Saturday, December 1, 2012

City Council, December 3rd - Mostly Updates

Monday at City Council Bike and Walk Salem goes for the umpteenth time. But you knew that already. And actually there's a ray of sunshine! It'll get its own post.

So how 'bout the other stuff?

The Dreary and Overcast

Updates on the City's single Transportation Enhancement/Bike-Ped application to fund legacy remediation on Brown Road with sidewalks and bike lanes. (Some background discussion here.)

More on the Market/Swegle realignment and straightening - which in the name of "efficiency and safety" will actually encourage speeding!  It's an excellent example of the way we engineer "forgiveness" into the roads. While the new design will create a more sheltered parking lot and queuing zone for parents and children, for those who are going past the school, instead of stops and two turns, now the straightened through-curves will avoid turning conflict but will also tempt drivers to take the curves faster than they should.

We should be more willing to tolerate barriers and inefficiencies, since they also tend to encourage care, caution, and safety. It is likely that there are other approaches to the Market-Swegle connection that would have improved safety for children without also creating incentives to speed in the name of "efficiency." 

An update on the Kroc Center.  (See previous discussion for SKATS meeting.)

The Boondogglery

On Wednesday at the Council Work Session, the estimated cost for the highway and bridge went up $120 million or so.

From $687 Million to $800 Million
For this and other reasons, it looks like the continuation of the Public Hearing will be delayed into 2013.

In other boondogglery, there's some funds shifting at the Airport.  (Does anyone want to write a regular piece on the airport?  It would be great to have someone with an informed perspective following it regularly!)

The Mixed Bag

There's an update on the Road Bond projects. Some are bad.  Some are good.  Some are just ok or very mixed.

I was excited to learn about crosswalk projects on Liberty Road SE at Holder Lane SE, State Street at Roberts High School, 25th Street at the Salem Post Office, Summer Street NE at Hood Street NE, and Rosemont Avenue NW at 3rd Street NW.  I forgot about most of these, and it will be nice during breaks in the rain to go photograph and write about them.  There are additional funds, too:
Since there are enough remaining funds in this category to construct improvements in approximately three more locations, staff will utilize the alternate list approved by Council for the next phase of improvements (with the exception of Alternate 2 - Median Island at Fairgrounds Road NE at winter Street NE which has been opposed by the neighborhood association).
The kibosh on Fairgrounds Road at Winter is a bummer.  I think this is related to the decision to make the bike route cross Fairgrounds on Norway instead of on Winter.  Still, it will be nice to see more good crossings.  I wonder how many of them used the flashing beacon in addition to a median island.

There's more legacy remediation with sidewalks and bike lanes to Schools at Boone Rd SE, Tanoak Avenue SE, Baxter Road SE, Onyx Street NW, and Hayesville Drive NE.

The Good

There's more on the Edgewater overlay zone.  Because on-street parking was utilized only 35%, the changes will relax the requirements for off-street parking minimums when there's a change in tenants.  So - yay! - fewer required surface parking lots. (There's still much more that can be done, however.)

An update on Park construction and projects.  What's not to like about more and better parks!  Kale/Hoodview is now mostly complete, so I look forward to a visit.  The new path at Wallace Marine Park is covered here.  Those interested in neighborhood parks will find a list of the funded Salem Park Improvement Fund (SPIF) Projects.

Ramp to Union St RR Bridge and Soccer Fields in January 2012
The City is using empirical data to update and enhance high water watch web feeds.
The City of Salem experienced a major storm event January 16-20, 2012, that caused widespread flooding throughout the city. During this flood event, most of the City's stream gauging stations recorded their highest peak stage levels to date. City staff used this opportunity to field verify the impacts of the elevated stream heights in relation to areas flooded. This effort produced information that will aid flood response actions for the City, regional emergency managers, and the public during future flood events.
The flooding and damage isn't cool, but using the data is! They posted more exact water levels and impacts to roads and lowlands on the City website so the information is available to all. 

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