Monday, July 8, 2013

Live in NEN or SESNA? Tuesday Night they Talk Transportation for the Neighborhood Plan!

Tuesday, July 9th at 6:30pm, the joint NEN-SESNA project to update the Neighborhood Plan meets to consider transportation.

They'll be meeting at Court Street Christian Church, 1699 Court Street NE, in the heart of the neighborhood.

The bulk of the neighborhoods are sandwiched between the railroad and a line that roughly follows 25th street.  Institutional uses like the Airport, and State lands for the Prison, State Hospital, and Fairgrounds are other significant borders.

Much of the neighborhoods are inside the 1903 city limits and they enjoyed robust streetcar access to the city center.

1903 city limits
Historic Preservation Presentation
1906 Streetcar lines
Historic Preservation Presentation
Today, because of the way we have limited access across the railroads, connections to downtown for those on foot or on bike from NEN and SESNA have to proceed along busy roads like Mission, State, Center, D, and Market.  It's not a whole lot of fun sometimes.

RR Underpass, 1939
There is one nearly secret underpass, but it doesn't connect to very much, and is locked during much of the week. It is not an effectively useful connection.  Elsewhere, unauthorized "goat paths" connect local streets through the dead-ends and across the railroad.

For a variety of reasons, these neighborhoods are not as connected to downtown as they could be, and for many, the trip to Lancaster may be easier.

As we talk about downtown health in the context of parking meters and the prospect of a giant bridge and highway by-passing downtown, we ought to think carefully about these close-in neighborhoods and ways that our current transportation system offers too many disincentives for making low-car or no-car trips into downtown.  We should be making it easy!

In Bike and Walk Salem, most of the connections in these neighborhoods were rated as a second or third priority.

Bikeway Priorities from Bike and Walk Salem
But given the strategic importance of getting downtown healthy, and given the lack of movement on other Bike and Walk Salem projects, if the neighborhoods were to make connections to downtown a priority, perhaps some new politics would create some new urgency for some of these projects.  It is, for example, sad that the State Street revision has been pushed out so far by the Downtown Mobility Study.  State Street is an important connection for the older part of SESNA.

So check out Tuesday night's meeting!

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