Saturday, August 25, 2012

City Council, August 27th - Minto Design, Missed Opportunities

September 10th will be the continuation for the Bike and Walk Salem hearing. 

In the mean time, rain and river lead the agenda for Monday.

Though it's been out for a few weeks, and is not itself on the agenda for Council, a couple of renderings of the Minto bridge design are just hitting the news. (Maybe there's unannounced grant funding news?)

Via City of Salem and Greenworks
On the Urban Renewal agency agenda is $30,000 for design work on the path on the Minto side.

January 2012 Flood
Across the river in Wallace Marine Park, there's a proposal for a rain garden by the bathroom.

For the garden, the Glenn and Gibson Creeks Watershed Council propose additional "Interpretive signage,"which "will help visitors understand the role of stormwater, the purpose of rain gardens and the Willamette River ecosystem."

Speaking of the flood, Council proper will receive an information report on flood damages and repairs. The projected total looks like $8.5 million. FEMA's reimbursed almost a quarter million so far. The big-ticket item is repair of the Winter Street bridge over Shelton Ditch, and that's estimated to cost $3.6M, for which FEMA will reimburse 90%.  A temporary fix has allowed the bridge to be reopened, but the major, structural repairs are yet to come.

Missed Opportunities in Infrastructure

Also on the agenda are some infrastructure elements that are likely counter-productive or cosmetic.

The Urban Renewal Agency proposes to fund the Second Street NW parking lot with $500,000 with unobligated urban renewal funds.

Treating Second Street this way is just a huge missed opportunity for a truly multi-modal streetway.

(It may also be worth pointing out that the tax-increment would come from property taxes; no gas tax, license fees, or other auto user fees would fund these roadway changes and parking stalls for car storage.)

City staff also recommend additional conditions to the development just south of Mission on 23rd.

Staff recommend a pedestrian refuge and crosswalk on 23rd, but even though 23rd is rated a "collector" street, it's difficult to see that much traffic there. A mid-block crossing on 23rd can't hurt, of course, for 23rd here will be a long block, but crossing Mission street is the big problem, not 23rd. Unless somebody can point out other factors I'm missing, this doesn't really solve a problem and more than a little misses the point of criticism.

The City is in a tough spot, as Mission is also a State Highway here and the parcel in question doesn't front Mission - but that's a sign of just how screwed up is the system and how we've misplaced our priorities.  Without substantively addressing the problem for non-auto users, the area will just get more and more auto-dependent, creating further pressure for expanding auto capacity and diminishing safety for non-auto users.


Curt said...

None of the public comments addressed biking and walking safety on Mission. Neighbors seem more concerned with auto traffic, too much density, and not enough parking. At least they are making use of the underutilized parking lot that is already there.

Anonymous said...

Last night Council reversed the Hearings Officer's decision on the 23rd street development. Interestingly, Councilor Bennett apparently anchored his vote on the airport's critique: From the SJ -
"'This is just the wrong development for the wrong place,' said Salem City Councilor Chuck Bennett.
Bennett said he made his decision, in part, because of testimony provided by John Paskell, the city’s airport administrator.
In written testimony, Paskell stated the apartment complex 'does not conform to federal, state, and local positions on compatible land uses around airports' and the airport did not support the plan."