Saturday, November 2, 2013

City Council, November 4th - Brown Rd, Union St, Brush College Rd Projects

On Council agenda for Monday the lead item for us is a proposed package of five transportation projects, three of which are unambiguous good news for people who walk and bike.

From the Staff Report:
Shall Council authorize the City Manager to apply for federal funds from the Fiscal Year 2015-2020 Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study Surface Transportation Program and Transportation Alternatives Program for the following projects, in the priority order listed?
  1. Brown Road NE Sidewalk and Bike Lanes Project
  2. Union Street NE/Commercial Street NE Intersection Improvement Project
  3. Liberty Street NE Traffic Signal Communication Project
  4. Hawthorne Avenue NE/Sunnyview Avenue NE Intersection Widening Project
  5. Brush College Road NW Sidewalk and Bike Lanes Project
The project about which I have the most reservation is the Hawthorne and Sunnyview widening. Sunnyview is the only two-lane east-west connection with bike lanes across I-5 and to Lancaster. It is far from an ideal route, but speeds are not high, and it is much lower stress than State and Center, and generally lower stress than D.

Note the red and yellow on east-west connections
I worry that an intersection widening project here - adding a right turn lane from the south side of Hawthorne onto Sunnyview - will make Sunnyview more difficult for east-west travel where barriers are already multiplied. The turn lane will also need to accommodate the existing north-south bike lane on Hawthorne.

The Liberty Signal Connection will just speed traffic north through the Grant and Highland neighborhoods to the Parkway.  It'll probably make east-west crossing a little more difficult, but if it is a mitigation measure that takes pressure off the mania for a Third Bridge, that's probably a worthwhile trade-off.

About the Union and Commercial project, see full discussion here.  This is good news.

No sidewalks or bike lanes on Brush College
The Brush College project in West Salem is one that has struggled to get funding in several previous attempts, and it's something of an orphan.  The street unquestionably should have sidewalks and bike lanes, as it is adjacent to a school.  But the land uses are low-density and dispersed, the streets are rural-ish and higher speed, and realistically the population of children who could walk or bike to school here may not be very large.  The return on this investment will almost certainly be on the low end.

All in all, especially considering the realities of Salem politics, this is a pretty good package.  It's possible to quibble with it, but it's very hard to say there are outright bad choices in it.  (And of course it's also possible to want more!) The quibbles are squarely in the realm of what reasonable people might disagree on, and therefore I think the package is a win.

(If I understand it right, it also could scratch a couple of candidate projects off the top of the bond surplus list and could allow other ones to slide in.  See after the jump for the table.)

Other matters

Council will look to direct the Planning Commission to initiate adoption of the Morningside Neighborhood Plan.

The stormwater ordinances (here and here) might touch on roads and transportation - certainly on parking lots - but maybe someone else who has followed the issue can chime in with relevant details?

For reference here is the initial list of bike/ped projects under consideration for the bond surplus.   (Neighborhood Associations are certain to advance additional candidates.)  Note the first, second, and fourth could be funded with the Federal monies instead of the bond surplus.  Also that the Brush College project is a "tier 2" project in Bike and Walk Salem.

Arterial SafetyBrown Road upgrade (extends existing project)$2,500,000first
Neighborhood bike/pedSignal and Crossing at Union and Commercial$1,075,000first
Neighborhood bike/pedMinto Brown Trail (augment existing funding)$1,000,000first
Arterial SafetyBrush College (north side sidewalks)$1,200,000second
Neighborhood bike/pedSidewalks on Doaks Ferry (Glen Creek to Grayhawk)$300,000second
Neighborhood bike/pedSidewalks on Lone Oak (Silver Hills to Cimarron)$420,000second
Neighborhood bike/pedSidewalk on Orchard Heights (south side east of snobird along city reservoir)$430,000second
Bridge RehabCourt Street wood bridge over Mill Creek$250,000not listed!
Neighborhood bike/pedCrosswalk and Center median on River Road North at River Road Park$60,000not listed!
Neighborhood bike/pedRR quiet zone crossing improvements at Woodrow and Silverton Road NE$1,750,000not listed!


Curt said...

November 4?

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Also, for background on the awful funding acronyms etc -

On Transportation Alternatives from the Feds


On STP-U funds from our neighbors down in the Eugene metro area.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

From the paper's note:

"A plan to install an 18-inch water main between Trelstad Avenue SE and Turner Road SE is on the agenda. The project would help bring water service to the eastern portion of the Interstate 5 and Kuebler Boulevard interchange, an area that could be used for industrial development. City councilors will consider a resolution to begin negotiating for the acquisition of easements."


"Under the proposed rules, new housing subdivisions would need to be designed with features to treat stormwater on site. In many cases, bioswales would be required. Bioswales are vegetated areas that capture pollutants and retain water so it can be released slowly.

Mike Erdmann, of the Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties, said the ordinance could add as much as $3,000 to the cost of a new home....

'We’re not terribly excited about it, but we recognize the city has no choice,' Erdmann said. The proposed rules are 'about as workable as we might expect,' he said.

Anonymous said...

According to the note last night in the SJ:

"The city will request a grant of about $1.65 million for the Brown Road NE project. Savings from the 2008 “Keep Salem Moving” streets and bridges bond would provide the required local match of $1.1 million."

So these project may still require enough bond surplus funds that other projects can't slide in.