The wrinkle has been pointed out before informally in conversation, but it is not discussed formally in much detail in Chapter 3.2 on Land Use of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
The key fact is that the proposed location for the giant bridge and highway is largely outside of the Urban Growth Boundary of the Salem-Keizer metro area.
By contrast, the CRC is inside the Portland UGB. Being outside of the UGB adds some regulatory hurdles to the Salem project, and on Wednesday, the Oversight Team heard from the Department of Land Conservation and Development on this. (N3B has some preliminary notes on the meeting and the approval for additional study and a quasi-supplemental DEIS on the "Salem Alternative.")
|(Slides on green and dated, all part of presentation)|
|Third Bridge outside UGB|
the Statewide Planning Goals, and the presentation outlined the criteria and approval conditions for these kinds of exceptions.
Specifically, the bridge location requires exception for goals with Agricultural Lands, Public Facilities, Urbanization, and the Willamette River Greenway.
The standard for approving exceptions is three-fold:
- Show that there are no reasonable alternatives that do not require an exception
- Explain why non-exception alternative cannot reasonably meet transportation needs
- Non-exception alternatives may cost more, perform less well, but nonetheless be reasonable
|Increasingly accepting congestion is official policy|
|DEIS not detailed enough|
But the exception criteria look pretty high and difficult to meet.
Still at any number of other decisions points, plain language and common sense would seem to have erected a bulwark against the project's oversized ambition, but we have seen how the ordinary meaning of language is insufficient to check momentum.
So is there magic here that, for example, is not in Salem's Comprehensive Plan?
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.Observers of the process will likely hold some skepticism. But here also are potential grounds for legal action should litigation at some point become necessary.
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.