Friday, February 1, 2013

Third Bridge Would Continue Despoliation of Edgewater

As the City works to "revitalize" West Salem and especially the area along Edgewater, its small-scale efforts are at risk of being ruined by a much larger project.

Wayfinding Pole and Blade for Edgewater District
According to the Edgewater Street Action Plan, the City and neighborhood intends to
support goals and policies that will result in the evolution of the Area into a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented district with a "Main Street" feel and a wide range of neighborhood amenities.
The jocose wayfinding system first seen in downtown is making its way onto Edgewater is an example of the kind of thing the Action Plan envisions.  Incremental and piece-meal, if it fails the failure is not catastrophic.

None of the Edgewater Action Plan's Vision and Main Street Concept
is compatible with the devastation wrought
by the ramps and viaducts of a 3rd Bridge
The proposed Third Bridge, alas, is completely and utterly incompatible with goals for revitalizing and redeveloping Edgewater as a neo-traditional "main street"!  And it would be a catastrophe.

At one time, even during flooding, Edgewater was full of activity on both sides of the street.

Flooding on Edgewater in 1948:  Salem Library
But the viaduct and ramp system for the bridge would create vast swaths of asphalt and concrete along Edgewater.

The south side of Edgewater becomes just asphalt
It would take out not just the underutilized greenway and park, but also remove all the buildings on the south side of Edgewater.

Crooked House and other businesses on this side of Edgewater?
Demolished for the viaducts and ramps!
All the buildings between West Side Station and old City Hall:  Gone
If we plan on trashing the river side of Edgewater, why are we putting in crosswalks? There's not going to be anything to walk to!

Third Bridge Elsewhere

Is McLane Island Affected?
Over at No 3rd Bridge, advocates ask whether McLane Island has improperly been excluded from environmental analysis and impact.

They're also first out with the 2012 traffic counts on the bridge! 84,064 average daily traffic. That's flat, still below 2002 levels.

They also highlight the City's new "work session" site, which even has the hand-written flip charts reproduced.

All of the inadequacies in the City and Project analysis have suggested to some that another line of attack is to ask for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. Writing to City and Project managers, Mark Wigg suggested a supplement is necessary because
the DEIS has significant deficiencies including the use of outdated traffic models and populations estimates; not addressing a major Section 4(f) resource, i.e. the OPRD-owned island in the Willamette; conflicting information between technical reports and the EIS; inaccurate costs of alternatives; and the need to map the changes to floodplains caused by the bridge alternatives that could bring hundreds of properties within the 100 year flood zone. Other deficiencies are also present but these are significant enough on their own to warrant issuing an SDEIS.
The next Council Work Session will be on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 5:30 p.m., location TBD.

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.


Ken Bonnem said...

Don't forget that the environmental impact statement also calls for the closure of the Rosemont exit. All traffic from downtown will have to get off just west of Wallace Road. (See page 78 of the DEIS and the map on page 96 of the traffic study.)

B+ said...

Oh, that will be a real winner! This thing just gets better and better....

Walker said...

Graffiti despoils things. Litter despoils things. The Bridgasaurus destroys them. There's a difference. The Bridgasaurus would "despoil" Edgewater like the Allies despoiled Dresden.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Oh Walker, I quibble right back atcha!

From the OED: Despoil: "1) To strip of possessions by violence; to plunder, rob; 2) To strip or deprive (a person, etc.) violently of (some possession); to rob 4) To strip of worth, value, or use; to render useless, mar, destroy;" Much stronger than graffiti or litter!

Ken, p. 2-78 of the DEIS says "the westbound exit ramp to Rosemont Avenue would need to be relocated. The new Rosemont Avenue exit would be located just past the end of the Marion Street Bridge. The new OR 22 Connector ramp would displace all but one of the buildings on the south side of Edgewater Street between Wallace Road and Rosemont Avenue." And the picture also shows a Rosemont exit at Rosemont, so I'm not sure I agree that it would go away or be closed. It would be relocated and reconfigured. In any case, I hope that the question of an exit at Rosemont doesn't trump the bigger picture: With or without a Rosemont connection, this would ruin the Edgewater district.

Ken Bonnem said...

Quibble on. "Relocate" is a weasel word. Don't be fooled by pretty drawings. Rush minute traffic from downtown would get onto Edgewater a full eight tenths of a mile west of Rosemont. That's an expensive inconvenience for the thousands of us who live in the southwest part of West Salem. Also, there's no access to the bridge connector ramps for us thousands. Loser project.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

This is pretty rich! A reader points out that the Salem Urban Renewal Agency provided public comment on the DEIS. The URA board is identical to City Council, though they are incorporated separately. But it's the same people!

Here's the URA comment:

"West Salem URA The West Salem URA was established in 2001 to eliminate blight and depreciating property values and attract job‐producing private investments that improve and stabilize property values. The Edgewater Second Street Action Plan (Action Plan) recommends focusing near‐term investment in this area envisioned as a mixed use commercial corridor. The Action Plan focus includes Edgewater and Second Streets, between Rosemont and Patterson Streets. Approximately $5.5 M in infrastructure projects are planned for completion over the next 3‐5 five years, starting in 2012...
Most of the Salem River Crossing bridge alternatives impact the West Salem URA, which includes Edgewater Street NW, the Edgewater Greenway, and portions of Wallace Marine Park. The impacts resulting from a new frontage road/ramp and highway access to this "Main Street" area of Edgewater and Second Street will be significant to the West Salem urban renewal plan for this area and will diminish the redevelopment value of properties in the affected area. Without mitigation, additional traffic and noise from the adjacent highway project will discourage the pedestrian friendly, mixed use district that is envisioned here."

In the Economic Resources Technical Report for the DEIS, traffic volumes on Edgewater are projected to decline 29% to 100% (!) if 4D is built.

But as the URA comment points out, the goal for the district is at least on paper to create a mixed use district that is not so dependent on car traffic. Not only will auto traffic decline under 4D, walking, biking, and transit traffic will also decline. Nobody will want to be next to the asphalt spaghetti of ten or 15 or however many lanes the onramp system requires! Nobody. It will be an empty wasteland.

So pick your adjective: Kafkaesque, Helleresque, Kubrickian? Which artist of the absurd do you pick! City Council says, "build, build, build." The URA board says, "we have concerns." The theater here - how else can you interpret it? - is just staggering.

Curt said...

Its Orewellian doublethink:

"The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them... To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably." necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth."