Monday, November 26, 2012

$687 Million Third Bridge at Council Worksession Wednesday

Wednesday the 28th at 5:30pm, City Council will hold a Work Session on the third Bridge. The session will be held in the Anderson room at the Salem Public Library.

4D is like an Eisenhower-era Interstate - it's really this big!
Remember Nate Silver? Even Doonsbury is cracking jokes now about fivethirtyeight, Silver's data-driven blog on politics.

If the bridge design looks like an Interstate from the Eisenhower era, the analysis in favor of the bridge looks like 1950s era polling data as well!

Isn't it time to bring the conversation into the 21st century?

No Third Bridge advocates have posted a checklist for Wednesday's work session with City Council.

An honest analysis will ask and would have good answers for each question.  A boondoggle analysis will elide or evade them.

Which will it be?
Salem City Council Work Session Checklist

How many of these critical issues does the Salem City Council address at its November 28th work session on the Third Bridge?

  • The Council discusses a plan to pay for the 3rd Bridge, acknowledging that it will involve considerable local revenue from tolls on all bridges, a property tax ballot measure, or a gas tax increase.

  • The Council discusses the fact that traffic on the existing bridges is at a 10-year low and that this trend is likely to continue with increasing gas prices and other changes in people's driving habits.
Driving and Recessions - Matthew Yglesias at Slate
  • The Council discusses the fact that the 3rd Bridge will require purchasing 75 acres of new right-of-way that will displace over 160 homes and businesses.

  • The Council discusses the fact that the 3rd bridge will create visual and noise pollution through neighborhoods for 2.7 miles from West Salem to Highland when these residents find themselves under the longest elevated freeway in Oregon.

  • The Council discusses the fact that the 3rd Bridge will reduce the size of Wallace Marine Park and destroy the beauty and natural setting of much of the park.

  • The Council discusses the fact that planning for the 3rd Bridge is $5.5 million over its original $2 million planning budget and is four years late.

  • The Council discusses the fact that a financing package was promised in August of 2008 and that it is highly unusual to wait until a design is approved before deciding how to fund it.

  • The Council discusses the fact that after six years of meetings, the preliminary preferred alternative (4D) for the 3rd Bridge did not receive support from a majority of the Salem River Crossing Planning Task Force.

  • The Council discusses the fact that all three of the Neighborhood Associations that are in the path of the 3rd Bridge are on record as opposing it.
Third Bridge will create Neighborhood Connections like this
  • The Council discusses the fact that the 3rd Bridge will take retail business away from Salem by making it easier to get to Keizer Station and the Woodburn Outlet Mall.

  • The Council discusses the fact that plans for the 3rd Bridge plan ignore less expensive options to relieve peak hour congestion, such as off-ramps to fix the ends of the existing bridges with better traffic flow to Glen Creek Drive and Front Street north, and bike lanes and better transit to West Salem.
There will be no opportunity for public comment at the Work Session, but you can always show up and hold a sign, wear a sticker, or otherwise indicate your opinion silently - just showing up helps!

After the Work Session, the Public Hearing will be continued on Monday, December 10th.

If you haven't done so, consider emailing to urge Councilors to refocus efforts on better and much less costly ways to improve mobility and manage congestion.

For more on the River Crossing / Third Bridge see a summary critique and all breakfast blog notes tagged River Crossing. The No Third Bridge advocates also have lots of useful information.

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

N3B posted this to FB tonight:


Even though no decisions are supposed to be made at a City Council work session, the Council tonight reached a "consensus" that Salem needs a 3rd Bridge.

All Councilors were in attendance except for Councilor Bennett who was out of town on business and Councilor Thomas. It was a major disappointment to the 20 or so NO 3rd Bridge proponents in attendance. City staff and ODOT staff who were in attendance failed to provide the Council with the latest evidence that traffic on the existing bridges is at a 10-year low. Staff also exaggerated the harm to "livability" that would be caused by just fixing the ends of the existing bridges.

Councilor Tesler surprisingly agreed with the "consensus" on the basis that the possibilities of future disasters like earthquakes or floods could create the need for a 3rd Bridge. Amazingly, no one brought up the possibility that the bridges we have, including the Union Street bridge, could be improved to better withstand natural disasters, instead of building a brand new bridge.

As has been the pattern in planning for the 3rd Bridge, little discussion took place about how to pay for a 3rd Bridge, except to say that Salem's "regional partners" would be expected to contribute.

The Council talked about canceling the public hearing on December 10th to give them time to continue with their work sessions. All indications are this will be a very drawn out process that will last well into 2013.

The takeaway for NO Third Bridge supporters is that the Salem City Council doesn't get it. We are opposed to any new bridge: large, small, phased, it doesn't matter. We'll just have to continue to press our arguments."