Monday, January 7, 2013

Meetings on Rail and Street Trees. Show on Landmark Legislation: Monday Newsbits

You may recall back in October there was talk about the street trees along the south side of State Street between Commercial and Liberty at the Ladd & Bush Bank.

US Bank wants to remove trees on the right (south) side of State
State Street merchant and gallery owner Mary Lou Zeek has a note about a meeting on the 9th regarding the trees and their proposed removal. The meeting is at 3pm at Pringle Community Hall on Wednesday the 9th.

Trees have been an enduring part of the streetscape!
Note also the bikes! Photo, 1891: Salem Library
(This photo has been scanned well, and will enlarge to show great detail)
While street trees are an important part of traffic calming and pleasant sidewalks, the cast iron facade of Ladd & Bush Bank is unique in Salem and historically rare in Oregon. The Ladd & Tilton and Ladd & Bush banks were nearly twins, and in the 1960s when the bank was nearly completely rebuilt, the facade from Ladd & Tilton was incorporated into the facade of Ladd & Bush.

The bank's facades and elevations belong to a very small number of Salem buildings whose aesthetic and historical interest may trump the natural order.  Note how dark is the sidewalk in the top photo.  We should be able to see more of Ladd & Bush!  (Apparently the trees' root systems are also interfering with sewer lines.)

I like the west facing wall, with the new, smaller trees, so much more than the north facing wall, with the existing trees.  Whether you also find them oversized is of course a matter of personal opinion, and we should not want to remove street trees lightly.  But I hope that a compromise can be reached that will open the canopy to let more of the building be visible while also retaining the virtues and charm of the street trees.

Help Make Sure we have a Good Purpose & Need for Rail

A Train Spotter Wedding? 
At present we have extremely limited passenger rail service up and down the I-5 corridor.  For some purposes, like commuting and other business, it's not just limited - it's lousy, even useless. 

Happily, ODOT is working on a project we actually need:  Improved passenger rail!  You shouldn't need a car to go to Portland or Eugene.

For the next phase of the project, there's an open house on Thursday, the 17th:
Jan 17, 2013 - 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Chemeketa Center for Business and Industry, 626 High Street NE, Salem, OR, 97301
The open house materials haven't been posted yet - but look here this next week.

In the meantime, here's some good ODOT propaganda!

Oregon Passenger Rail Overview.

Interestingly, there's little talk of Salem in the video - so Salemites need to weigh in to make sure the project attends to our needs!

Wait...Is Salem a Part of this? (Details from video)
The project is currently in the "understand" phase, which includes the formulation of a "Purpose & Need" statement.

We need a good Purpose & Need!
As we have seen with the Salem River Crossing, Purpose & Need statements can be jury-rigged or crappily formulated to steer towards certain outcomes and to ignore important data or considerations. This is a project that needs a good Purpose & Need statement!

Landmark Legislation at the Library

And there's a small traveling show at the library on Oregon's Landmark Legislation.  Transportation figures significantly in it!

1919:  The Gas Tax (And remember, "mud" means manure!)

1971:  The Bike Bill

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