Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Market and Old Laundry, the Hoopla, the Urban Highway: Newsbits

After several behind-the-scenes tries, it looks finally like a possibility for the laundry just south of Broadway Commons was ready to go public.

Capital City Laundry: Oregon State Library
Note the Oregon Electric lines and tracks on Broadway!
The paper yesterday had a story about the possibility of the Salem Saturday Market moving from the State of Oregon Green Lot to the old Laundry building across the street from Broadway Commons.

The plaza at Broadway Commons is a candidate for the best urban space in Salem, Salem Cinema is a block down the street, and the Grant Neighborhood is a great place to be right now.  The corner of Gaines and Broadway has fabulous potential.

Interior of Capital City Laundry Today
The building is empty, and there's a lot to like about the idea.

But moving the market activates the space only one day a week. Some of the other possibilities for the space might have used it five or even seven days a week.

This stretch of Broadway just has tons of potential, and it would be great to energize the corner with a greater presence that just on Saturdays.

The Oak and Parking Lot behind Laundry
Parking is also a question. The building is closer to neighborhoods than the Green Lot, and might attract more walking and biking. It's a great opportunity for a high quality, covered bike corral for year-round cycling - either on the gravel lot or using some on-street space.  But wouldn't it be nice to see something on a paved surface, perhaps underneath the old oak?

Improved bike parking would be consistent with the recommendations of the North Broadway Parking Study - though it is on pause, even on hiatus, while the Parking Task Force finishes up its recommendations and wrangles with the Parking Petition.

Street Closures for Hoopla...What about Sunday Streets?

Speaking of bike parking, the Bite and Brew this year didn't seem to have any - not at the Court Street entry, anyway - and folks were awfully inflexible about letting people enter the park to get to the Union Street Railroad Bridge. The Bite and Brew effectively privatized the bridge all weekend. Yuck.

With the Art Fair also "pay to play" the trend of fencing off large parts or event the whole of public parks is troubling.

Basketball, sure...
It'll be interesting to see how much coverage of Sunday Streets there is and whether basketball gets a larger pass for street closures than walking, biking, and dancing - a range of activities open to a much broader range of citizenry than basketball.

But what about closing State Street for "just" walking and biking?
Project Space Cannot Redeem the Urban Highway

You might remember a few years back the downtown group wanted to open a "welcome center" in the Liberty Parkade. Like with so many things in Salem, rather than making something great outright, we try to dress up dross, try to salvage something fundamentally flawed.

Project Space on the Parkway OR-22
Back in March, City Council approved a deal for a temporary art space in a vacant storefront in the Parkade.

Barricades, construction, and traffic: A "Walkable" Parkway OR-22?
It's a really dreadful location, and artists working there confirm they get no foot traffic. Only on First Wednesday or other show openings is there much in the way of visitors.

The City needs to address some very basic structural facts: On a busy State Highway, it's lousy for walking! No amount of lipstick is going to alter this.

Nevertheless, one project examined the urban condition!

Julie Jeanseau has been walking downtown and collecting garbage on the street and sidewalk. The detritus from each block is kept together and added to a gridded assemblage. It will be interesting to see if any patterns emerge.

Julie Jeanseau:  Mapping street debris,
block by block
For more on Project Space 2013 see Bonnie Hull's notes and here.

Update, Thursday, August 1st

Ha!  Closure and Pay to Play a "mistake"

August 7th

Here's a pay-to-play and street closure at First Wednesday in August:


Curt said...

As I read the article on the market, all I could think was "parking freakout in 3, 2, 1..." Sure enough, first comment in the SJ: "OMG parking!"

My neighbors might not agree, but I think our neighborhood soaks up the parking from the Art Fair very well. It brings life to the neighborhood and even spawns other street activity like yard sales and lemonade stands. We spent the afternoon on NE Alberta St. (PDX) and that street is 10X as active as any street in Salem and has almost no off street parking. We would never get away with that in Salem.

Having something here 2 days a week (with Thurs. market) is better than what is going on there now. It will only be a matter of time before more days are added.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated with clip from today's paper about the park closure. It was all an "unfortunate misunderstanding" etc, etc...

Anonymous said...

The Market has posted a note that the Thursday Market at the Commons, which had been slated to run through October, is instead ending the last Thursday in August. It seems demand wasn't as great as organizers hoped. On the other hand, when I have been through, there was no produce, only crafty things and meats. Not maybe the best product/vendor mix.