Monday, December 16, 2013

Bus Shelters at Baggage Depot to be Reviewed by Historic Landmarks Commission

On the agenda for the Historic Landmarks Commission this Thursday is a proposal for three shelters adjacent to the old Baggage Depot at the Train Station.

Baggage Depot, looking north, 2000
Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey
HABS OR-184-16

The shelters wouldn't be very big, but they do raise an interesting question:  Should they mimic a historically appropriate design?  Or should they be clearly modern and distinct from the historic bits?

I'm not sure there's a clear and obvious answer - it seems pretty contextual, and oftentimes making the distinction serves a greater purpose than faux historicism.  You don't want historic districts totally full of Disneyfied fakery.

Here, though, I think I lean towards something less modern. I'm feeling the romance of the train station, full of arrivals and departures! What do you think?  (The staff report recommends approval as proposed, as the structures keep the scale and massing consistent.)

Proposed Design for three shelters at new Greyhound Depot
from the Hearing Notice
Maybe more importantly, it kinda bugs me that the bike racks at the Amtrak station proper will seemingly remain uncovered past the time these shelters are completed.  The site plan also shows a row of bike lockers, but no ordinary bike racks associated with the baggage depot, and again, no shelter for the lockers.  The bike/ped improvements are slotted for phase III, I know, but I worry they'll be value engineered out.

Additionally, the site plan worries me with increased prospects for right-hook crashes.   

Site plan (rotated counterclockwise 90 degrees)
There will be four driveways right along 13th here now, and because of the Mission Street/OR-22 ramp system, things are pretty constrained and people drive too fast. 

The main driveway would be just past the railing - very tight!
Have they really thought about turning radius and the bike lane?
More consideration should be given to the multi-modal requirements of the street system in the right-of-way here, and not simply to multi-modal furniture or lipstick inside the facility, off the right-of-way. 

And as with the Keizer Transit Station, more thought should be given to how non-auto users will actually use the facility.  It's not enough just to install the furniture; it has to be usefully installed.

The Historic Landmarks Commission meets at 5:30pm on Thursday, December 19th, in Council Chambers at City Hall, 555 Liberty St SE.

(For more on the historic baggage depot renovations, see notes here.)

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Here's a slightly relevant note from a new book, Breakfast at Sotheby’s, about the auction business and luxury goods. Apparently trains are popular and sell well!

'Railways are good news in paintings. People like trains. As symbols “of a mechanical progress that is now part of history,” they are both exciting and nostalgic. The impressionists were particularly keen on them; the faster the journey, the more blurry the landscape. And if railways are good, railway stations are even better.'