The final recommendations for the bond surplus are out and will be decided at Wednesday 's Council Streets and Bridges Bond Subcommittee meeting.
Recommendations seem follow tactics of ad hoc
dispersal rather than a strategy of concentration.
|Brown Road: No sidewalks or bike lanes|
Shouldn't we be investing more in basic mobility?
Too often this is our baseline.
I have listed the total cost in order to show the larger sense of priorities, so the total is substantially larger than the expected bond surplus. In many cases the bond surplus is being used to back-fill with completion funding or used as a local match for other funding sources.
Of course these things are political as well as strategic, so some
amount of "local pork" and "retail" neighborhood projects will be
sprinkled in. But as I read the list, it is striking how little from Bike and Walk Salem is recommended for funding. It's almost as if that project never happened. The selection critierion is independent of Bike and Walk Salem - "provides access to schools, parks, transit." So it doesn't look like the plan is meaningfully directing future investment or strategy. Instead, the project list looks like an ad hoc
response to local politics. On the surface, there's not much strategy here. (Maybe you see something I don't? It's hard to see a politically realistic balance that yet advances substantially our investments in basic mobility and non-auto travel.)
|Selection Criteria (click to enlarge)|
In an alternate universe, it is plausible that the bond surplus would fund a large number of high-priority
projects from the new biking and walking plan - maybe even a complete corridor or family-friendly bikeway. In this world we would take greenhouse gas reduction goals seriously, and show a serious commitment to mobility choice and transportation options.
Instead, one capacity expansion project gets the largest share: Kuebler widening is assigned $3.2M out of just over $8.1M.
And, remember, Kuebler already got a big chunk of the first round
of surplus! With those savings
Council adopt[ed] 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).
So that's $2.2M out of $7.5M. Why, just why?
|There might be more bikes parked at the Union Gospel Mission|
than anywhere else in Salem on a daily basis.
Many of those who ride and use the Mission's services are Veterans.
Don't we owe them better support for bicycling and
a better set of transportation options?
In a world in which we don't have a complete sidewalk and bikeway system, in a world in which maintaining our bridges and fixing "structurally deficient
" ones remains a fantasy, in a world in which we clearly cannot maintain the roads and bridges and sidewalks we already have, why are we expanding any
road capacity for cars?
So, I guess those are leading questions. Still, what do you think about the list?
|Arterial Safety||Brown Road upgrade (extends existing project)||$2,750,000||first|
|Pavement Rehab||Eola Drive pavement rehab (extends existing project)||$700,000|
|Neighborhood bike/ped||RR quiet zone crossing improvements at Woodrow and Silverton Road NE||$1,750,000||not listed!|
|Neighborhood bike/ped||Court Street wood bridge over Mill Creek||$250,000||not listed!|
|New Capacity||Kuebler at Commercial dual turn lanes||$4,700,000||this makes things worse!|
|Bridges||Scour Mitigation for 13th st bridge over Shelton Ditch||$100,000|
|Neighborhood bike/ped||New and repair sidewalks - inner Salem neighborhoods||$1,500,000||unknown|
|New Capacity||Widen Kueber, I-5 to Commercial ||$5,000,000||this makes things worse!|
|Arterial Safety||Brush College (north side sidewalks)||$1,435,000||second|
|Safety||Fixed-Pole Radar signs||$50,000|