It was another epic night at Council. After about two hours of testimony, questions, and debate, Council finally voted to adopt Bike and Walk Salem and to advance it for a second reading.
|Neighborhood Chair Skates|
|Paralegal Skates in Suit and Tie|
There was also talk of the cemetery as a Goal 5 Resource and suggestions that a walking connection was not consistent with the Goal 5 requirements.
|Goal 5 objection may have merit|
I have to say I don't understand the Goal 5 issue. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. (See update below.)
Even Councilor Tesler talked about people who walk at night and who don't wear reflective clothing, or even dressed in black.
"I wish everybody had a vest like that," she said.
But Councilor Nanke observed that "our former police chief was smacked downtown walking across the street," and said that Salem had a problem with people on foot getting hit.
|Salem Bike Club Supports Plan|
Curiously, Councilor Clem moved to adopt without the skateboarding stuff, even though the inclusion of skateboarding policy was at Council's direction!
Councilor Nanke offered a substitute motion for staff recommendation. It passed with one nay, I believe, but I couldn't tell who opposed it. Perhaps Councilor Clem.
Update on Goal 5 Resources:
From the letter of August 8 by Elizabeth Potter and Friends of Pioneer Cemetery:
the proposed Ordinance Bill No. 20-12 does not identify Salem Pioneer Cemetery, originally known as Odd Fellows Rural Cemetery, as a Goal 5 resource to be weighed in the balance with Transportation Goal No. 12....Councilor Bennett and the City Attorney had a good bit of conversation over this. Informally, Attorney Tosh indicated that it was something of a moot point, since it was unlikely that anything further would happen on the Hoyt-Rural connection. He seemed to think that the matter would be punted indefinitely into the future, and offered that there would be any number of layers of administrative review any connector through the cemetery would have to pass.
the specific physical and operational issues and obstacles [involved in a cemetery connection] could well have been defined in consultation with the cemetery stewards at a preliminary stage before the plan was launched into formal review fifteen months ago with the cemetery as the presumptive site for a connector.
The proposed Ordinance Bill No. 21-12 makes no acknowledgement of the status of Salem Pioneer Cemetery in the federally-mandated statewide historic preservation program [as well as Salem's Local Landmark designation] or the attendant requirement for review and compliance if federal funding should figure in a bicycle/pedestrian connector project affecting the cemetery.
|The City Attorney Explains|
If you believe, as I do, that there's a way to structure a path connection that enhances, rather than detracts from, cemetery security and preservation, then other than being cumbersome, there's nothing to fear from a Goal 5 review. On the other hand, presumably Potter is appealing to this because she believes it would introduce a delay or burden fatal to the project.
Stepping back, Councilor Bennett seemed to want Council's role to ratify a project agreed upon by the neighborhood and cemetery stewards. He wanted to remove Council as an arbiter or planner, and instead seemed to say - you guys go talk about it, and come back when you're on the same page.
The stance was interesting in light of the Third Bridge process. It is hard to imagine Council saying here, "you guys go talk about it and come back when you're on the same page." Council is going to be arbiter and is going to have to make a decision.
It is also interesting because there is a sense in which the cemetery problem and bridge problem are both casualties of a tortured public process, one that isn't interested in truth as much as the politically convenient. The Hoyt-Rural process is officially agnostic about the cemetery, but we all know the cemetery is the most likely place for a connector. Potter is right about some things. Similarly, the Third Bridge process is officially agnostic about an alignment, but we all know the fix is in for 4D. Both processes have gunked up things with legal maneuvering and administrative posturing that obfuscates rather than clarifies.
There may be more to say on this.