredient in making bicycling much less focused on the men. 50 years ago climbing Mt. Everest was rare. In the past few years, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Salemite Craig Hanneman reached the summit of Everest, and there are lines sometimes on the mountain. It remains a great challenge, but one that many have undertaken.

Equally, I'm sure we'll hear of more women doing the Tour and see a trickle down effect in racing and ordinary bicycling!

Council Agenda

At 5:30 before the meeting, there will be a joint work session of the Urban Renewal Agency and the Planning Commission on the Minto Island Bridge and Path.

On the agenda itself is the First Reading of the Bike and Walk Salem update to the Transportation System Plan, with the Public Hearing scheduled for August 13th.

With an Intergovernmental agreement the City proposes hire the County to manage planning on Brown Road bike lanes and sidewalks. Since the project area is in both City and County, designating a lead will ensure continuity and avoid duplication of resources.

Parks has an update. Hoodview Park in North Salem, off of Kale, started construction on June 18th, and some wayfinding signage is going in at Minto.

The Council goals update doesn't seem to have anything new other than news that the downtown mobility study contract had finally been awarded at the end of June.

Conversations on the Fairview refinement plan continue, and folks have agreed to extend the continuation from July 23rd to August 13th.

And there's a brief note on the initial take of the 2013 Legislative priorities for the City. Not surprisingly, funding and taxation matters dominate. Transportation stuff didn't make the preliminary cut.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Daisy and the Great Gatsby's Beau Monde: Careless, but not Carless

In his book Fighting Traffic, Peter Norton writes
Motorists arrived in American city streets as intruders, and had to fight to win a rightful place there. They and their allies fought their battles in legislatures, courtrooms, newspapers’ editorial pages, engineering offices, school classrooms, and the streets themselves. Motorists who ventured into city streets in the first quarter of the twentieth century were expected to conform to the street as it was: a place chiefly for pedestrians, horse-drawn vehicles, and streetcars. But in the 1920s, motorists threw off such constraints and fought for a new kind of city street—a place chiefly for motor vehicles. With their success came a new kind of city—a city that conforms to the needs of motorists. Though most city families still did not own a car, manufacturers were confident they could make room for motor traffic in cities. The car had already cleaned up its once bloody reputation in cities, less by killing fewer people than by enlisting others to share the responsibility for the carnage.
Norton doesn't use a lot of literary evidence, but the pattern is there in novels, too.  On a recent reread of The Great Gatsby, I paid a lot more attention to cars and the ways Fitzgerald writes about them and their users. It can, in fact, be read as transportation history and a document on the inflection point in the history of our streets.

The classic "jazz age" novel, Gatsby came out in 1925 and takes place in 1922. Among other things it's a criticism of the roaring 20s and that second Gilded age.
They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.
Though the principals are careless, they are not carless. The automobile has a central role in establishing the moral and economic status of characters and in moving the plot along.

When I was younger I read the cars as incidental status symbols, mostly just really big pieces of bling for the rum runners and stock speculators. The characters were careless no matter how they got around, or with what symbols they decorated their lives, and by what things they used and messed up others.

But this time I wondered if the cars are even more central than this. I wondered if, in addition to the people being bad, Fitzgerald is saying that something essential to cars threatens to make them and their drivers bad.

I don't mean there's just a neo-luddite and modernist critique of that new, industrial mechanism, the loud and belching motorcar.  I mean that with the cultural sensitivity of the artist Fitzgerald is writing at a very early time about the development of what became a huge blind spot for us, the sense of autoist entitlement that governs our roadways, our transportation schemes, and our suburban development styles. It's not just that the rich are careless, but that the carful aren't careful.

(If you haven't read the novel, be warned: plot spoilers...)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cargo Bikes in the News!

This is great to see! The SJ picked up an OPB piece on the Cargo Bike Disaster Trials. (BikePortland also covered it - with links to lots of photos. And here's the project site, the Cascadia Disaster Relief Trials.)

Bikes really are well suited for emergency transportation - they can carry loads measured in tens and small hundreds of pounds, they don't require external fuel, and they can negotiate over and around fractured roads, rocks, and other debris caused by natural disaster.

Cargo bikes also can replace a second car - getting a lot of groceries and even small appliances!

Salem has xtracycles and other longtails, but few long-johns, bakfiets, cycle trucks or other big cargo bikes.  A few businesses use trikes for delivery, like Salem Weekly and some ice cream vendors.

For more on cargo bikes, Momentum Magazine has a nice feature this month.

(Though it's not likely the SJ's error, the bottom photo caption is in error; I'm pretty sure that's Joel Metz, not Ethan Jewett.)

Parking Lot Proposed for Market and Broadway

On Tuesday, August 7th, the Planning Commission will consider an application to demolish a house and pave over for a surface parking in the North Broadway District.

Two of the reasons for the North Broadway Parking Study are to
  • Reduce the need for parking variances in Project Area.
  • Encourage bicycle and pedestrian use in Project Area.
Unfortunately, this seems to do neither.

The house at Broadway and Market is not fancy. But, you know, it's a house.

Plans call for 8 parking stalls.

It will be interesting to learn more about this. It's hard to imagine a neighborhood deli and bakery really needing more off-street parking. But perhaps a new restaurant or something else is going in there. Even so, this should be one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Salem, and leveling buildings for surface parking is almost certainly a step in the wrong direction.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

ODOT May Lose Opportunity for Active Transport: Comment on Statewide Transportation Strategy

A draft Statewide Transportation Strategy is out. Subtitled "A 2050 Vision for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction," it is open for comment through the 20th. I guess I missed this when it came out in May, but fortunately Portland Transport has a nice analysis and judges it incomplete:
Whether by design or accident, the Strategy privileges the development and expansion of electric vehicle and alternative fuel technology over the expansion of the use of walking, biking, and transit for ground passengers and biking for urban freight. While any long-term strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will require the use of all available solutions, these oversights are significant. The benefits of bicycling, walking, and transit and the strategies needed to promote these transportation options are not as thoroughly discussed as other options in the Strategy, even though these modes are well-positioned to promote livable communities, economic vitality, and public health. While electric vehicles and alternative fuels reduce transportation-related emissions, these options offer only limited support of our other societal goals.
Comment can be submitted to For background, executive summary, and additional info, see the Oregon Sustainable Transportation Initiative page.

Between this and today's proposal at the OTC to change funding policy, ODOT and the State is at risk of failing to seize the moment for active transportation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Person Killed in Crosswalk on Mission Underscores Problems - Updated

Last month a proposed 96-unit apartment complex located just south of Mission and 23rd seemed poised to move forward. (Notes here and here.)

According to Salem Police, a person Connor Jordan was killed in a crosswalk yesterday at Mission and Hawthorne, not far from 23rd.

The KATU piece is especially bleak, its language highlighting the difficulty in "attempting" to use a crosswalk here, and carrying as I read it the implicit assumption that the crosswalk is not safe and the attempt will always be hazardous - you know, like using the crosswalk is a stunt or something:
SALEM, Ore. -- A person was killed in Salem Monday night after they were attempting to use the crosswalk.

The crash shut down a busy stretch of road in Salem for several hours and police, as of 11 p.m., were still on the scene with the truck they said is involved in the crash. Police arrived on scene just after 8 p.m. Monday.

Police said witnesses told them a pedestrian as crossing in the crosswalk when they were hit. They also told police the pedestrian had the walk signal and was crossing on Mission Street toward Hawthorne. That person died at the scene. Police have not released the person's name.

Police also said the driver of the truck was cooperating with their investigation, but did not say how fast the driver was going at the time of the crash. Police also have not released the driver's name.

"The speed limit here is 45, so even at that speed, being struck will carry a body quite a distance," said Salem Police Department Sergeant Tony Moore.

Police have not said if alcohol was a factor in the crash, but said the driver is in the hospital, which is standard procedure. The driver has not been cited be police, but their investigation is still underway.
Planning and development standards are premised on Mission street being walkable.

But this environment is actually quite hostile to people on foot, and totally car-dependent.

Is it too much to wish that a person's death would lead the City to reconsider its policies for Mission Street and other busy roads? (And why should it take a death?  Mission is giant, totally focused on speed and car through-put; sidewalks and bikelanes, just like the crosswalk, don't automatically make it "friendly.")

Update, Wednesday morning:

From the SJ:
Salem police identified the pedestrian who died Monday evening after being struck by a vehicle on Mission Street as a 22-year-old Canadian man.

Police said the driver, James Sinks, 43, of Salem was driving a Dodge Dakota truck east on Mission Street SE when he struck Connor Jordan of Vancouver, B.C. who was crossing the street in a marked crosswalk at the Hawthorne Street SE intersection.

Jordan was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lt. Jim Aguilar said that Sinks did not stop at the red light, but no citations have been issued yet, citing an ongoing investigation involving the Marion County District Attorney's Office. He added that it appears neither speed nor alcohol were involved.

Sinks is a spokesman for the State Treasurer's Office, according to the agency’s website, and formerly worked for the Bend Bulletin and the Statesman Journal. [italics added]
Update, August 19th

Connor Jordon, 22 - via The Province
Yesterday the BC paper, The Province, published an update:
Connor Jordon was one day from home at the end of a solo motorcycle trip to Las Vegas when he was killed while walking in a crosswalk in Salem, Oregon by a driver who did not stop for a red light....

Last week, the Marion County District Attorney’s Office issued a press release stating “no criminal charges will be filed” against the man driving the Dodge pickup that struck Jordon....

“Two tickets. That’s all he got. He’s still allowed to drive. He’s still allowed to go to his job, to his family. But our son is dead,” said Gray.

The grieving father has hired an American lawyer to pursue a civil case.

“It’s not the route we want to go, but the only punishment Oregon provides for what happened to our son is monetary.”

State Bike Advisory Committee to Weigh Bike/Ped and Enhancement Apps Wednesday

This is interesting. Right next door - maybe in the same room even! - to the Oregon Transportation Commission meeting, the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee will meet on Wednesday.

OBPAC in 2011
From the blurb:
The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian and the Transportation Enhancement Advisory Committees will hold a joint meeting on Wed., July 18 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at Keizer Civic Center, Room B, 930 Chemawa Road NE in Keizer. Committee members have been reviewing initial applications for the recently combined funding program, offering approximately $20 million in funds. At this meeting, the committees will choose which of the 155 applicants will move to the next stage in the selection process. Public testimony will be accepted only on topics other than these applications for funding.
The OTC will meet in
Keizer Community Center, Keizer City Hall, Iris Room B, 930 Chemawa Road, Keizer, Oregon 97303.
So did somebody double-book a room?

As has come out, the OTC could take steps to minimize walking, biking, and other active transportation. Hopefully as the official advisory committee for walking and biking - and since they appear to be meeting in the same building! - OBPAC will weigh in on the matter.

As for the TE/Bike/Ped combined program, the City has applied for three projects:
  1. Minto Island Trail Connection (jointly with the Urban Renewal Agency)
  2. Brown Road NE (Carolina Avenue NE to San Francisco Drive NE)
  3. Orchard Heights Park Pedestrian Access.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bikes and Buses May Lose at OTC on Wednesday

Normally meetings of the Oregon Transportation Commission aren't that interesting here. They're important, as the OTC is essentially the board of directors for ODOT, and they set high level policy for transportation, but they don't muck around bike stuff all that often.

The meeting on Wednesday is important, though, for a couple of reasons. One is a done decision, just interesting to note in passing. The other could represent a serious change to the way active transportation is planned and funded.

Cherrots and Connect Oregon

On the same front page as the tolling article, the SJ also ran a piece about a Cherriots application for ConnectOregon IV funding that didn't make the cut. (It was a transportation fantasia!)

The Cherriots grant proposal ranked 41 out of 49 (and about 16 projects seem to be tied in last place at 49th!), and projects ranked 1 through 38 look to be funded.

The whole ConnectOregon series is a little annoying because it says "multi-modal," but it excludes a whole range of multi-modal kinds of projects. It's about big air, rail, marine/ports, and a little bit of transit. It's about industrial mobility and logistics, not so much about personal mobility.

At their Wednesday meeting, the OTC will approve the recommended list of projects.

Hopefully Cherriots can figure something out for the transit mall.

(Now, an interlude. This next thing is actually pretty important, but it's also really wonky and dull. It was gray and sprinkling yesterday. So here's something colorful to bamboozle you a bit back to interest and engagement! While out over the weekend this old house caught my eye. The owners have keyed the housepaint to the purple flowers. For one month out of the year the color scheme for yard and house is totally coordinated! Crazy. And quite lovely. That's what you see when you walk and bike!)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

For Whom the Toll Bells: Funding the River Crossing

Yesterday's paper had a welcome front page piece on the Salem River Crossing. Though the headline talks about choosing an alternative, the body of the piece is more on the funding plan.
What has not been discussed in much depth, however, is the idea that a toll could be used as a method to pay for the bridge.

At a recent gathering of the Salem City Council, Chuck Bennett, who represents residents on both sides of the river, voiced his concern about paying tolls.

“I would think we need to look at the tolls very early in the process and see if there is a political will to charge residents a buck a trip,” Bennett said. “I don’t believe (there is), which makes me wonder about the financing.”
Salem City Councilor Dan Clem, who represents the city’s interests on the oversight team, said he has not made up his mind on the prospect of using tolls as a funding source and didn’t want to guess what his constituents might think at this time.

“We never got that far as discerning that tolling is an absolute,” Clem said on Thursday. “The statement that tolling is an absolute part of the funding package is not accurate.”

But what has been established in a 2008 overview of potential funding is that tolling is the quickest way to raise the money needed to pay the estimated $30 million annual payment the city would have to make on a $500 million municipal bond.

Clem said he agreed there needs to be more public discussion about financing, but said it was premature at this time simply because an alternative has not been selected.
Not in the article, but in his public comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement, State Senator Peter Courtney offered perspective on the finances, and this project's relation to the bigger one up north:
The Draft and Environmental Impact Statement has estimated that Alternative 3 will cost $501 million dollars which is one of the more expensive alternatives. That is more than Oregon 's share of the Columbia River Crossing Bridge estimated to be $450 million! This is a costly package for any city and prohibitive at a time when so many cuts are being made to critical services such as our fire department.
Now, I'm not into necessarily a no-build situation, and I know it's very difficult to be in your position, because it's sort of like we try to build prisons or garbage facilities. Everyone wants one, they think we should have them, but they don't want them near them. So I am not going to redesign your designs, but this thing also -- and this is the other hat I'm going to wear -- costs $400 to $500 million by the estimates. Now, that is $50 million more than the State of Oregon's total share in the CRC, the Columbia River Crossing. Now, I can tell you the nightmare that I'm having with a certain other role in my life dealing with the Columbia River Crossing, and cost is one of them.
Meanwhile, in a draft City Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan, earthquake and flood damage scores very high.

Lots of masonry buildings and critical infrastructure will likely collapse in a big earthquake.

We need to think hard about what is important and what we can afford.

As the Grant Neighborhood Association wrote in their public comment,
If Salem cannot afford to run buses on weekends, how can we support another river crossing? And if we are financially capable to support another crossing, why not use those funds to support and improve our current infrastructure, invest in alternative transportation and raise the quality of life for our residents?
For more on the River Crossing see a summary critique and all breakfast blog notes tagged River Crossing

Friday, July 13, 2012

Kidical Mass at Minto Leads Weekend and Summer Fun

Summer is finally here!

Even in a somewhat neglected corner of Salem, biking at dusk under the early evening sky is pretty glorious.

Kidical Mass

On Sunday at 2pm, Kidical Mass meets at the Minto Park playground to ride the paths and Brown Island Road out to Minto Island Growers.

Between the weather, the location, and the yummy goodness of the final destination, this might be best Kidical Mass of the year!

(My photo's from the MIG truck at Pringle Creek Community, but over at On the Way, there's a better suite of photos of the Minto site and detail shots of the new picnic tables that are just gorgeous.)

On Your Feet Friday

On Your Feet Friday is today! Bike downtown and walk around to all the checkpoints.

National Night Out Registration

National Night Out is August 7th, and local registration for parties closes July 25th.

(I've always thought it would be fun to have a blinky-light-disco-party on bike, roaming from block to block!  But is Salem ready for something like Bowie vs Prince?)

Short Track Racing at the Fairgrounds

Salem, Oregon Daily Photo Diary
Short Track racing at the Fairgrounds starts later this month. Look for dates, new sponsors and logo, and details later. Here's a teaser from last year!

Now that the weather's finally turned, what are you doing in the summer sun with your bike?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Salem Rivercrossing Task Force Meets to Recommend Alternative

Remember the open houses and public comment period on the bridge?

Tonight the Rivercrossing Task Force meets from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at Keizer City Hall, Iris B Room (930 Chemawa Road NE, Keizer).

From the agenda:
The purpose of this meeting is to review the alternatives in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), as well as the public and agency comments collected during the 60 day comment period. The meeting will discuss the key findings of the alternatives (No Build, 2A, 2B, 3, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E). The group will go through a “pair-wise comparison” using previously developed evaluation criteria to help narrow down alternatives, in their discussion for making a recommendation for a single locally preferred alternative to recommend to the Oversight Team.
The raw formal public comments are in a 51pp document with dinky type here. Just scanning them, you'll see lots of scepticism about the "purpose and need," about the analysis, and about the alternatives and financing, as well as a good deal of sentiment in favor of the "no build" option.

Easier to digest are the informal survey results, not part of the formal record.

Here too the "no build" option leads with a plurality. In the formal comments I suspect the "no build" has a larger plurality, but not probably a majority.

It will be interesting to see what the Task Force recommends - and whether members have been given enough time actually to read and consider in an informed way the comments. In late June, members hadn't seen the comments, and it was unclear whether they would be given enough lead time.

Other things that you might notice? There doesn't seem to be comment from the Salem Chamber of Commerce or much in the way from other business leaders or large employers. You'd think there'd be more cheerleading if it were so critical. It's possible the silences are more interesting than the comments.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cemetery and Capitol: In the News

A couple interesting items in the paper today...

A group of neighbors are starting a health and walking series in South Salem!

(But help me out here: Is walking in Pioneer Cemetery a problem or not? If not, why don't we take steps to encourage it - like making a connection so that it actually goes somewhere and people don't have to drive-and-walk or be condemned to looping only!)

Also, while the City talks about two-way streets, the State apparently has other ideas:

The drawing isn't a detailed plan, of course, and maybe the narrowing could work with a road diet and two-way traffic. It's not clear what the State's goal for State Street might be.

Hopefully the Downtown Mobility Study won't run into this as a dead-end, but instead will be able to work with it as an opportunity.

In the Neighborhood Associations this Week

Neighborly! A Church with a Vegetable Garden on the Corner
Several neighborhood associations meet this week, and the provisional minutes for June meetings and agendas for July contain some interesting items.


At June's meeting SCAN learned the hospital's plan for a parking lot at the Blind School is stalled. They started, but tabled more conversation about Bike and Walk Salem. (Maybe new board member Curt or Carel can fill us in on that?)

They meet July 11, at 6:30 p.m., Calvary Baptist Church, 1230 Liberty Street SE.


Morningside NA meets Wednesday, July 11th at 6:30 p.m., Pringle Creek Community Painters Hall, 3911 Village Center Drive SE. On the agenda is the Fairview Refinement Plan.


The minutes for the June 7th meeting contains this interesting paragraph and the Neighborhood Association supported the "no build" bridge alternative:
Cara reviewed the information in the EIS on the multiple alternatives for the proposed solution to the river crossing. No economic impact to downtown was considered. Only one option included bike and pedestrian options. One other public comment made note of the fact that ODOT’s data of the number of bridge crossings has been decreasing over the past 5 years. Concerns were raised about Salem becoming a by-pass town, still suffering from the traffic load, but with no benefits from it. Questions were asked about the true purpose of the crossing – was it just a remedy to get Portlanders to the casino at Grand Ronde and to the coast since the Dundee by-pass plan is falling apart? Neighbors felt that all of the options had too much impact. Comments were made that state workers, who are probably the biggest impact on our commuter traffic, will not drive a mile north to cross the river. Many were concerned about the impact of the long stretches of raised highway to both neighborhoods and aesthetics. Destruction of the main street area of Edgewater and Market streets was another concern along with the fact that the options still continue to funnel traffic right back to the bottleneck in West Salem. There appears to be no payment option except placing tolls on all of the river crossings. Chris moved that “We submit a letter stating our preference of the “No-Build” option, with a delineated list of our concerns.”...Vote was 7 in favor, 0 opposed.
There's also some interesting historic preservation and redevelopment activity.

The Grant NA meets Thursday, July 12th at 6:15 p.m., Broadway Commons Keizer Room (205), 1300 Broadway St. NE.


SESNA meets Thursday, July 12th at 7:00 p.m., Richmond Park, 540 Richmond Street SE. Councilor Tesler is scheduled to attend and talk about the apartments on 23rd street.

Monday, July 9, 2012

City Council, July 9th - Savings from the Road Bond

So there were lots of other things more interesting than Council agenda this weekend. A slapdash review, therefore! Bullets:
  • Reallocating $900,000 in savings from the Keep Salem Moving bond to bridge repairs arising from the January flooding. Apparently there's $3.4M already from projects coming in under budget and projections of another $9M. In addition to funding these emergency repairs of critical infrastructure, the City should fund additional facilities for congestion relief for people who bike and walk!

    (From a separate budget (not the bond), and for non-bridge repairs, the City also proposes to fund stormwater repairs.)
  • The Bike and Walk Salem Future Report - the bike plan rendered as City Ordinance. Are there any last minute surprises in it? We'll find out!
  • Councilor Bennett proposes to expand the geographic boundaries of the parking task force's area of concern.
  • Second reading of an ordinance with a clarified definition of "economic promotion" for parking district funds.
  • In the administrative purchases, the annual mowing contract for Pioneer Cemetery, which City View services, is $26,000. Since a path connection would likely involve some kind of cooperation between the City and City View, this seemed relevant to note.
  • Funding a traffic impact study for the area around I-5, Kuebler/Cordon, and the Mill Creek Corporate park. $36,000 from a slush fund from development fees.
  • Expanding the Enterprise Zone offering a 3-5 year abatement of property taxes for new businesses at the Mill Creek center.
  • Initiating Eminent Domain proceedings on six parcels necessary for the Swegle/Market Road widening. In several of the instances the difficulties in negotiation are caused by foreclosure and bankruptcy - by direct or indirect consequences of the Great Recession - and, well, it's just a sad reminder.

    As a road project, by smoothing and straightening out the curves, it will likely encourage faster speeds - and may not net an actual increase in safety.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"The Weight of the Nation" on Obesity to Show Thursday

Last month Dr. Richard Jackson's visit was only semi-public, but this month, a different view on obesity is getting more press.

On Thursday at 6:30 at the Grand Theater, Marion County Public health, Salem health, Salem Progressive Film Series, the YMCA, Catholic Community Services and Kaiser Permanente northwest are showing the local premiere The Weight of the Nation.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bikes Mean Business: Garmin and Pro Racing

Racing isn't a core interest here, obviously. But while the Tour's going on, it seemed like a good time to point out that a large Salem employer sponsors a team.

Bikes mean business!

For local coverage of the Tour and other racing, check out Big E's blog!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Marion County Updates Transportation System Plan

Did you know Marion County was updating their Transportation System Plan? Me neither.

But since the TSP concerns principally rural roads and not those inside of cities, it hasn't been on the Breakfast Blog radar. The TSP was last amended it turns out in 2005.

For people who bike, mostly it seems to be about paved shoulders and their width:
Due to the rural nature of most of the County, the majority of facilities outside the urban areas do not have bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Commuting along the rural County roadway system by bicycle is fairly rare due to large distances between population and employment centers.

However, Marion County has strived over the last several years to add paved shoulders to many of the County arterials to fill a combined role providing for safety shoulders along with creating areas for bicycle and pedestrian use. In order to extend the number of roadway miles that we place paved shoulder on, due to our limited funds, the County sometimes constructs three- or four-foot paved shoulders rather than the five- foot shoulders that are desirable for bicyclists. This approach has been very popular with cyclists and motorists alike because it is a good compromise between design ideals and cost of construction that maximizes the usefulness of our rural roads. Often, a three-foot shoulder can be relatively easily constructed while construction of a five- or six-foot shoulder would require extensive construction work to move utilities and roadside ditches.
Folks with an interest in the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, paving quality and paving schedules on rural roads, and other elements of recreational bicycling on country roads should consider getting involved and submitting comment!

The 2012 update site is here. The website seems to be lagging behind, to the best thing seems to be to get on the mailing list. A couple draft chapters are beginning to circulate.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

State Hospital Parcels site of Planning, Protest, and Debate

The State Hospital and its relationship to the neighborhood is in the news just now. Of course we think about the ways it succeeds or fails for its patients, that's primary. But it is also a large parcel of property in Salem and, like all the State institutions, has a place in the civic and cultural life of Salem.

Earlier this week, Michael Rose wrote about redeveloping the parcel north of Center Street, which the State appears poised to sell off as surplus.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wheelie Guy in the News

Wheelie guy always sneaks up on me, and I'm never handy with a camera. Maybe you've seen him, too, on Liberty or Commercial, or elsewhere around town.

Turns out he's got a website and a project - and today he's in the paper!

I worry about wheelie guy, though. I have seen him only on Liberty and Commercial, on busy roads and sometimes in busy traffic. The wheelie gets attention, but I'm not sure that busy roads are the best places for the wheelie.

I don't know. Is this a "get off my lawn!" moment?

(Sometimes, too, I worry that coverage of bicycling gets shaped too much by the exceptional. The person who bikes across country for a cause. The person who does wheelies for a cause.

This narrative places bicycling on the edges as something exceptional - but not as something normal that everyone does. In many ways - maybe in most ways - I want bicycling to become as banal as driving a car.

At the same time, it's great to see the fun side of bicycling, and even as I worry about Chris, I do admire the wheelie!)