Sunday, June 30, 2013

Declare Your Independence! Go Gas Free. It's a Patriotic Thing

Last week the President announced his initiative on carbon pollution:
Many Americans who already feel the effects of climate change don’t have time to deny it — they’re busy dealing with it. Firefighters are braving longer wildfire seasons. Farmers are seeing crops wilt one year, and wash away the next. Western families are worried about water that’s drying up. And while we know no single weather event is caused solely by climate change, we also know that in an increasingly warmer world, all weather events are affected by it.

The costs of inaction can be measured in lost lives and livelihoods, lost homes and businesses, higher food costs and insurance premiums, and hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency services and disaster relief. So the question is not whether we need to act, but whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late. And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world we leave to our children, and to future generations.

This plan will cut the dangerous carbon pollution that contributes to climate change. For years, groups like the American Lung Association have warned us that carbon pollution threatens our health and the air our children breathe. We limit the mercury, sulfur, and arsenic in our air and water, but today, there are no federal limits on the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can pump into the air. That’s not safe. So we’ll work with states and businesses to set new standards that put an end to this limitless dumping of carbon.

It doesn't just have to be the power plants.  Transportation also creates a lot of carbon pollution.

Here's an easy way to whack as much as 20% of fuel costs and reduce emissions: Make a commitment to Fuel-Free Fridays. Make the commute and errands by bike or on foot.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Some Ironies about Restoring the Mattingly Mural

There's news this week of a campaign to fund restoration of the montage of silent movie stars on the backside of the Elsinore.

So what happens when someone finally develops the parking lot on the other side of the alley?

Mattingly Mural:  Visible because of Parkway blight
and a surface parking lot!
From the paper:
The Friends of Mattingly's Mural and the Historic Elsinore Theatre's Board of Directors have begun a formal drive to raise the remaining $10,000 needed to restore the theater’s mural.

An anonymous donor kick-started the effort in January by giving $10,000. The total budget for the project is $20,000.

The late artist James Mattingly painted the 68-by-65-foot mural, “Theatrical Heartscape,” in 1984. A tribute to the theater's Vaudeville origins, it pictures early film stars Theda Bara, Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich and W.C. Fields.

“It’s a lively tribute,” said theater director Steve Martin. “Obviously the ravages of time have faded it. It’s a great iconic gateway to downtown. It’s part of downtown. We want to restore it to its original grandeur.”

The support group and the theater have spent the past few months studying the project and choosing a restoration expert, Portland-based Dan Cohen of ArtFX Murals.

The plan is to clean the wall, repaint the mural and seal it in late August or early September, when the weather is likely to cooperate, Martin said.
The reason the mural was painted was because the side of the building was visible over the parking lot.  It was to decorate a void and reduce blight.  And if it has come to function as something of a gateway, it does so not because it presides over a gate, but because it presides over and uplifts something that should be at least a little shameful - a sites of demolition, the empty footprints where more valuable and more interesting things used to be.  The 1926 Sanborn map shows homes here where the parking lot is today.  (Not to mention the adjacent Capitol Theater...but that's another story.)

Weekend Fun: Racing at Pringle Creek Community Returns Sunday

Remember the racing out at Pringle Creek Community two years ago?  It was great fun and a terrific setting, but unfortunately they didn't do it last year.

Greenhouses, bioswales, and the cafe at Painter's Hall
make for a terrific backdrop to racing
But it's back again this year on Sunday, June 30th!

Juniors start at 8:45am, and the last mens race starts at 2:40pm.

Birdwatching and the Ruins of Fairview Hospital

With the warm weather they might even have a volleyball net set up!

Check it out and cheer on a race or two.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Brings First Breakfast this Friday

Though you might have been fooled by the weather we've been having this week, summer is here!

Enjoy them while you can
Frank J. Moore Ad, April 1910
For more on Moore - here and here

On the Promenade
And that means the first Breakfast on Bikes for the season!

We will be on the Promenade just east of the railroad tracks at 12th and Chemeketa on Friday, June 28th. We'll have free coffee, pastries, and fruit for people who bike between 7am and 9am.

Tell your friends!  Recruit your neighbors.  Ditch the car and its tiresome commute!

Please support our generous sponsors!
Cascade Baking Company
Governor's Cup Coffee Roasters
LifeSource Natural Foods
Salem Bicycle Club
Willamette University.

View Larger Map

Monday, June 24, 2013

City Council, June 24th: Third Bridge and Parking Garages, Overbuilt Infrastructure

Calling the proposed giant bridge and highway a benefit for "multi-modal" travel is like calling a parking garage with extra-wide staircases a "multi-modal" garage.

(But,'s got extra room for walking and deluxe stair rails!)

A new bridge is a "solution" to no actual problems
for people who bike; instead, it creates
a bunch of new problems and exacerbates yet more.
Over and over this scene comes to mind:
'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'
That's the City in a nutshell on this.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Downtown Advisory Board on Thursday to Discuss Bike Corrals for First Wednesday

With Council agenda for Monday being a troublesome topic, here's something happier - a nice way to think of summer!

Earlier this month the bike corral for First Wednesday looked like a fine success.

First Wednesday Bike Corral on Court Street
As several noted, the City is considering doing them officially!

On Thursday, June 27th at noon, the Downtown Advisory Board will consider whether to support the concept.

The board meets in the IT Dept. – Kalapuya Conference Room, at 295 Church St SE, Ste 201.

The board will also be discussing the apartments at Riverfront Park.

After the jump, the time-lapse on the corral if you missed it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Councilor Dickey's Statement on Transit and a Third Bridge

From the Facebook:
This Monday, June 24, the City Council will be deliberating on recommending an alternative for the Salem River Crossing EIS. Many people have shared their thoughts on this issue in writing, public testimony at Council meetings in other public meetings. I do not know how the vote will go on Monday, but many opponents of a 3rd bridge cite public transportation as an alternative that can be considered, as well as the general trend toward more people using public transportation. Today’s post is longer than usual, as I wanted to share an excerpt of an email response I wrote to a No 3rd Bridge supporter. I would welcome your thoughts on this:

“As you may be aware, our community generally has not been supportive of efforts by the transit district (i.e. operating levys) and at times vocally opposed to transit district locations due to the perception that transit is only for certain populations. I have never seen the kind of grassroots effort similar to No 3rd Bridge in support of public transit in our community. Whatever happens with the bridge, I hope that some or all of those who have voiced transit support in their comments about the bridge will bring a similar grass roots effort in support of public transportation--to thebusiness groups, community groups, neighborhoods,media outlets, etc. Simply not building a bridge will not be enough to change the community's attitude toward public transportation. But I believe that the kind of energy and effort that has gone into the No 3rd Bridge campaign can make a difference. And please know that when you do that, I will support that effort 100% and be involved as much as I am legally and ethically allowed.”
A fair response to this is so difficult.

City Club Presentation on "Multi-Modal" Improvements at Bridgeheads Misleading, even False

This is old news, clips from a presentation to the City Club back in February - but only just recently posted to the City's "third bridge" website.

It's hard to know what to think of some of the materials created by transportation "experts." This set of "multi-modal transportation system changes" looks like only something a person who drives a car exclusively would create (and love).

I mean, if you spent any time at all in this area on foot and on bike, you'd know this list is wildly off-base.

It looks, in fact, like something drawn by someone from a map and list of projects - and perhaps a few drive-bys in a car.

A more cynical interpretation is that it is auto capacity increase with a light greenwash, self-serving claptrap to shore up support for the giant bridge and highway proposal.

Only the Union St. RR Bridge is an Unambiguous Improvement
(and getting across Wallace and Commercial is still difficult)
I count one genuine multi-modal improvement, a few neutral net-zero things, and a bunch of unhelpful, anti-multi-modal stuff done mainly to speed car through-put.

A new bridge is a "solution" to no actual problems
for people who bike; instead, it creates
a bunch of new problems and exacerbates yet more.
This lousy analysis joins the other misinformation about supposed benefits that big, car-centric infrastructure offers to people who bike.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Homes on Tour of Homes Look Pretty Snouty, all Garage-Centric

Once again, the most interesting home on 2013 tour of homes is out in Monmouth!

Olsen Home - 2013 Tour of Homes
In Monmouth!
Sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties, the tour features homes almost all located on the periphery, in car-dependent neighborhoods, and featuring big garages front-and-center.

Walkability isn't at all a draw of the neighborhoods nor a feature of the homes.

The most notable exception, as it was last year, is the home by Olsen Design & Development, Inc.  Situated on a corner lot, it has a wrap-around front porch and a mother-in-law apartment in back over the garage.

It takes its styling cues from the craftsmany homes of the streetcar era.  It's still maybe a little over-sized and blocky, so I'm not sure it's really lovely - but the emphasis clearly is on a house in a walkable neighborhood or one that should become walkable.  It implies a situation where you make a trip by car once a week for the big grocery run, but the other days you walk instead for that last cup of flour and the other odds-and-ends to fill out the pantry.  Not car-free, but lower-car.

Interestingly, the home in Dallas also deemphasizes the garage and makes a generous porch the focal point of the front elevation.  (What's going on in these outer communities!)

In Salem?  It's all about the garage, the modern hearth.

3 Car Garage for a 3 Bedroom House!
The tour ends on the 23rd.

The Fix is In? SKATS to hear Salem Alternative Day After Council Meeting - Updated

Salem City Council meets Monday the 24th.  The Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study, our local Metropolitan Planning Organization, meets at noon on the 25th and will hear about the "Salem Alternative."
Since the item is so clear that "Salem City Council will close the public hearing and deliberate" on the 24th, and N3B has reported on the extraordinary number of Councilors blanketing the West Salem Neighborhood Association meeting on Monday, and lobbying in support of a lite version, the"Salem Alternative," it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the votes are in hand.  It certainly looks like those in favor of a giant bridge and highway are ready to wrap and put a bow on it.

"With our 20 Year Plan we will March into the Future"
International Institute of Social History Collection
Although the hearing is on the 24th, the record will close at 5pm on Friday the 21st - that's tomorrow.  So if you haven't submitted comment, now's the time.  Email Council here.

As an example, N3B posted one good summary comment just recently.

Update, mid-morning:

Another approach might be to cite the the Comprehensive Plan, which at the highest level of Salem planning provides grounds for critique and opposition:
12. The implementation of transportation system and demand management measures, enhanced transit service, and provision for bicycle and pedestrian facilities shall be pursued as a first choice for accommodating travel demand and relieving congestion in a travel corridor, before widening projects are constructed.
13. The Salem Transportation System Plan shall identify methods that citizens can use to commute to work and decrease overall traffic demand on the transportation system. Such methods include transit ridership, telecommuting, carpooling, vanpooling, flexible work schedules, walking, and bicycling.
18. The Salem Transportation System Plan shall identify methods that employers can use to better facilitate the commute of their employees, encourage employees to use alternative travel modes other than the SOV, and decrease their needs for off-street parking.
And the City stonewalls a request for information on the amount the City is spending on bridge planning, as it is "not in the public interest"!
Talk to the Hand!
See a ward map and individual councilors after the jump.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Downtown Mobility Study Punts Much Down the Road, Seems Slack

The Downtown Mobility Study has posted the boards and recommendations from the final open house last week, and maybe the most telling item is that improvements to Union Street and full, family-friendly connections to the Union St. RR Bridge can't be envisioned in a 10 or 15 year horizon, but have to be pushed out to a 25 year horizon.

What should be a game-changer looks like it might just be another study.

Union St Bikeway out on 25 year horizon
Sure, there are incremental improvements in the shorter time-frames, including sharrows and a critical traffic light on Union Street - but even this can't be imagined any sooner than in a 10 year horizon. At one time discussed as a "demonstration project," the Union Street Family Friendly Bikeway, maybe THE project, a showcase, is punted down the road.  So are the two-way conversions.

Playing Card from Salem's All-American Street Game
Story and Photos at Salemis
That's something of a failure in imagination, nerve, and leadership.

But it shouldn't be surprising, alas.  This is also an expression of popular priorities. If vast numbers of people were asking urgently for better bike lanes, we'd get plans for them.

Instead, a cry of "No more parking tickets!" fires the imagination right now.   Even the bike shops downtown are on that bandwagon. Untrammeled Carspace is still more important than creating robust options for people who might wish to feel safe and comfortable biking downtown.

Local News Around the Internets

ODOT's Bike Survival Guide

BikePortland has notes on ODOT's new Bicyclist Survival Guide.  

From the ODOT email:
Looking to get back on the bike and be part of the active transportation crowd? You'll save money, reduce pollution and improve your health! Here is "The Bicyclist's Survival Guide" with tips to keep you on the straight and vertical. Ride on!
It's got a bit of the weathered passport and vintage travel sticker look - as well as humorous nods to the Zombie Apocalypse and other instances in the "survival guide" genre. From a graphic design and packaging standpoint it's neat.

But wait!  Is vintage travel and highway department design the right look, and is "survival guide" really the right messaging?   Are people really clamoring to be "part of the active transportation crowd"?  There are interesting questions of implied audience and reception here.  To a newbie or motorist, "survival guide" might underscore the "bicycling is dangerous and difficult" meme.  To a person who regularly bikes, the guide will often read humorously and knowingly.

If they got many of the denotations and tips right, some of the connotations and implied messaging might be off-kilter.  BP's comment thread and debate is interesting.  Maybe this is a document that will be most useful in version 2.0.

Interrobang!  West Salem NA Vote

No 3rd Bridge has details on hijinks at the West Salem Neighborhood Association meeting Monday night when a resolution in favor of the giant bridge and highway went down in defeat!
This happened despite a full court press from the City Council, including a presentation by the City Public Works Director and four City Councilors and the Mayor in attendance to support the Salem Alternative.

After an 18 to 18 tie vote, City Councilors and the Mayor watched silently as Councilor Clem added his name to the list of eligible voters. At that same time a school age student was declared eligible to vote and cast the deciding vote that killed the motion.

It is fitting that the voter who decided the issue was the youngest person in the room and has the most at stake.
Why is Councilor Clem voting?!  He gets to cast other votes, you know?

Steel Bridge Coffee

You might remember the note about Joseph Penner and Steel Bridge Coffee about a year and a half ago.  At Salemis Chris Hagan has a longer profile of this bikey business!

Delivering fresh roasted coffee by bike

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gravestone Studies Annual Conference Touches on Preservation, Vandalism, and Mausoleums this Week

The annual conference of the Association for Gravestone Studies happens rarely out here on the west Coast.  Portland and San Francisco have hosted in years when the conferences were split into west and east coast editions.  But that's it.  New England, as you might expect, seems to dominate.  So for Salem to host the event this year, in a year without a split, is kindof a big deal.  It's worth paying some attention.

And it turns out there will be some interesting talks between today and Sunday.

John Shunk Zieber, US Surveyor General for Oregon,
Printer for Asahel Bush, and father-in-law to Bush.

On Wednesday night the 19th, John E. Eck and Amy Stutzenberger, University of Cincinnati, School of Criminal Justice will present a talk titled, "A Crime Scene Approach to Preventing Theft and Vandalism in Cemeteries."

As for vandalism, it would be so very interesting to learn what Eck and Stutzenberger might have to say about encouraging or disouraging walking and biking traffic in cemeteries!  What are considered best practices these days?

And on Saturday, there will be an official tour of Salem Pioneer Cemetery.  Conference attendees can see for themselves the costs and benefits of the chain-link fence with a single point of entry.  (It is interesting to note in the nomination to the National Register for the cemetery, this chain-link fence is explicitly called out as  a late and non-original addition - in the lingo, a feature "non-contributing" to its historic character.)

It remains an interesting irony from this vantage point that dogs and heavy cars are ok, but we don't want to encourage more eyes and ears on the cemetery from people walking and biking.  Indeed, in the nomination the cemetery is said to provide
south Salem with green open space of 52 acres which attracts passive recreational use by strollers and dog-walkers much as, in the East, the early rural cemeteries attracted leisure outings and helped give rise to the movement for urban parks.
How this is incompatible with walking and biking connections is something that remains murky!

Monday, June 17, 2013

More Neighborhood Associations to Discuss Giant Bridge and Highway This Week

In response to the eight neighborhood associations that have come out in opposition to the giant bridge and highway, the City is cranking up the propaganda machine, coming back to neighborhoods that have voted to oppose the giant bridge and highway, and tempting them with the blandishments of the "Salem Alternative."

"With our 20 Year Plan we will March into the Future"
International Institute of Social History Collection
Two Neighborhoods This Week to Talk Bridge

The City and Chamber are trying to change this
Be on your guard!  According to an SJ blog post:
Salem Public Works Director Peter Fernandez will be on hand [in West Salem] and presenting information, and Kenji Sugahara, the WSNA chair, said he anticipates that city councilors Dan Clem and Chuck Bennett may also be in attendance.

Sugahara hopes the meeting will provide an opportunity for intelligent discussion on the topic, one in which proponents and opponents can engage in a reasonable dialogue.

“I want to emphasize discussion because both sides have been talking at each other -- like at council (meetings) -- and not with each other,” Sugahara said.

“I want to hear why people are against it: Are they fearful of money? About spending the money and not having the bridges used? I also want to hear the real reasons for people supporting it, instead of just saying ‘it's for the future.’ I'd really like to have that fleshed out. Does it mean revitalizing certain areas? Does it mean more money for developers or more homes?”

"I think this is a much better way to achieve consensus or have people at least agree on some things,” he added.
Tonight, Monday, June 17th
West Salem
7:00 P.M.
Roth’s West, Mezzanine
1130 Wallace Rd NW

Thursday, June 20th
7:00 p.m.
Schirle School, 4875 Justice Way S
(Doors may be locked after the meeting begins. Please knock loudly to gain entrance.)

North State Hospital Redevelopment

Another association will talk about the North State Hospital parcel.

Dome Building on North State Hospital Parcel, South facade
Tuesday, June 18th
Northeast Salem Community Association (NESCA)
7:00 p.m.
Fresh Start Market Community Center
3020 Center Street NE (park on south side)

Not sure about your neighborhood association?  Check the City's guide here.  Links to agenda and minutes are here.

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.

2 Crosswalks, 2 Driveways, 1 Set of Rails: The Epic Journey Down McGilchrist to the SSA Office

10 truncated dome bump pads.

You know those bumpy red things at the edge of every crosswalk now? They signal to blind people and others that there's an important, even lethal, transition in the roadway ahead.

As part of the desperately needed somethings, 10 of them now stand between the bus stop and the new Social Security office.

That's a lot of potentially deadly transitions.

"Horse-pucky" might be another word, mostly suitable for polite company, to describe the situation.  Charlie Foxtrot works pretty well, too.

Really.  How difficult do we want to make it?

Tracks complicate things,
but they aren't the core problem
It's almost like Billy in Family Circus!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Free Parking Distorts Possibilities in Hospital Plan for Blind School

Really, it all comes down to free parking.

While the Hospital tempts the neighborhood association with a vision of "a sensory and therapy garden for children and adults, with a plaque commemorating the history of the property" contingent on demolishing Howard Hall, if you look at the map, you see there's plenty of room on the site for a therapy garden!

Way more Parking & Pavement than Building!
See all that grey?  Just delete a parking lot/structure.  Problem solved.

Driveway on Church has since been deleted
Fortunately, in the latest iteration of a concept plan for the Blind School parcel, any driveways on Church Street have been deleted.

But an important reason the hospital's parking is out of whack is that it is allocated extremely inefficiently.

Public Works Day Features Bob-the-Builder Template, Tweetup, Other Fun

Guess it didn't make it into this month's Community Connection Newsletter, so here's a clip from last year:

Public Works Day is today, June 13th.

Much of what was true last year remains true this year:  With an educational component that needs to be accessible for families with kids, there's always more than a little of "Bob the Builder" about it.

That's great an all, but the emphasis is on cars, and gas- and diesel-fired heavy equipment - big toys and the infrastructure they build and maintain.

These are important things, of course, but as the City announces over-and-over new rounds of budget cuts, maybe it's time to talk about low-cost forms of infrastructure and maintenance? You know, with the TSP updates for walking and biking, public works can talk more about how cost-efficient are forms of mobility other than the drive-alone trip. Let's talk about the price of gas and of asphalt, talk about studded tires and resurfacing schedules!  How about the cost of the giant bridge and highway?

"A Great Bridge will Lead us to Awesome Prosperity"
Landsberger Collection
You're already talking about salmon and zero waste.

Public Works Day offers a chance to frame some new messages about efficiency and economy. But hey, they're on Twitter!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Remember Downtown Mobility Study Open House Tonight!

So downtown parking is the thing right now.

Either we have a surplus of parking downtown, and meters are "the last thing we need" and there's room for bike lanes; or we don't have enough parking, we need meters, and we can't spare any room for bike lanes, sidewalks, or parklets.

Which is it???

If there's so much parking downtown, why is this a problem?
The final Open House of the Downtown Mobility Study is tonight.

Mobility Study Open House, June 12th, 4-6pm
From the City:
A third and final public forum to present draft recommendations will occur on Wednesday, June 12, from 4- 6 pm at the Salem Library, Anderson Rooms. Please join us to review project details, recommended phasing, and costs. Computer-generated imagery of some projects will be available. Presentations will occur at 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Do you suppose we can have a rational and consistent conversation about parking as part of this?

(For all notes on the downtown mobility study see here.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vintage Roadway Ephemera: With Median, Hood and Fairgrounds may Change

Just a block away from Broadway Commons and the new development along north Broadway, the five-legged intersection of Hood and Fairgrounds is a little bit of the land that time forgot.

It's a remainder of the Hollywood district and mid-century commercial development patterns.

Additionally, the VFW hall speaks of "the greatest generation" and its dwindling numbers.  The post was established in 1931 at this location.

Everything is vintage. Even the traffic control.

Hung on a line between two rusting poles and a telephone pole, a four-way flashing light makes you think Route 66 more than the Interstate. The way Fairgrounds Road turns into Portland Road is a clue it was part of the old highway system, an early alignment for Highway 99.  In 1931 it was at the center of things!  Yup, it's old-school.

On Monday Council approved funding a median and some other changes here, and the intersection's going to be changing.  Mostly it will be for the best, but some things may get lost, too.  Notwithstanding the speeding problems, when traffic is light, the intersection is charming and seems full of possibility.  You can imagine it being a hub of activity.

Do you remember the street piano project from last summer? One of them was here, at the VFW hall and memorial wall.

The old-school commercial buildings, the empty parking lot, and everything else stoke the imagination, and I wonder if it could be redeveloped in an interesting way, retaining most or all of the buildings.  (The new Salem Cinema replaced the Eagles Lodge, from approximately the same vintage.)

Do you have any memories or images of this intersection?  What would you like to see here?

The farmer's market has started on Thursday nights, so on your way, check out what soon may be some vintage ephemera.

In the News: Dealerships add Pressure, Human Cost of Bridge, Comprehensive Plan Talks Back

File away in things that make you go "hmm..."

Capitol Auto Group Locations on Parkway
It seems almost certain to add pressure for a third bridge at the end of the parkway.

Lest this seem like all bad news, the City has identified the O'Brien parcels for redevelopment with medium or higher density housing and mixed-uses. That's a good thing! See three Sustainable Cities Initiatives student proposals here.

Salem Weekly continues its terrific series of brief profiles of people impacted by the proposed giant bridge and highway.

Human Cost of a Giant Bridge and Highway

Monday, June 10, 2013

Neighborhood Associations talk Third Bridge this Week, Also Trees and Blind School

Several neighborhood associations have Third Bridge discussion on the agenda this week!  And they're all on Tuesday.  If you live in these neighborhoods, consider attending to be sure there are voices critical of the giant bridge and highway proposal.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 10:00 a.m.
Paradise Island Park Recreation Hall (east side of the park)
3100 Turner Road SE

Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 6:30 p.m.
Oak Park Community Church of God (Youth Center in the back)
2990 Lancaster Drive NE

Tuesday, June 11, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
Hee Hee Illahee RV Resort Clubhouse
4751 Astoria Street NE

Last month in Northgate Steve Dickey introduced a motion in favor of the so-called "Salem Alternative," but it was tabled for more discussion, which will take place this month.  This is worth noting, as Dickey is a Cherriots executive and husband of a City Councilor. It may be that in Northgate there is a pocket of support for a Third-Bridge-Lite!  So if you live there, consider attending!

Other News - Trees and Blind School Plans

There's been lots of talk about street trees the last few months, and here's some good news about them. SESNA resident (and bike rider!) Jeff Leach has worked with the City to put together a street tree catalogue and tree planting project.  Over the winter they planted over 60 trees, and expect to continue the project over several years - until the neighborhood has the makings of a terrific tree canopy!  According to the City it's the biggest tree planting project in the last two decades.  SESNA's effort was a semi-finalist for a national award, even.

At their next meeting, in addition to talking about the "Salem Alternative" Third Bridge Lite, they will be talking about trees!

Thursday, June 13, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
Aldrich Park
1550 Mill Street SE

The deadline for ordering them is July 1st. (As I understand it, the trees are free, but you have to commit to some care and feeding!) SESNA is also talking about planting along the abandoned Geer line, along Oak and Simpson streets. As Oregon's first bicycling governor, T.T. Geer should always have a special place in the hearts of those who bike.

SESNA and the City are also working, I believe, on rolling the program out to other neighborhoods.  So this is another example of ways that the City is not wantonly cutting down trees, but rather has a pretty strong pro-tree policy and project going.


On Wednesday, SCAN will be talking about the Hospital's plans for the Blind School property.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Pringle Community Hall
606 Church Street SE

Not sure about your neighborhood association?  Check the City's guide here.  Links to agenda and minutes are here.

Bike Pins and Headbadges at Salemis!

Salemis has a new story out about collectors - and the lead segment is on Ray Youngberg and his collection of bikes and bicycle memorabilia!

The pins, headbadges, and old bikes themselves are great.  Turns out he was also quite a racer himself.

Head over to Salemis to check it out!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

City Council, June 10th - Bond Surplus and TGM Grants

At Council for Monday, projects proposed for the bond measure surplus are a mixed bag.  Bike and Walk Salem doesn't seem to be motivating any of them, with economic development, neighborhood safety, and the  giant sucking sound of Keubler instead driving things.

The failure of Bike and Walk Salem to have a major influence on the selection outcomes adds to the evidence that it may be destined to look nice on a shelf, gathering dust, rather than become a dynamic force for change in the city.  There's another two studies proposed, but the City seems comfortable with a certain amount of study churn, the cycle of soliciting grants, finishing the studies, and moving on to the next.  It would be so nice if the City, you know, funded and enacted some study findings before moving on to the next shiny thing.

Bond Surplus

Project Scope on 25th and Madrona
Because of the crappy economy, City staff estimate that there will be "$11 to $13 million in Bond savings" from the $100 million "Keep Salem Moving" road bond of 2008.  With these savings,
Staff recommends Council adopt Resolution No. 2013-46 authorizing use of Streets and Bridges Bond proceeds to fund improvements at the Commercial Street SE/Kuebler Boulevard SE intersection ($2, 187,000), Fairgrounds Road NE/Hood Street NE intersection ($325,000), and 25th Street SE/Madrona Avenue SE Intersection ($5,000,000).
To hell with Commercial and Kuebler!  Why are we making these giant intersections even bigger?  We could have funded some of the Bike and Walk Salem recommendations.  Changes on Broadway and Hood will be helpful, but that's the smallest project. I have a much easier time with the 25th and Madrona bit, as previously noted (and here), but it's too bad more can't be done for people on foot and on bike on 25th.

Proposed Median from Norway to Broadway in Yellow
TGM Grant Applications

The City looks to apply for two Transportation and Growth Management grants, one for a study and refinement plan on south Commercial Street between Madrona and Ohmart for a complete street with facilities both along and across for people on foot and on bike.  (The corridor was also designated a critical ADA corridor in Bike and Walk Salem.)
This commercial district developed at a time when little thought was given to non-auto travel. Much of the area consists of commercial properties with a mix of parcel sizes, numerous driveways, and few connections between the public realm and shop entrances. This lack of an inviting, attractive circulation system can be a limiting factor for reinvestment. Although this area is experiencing a moderate resurgence of development activity, several parcels such as the old Safeway store remain vacant or underutilized.
The other is for a citywide study of arterials and collectors.  Reading the description I think of the old "Garden Road," now known as Market Street, and Silverton Road:
Many of Salem's arterial and collector streets were originally developed as farm-to-market roads. The city grew up around these roadways that are now the backbone of the city's transportation network. Many of these roads are not constructed to the City's Street Cross-Section Standards.
The applications look like fine ideas, but without movement on other fronts you have to wonder just how committed to implementation the City actually is.

Downtown and Bikes

There's an update on the downtown Economic Improvement District assessments and well as a more general update on the City's activities as a successor to the Downtown Partnership after the City terminated the EID agreement.  The First Wednesday theme for August will be "bikes" and it will be so very interesting to see how the City embraces bicycling downtown in meaningful or superficial ways.

There's also an update on the North Downtown Housing Investment Strategy, which includes as one goal to "Focus infrastructure investments on those that enhance pedestrian and bicycle flow, comfort and enjoyment, and support adaptive reuse of existing buildings (Liberty/Broadway)."  I like very much the use of "comfort and enjoyment"!  (But moving past shiny rhetoric is always the thing.)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Weekend Fun: Bike Art and Design, Naked Ride in PDX; Ankeny Novice Ride here

Portland's Pedalpalooza started last night, but the biggest news might be the high-brow/low-brow marriage between the Portland Art Museum and the World Naked Bike Ride!

Cyclepedia show at Portland Art Musum
Opening at the museum this weekend is Cyclepedia:
Drawn from the collection of Vienna-based designer and bike aficionado Michael Embacher, this special exhibition features 40 bicycles—racing, mountain, single-speed, touring, tandem, urban, folding, cargo, and curiosities—representing every decade from 1925 to the present, each chosen by Embacher as examples of pivotal moments in the evolution of bicycle design.
The museum imprimatur might remind us of the lost opportunity at ODOT headquarters for bike-related public art. If it's good enough for the Portland Art Museum, why not for the renovated Transportation Building?

But it's not just about art!

Back in April the Museum announced that in a cooperative venture with the World Naked Bike Ride, the ride would start at the Museum and would include a special admission for ride participants, naked or otherwise. Admission is only $1 per article of clothing! That's free if you're in the buff.

The Museum opens at 8pm and the ride starts at 10pm.

Altogether more sedate and Salem-style, the Salem Bicycle Club's beginner rides also start this weekend. Learn skills and gain confidence for commuting or for longer recreational rides!

From the SBC calendar:
This ride is a slow-paced ride on low-traffic roads for novice cyclists. The ride starts at the seasonal wildlife viewing blind on Wintel Rd, 0.1 mile west of the Marlatt Rd intersection.
That notice was in yesterday's paper, and above the fold in the same section was a nice feature on biking at Silver Falls. The SJ's really picked up its coverage of recreational bicycling, which is great to see.