Thursday, February 20, 2014

After Gil, What Next? Amend and Improve Council Goals! - Updated

You might remember this from Bike and Walk Salem. A pedestrian median costs around $40,000 last I heard. For $7 million, you could construct and install about 175 pedestrian medians at difficult intersections in Salem.

Or you could spend it on the Salem River Crossing.

Council Goals on Transportation (January 2014)
click to enlarge
I'm not yet sure what action items might be on Council agenda for February 24th, but on March 10th, City Council will conduct a work session with a view towards updating the "Council Goals" document, which is a subset of plans and actions and goals that Council specifically wants to focus on in the near-term.  It's to help guide Staff and Council narrow things down to the important stuff.

The clip here is on "Transportation Connectivity," and there are four goals.  Two of them have to do with the Third Bridge.  In addition to being a bad idea, the Salem River Crossing is a huge drain on staff time and it has cost $7 million and countingKilling it would help a lot towards redirecting City Staff towards more productive pursuits - like an 8 to 80 city. That's 175 pedestrian medians!

The third goal is close to being crossed off - or at least being incremented forward.  The near-term goal for improving connections to the Union Street RR Bridge on the downtown side is in motion, and it looks like the Downtown Advisory Board will be moving up the schedule, even, with the addition of Urban Renewal Funds.

So rather than just simply updating this blurb to reflect that funding decision, Council should pick off the next item (preferably more than one!) in the Downtown Mobility Study and direct Staff to work on it.  (There's also the Wallace Road connection to the bridge, which remains a formidable barrier, as well as the recommendations in Bike and Walk Salem.)

If we were looking for ways to build on Gil Penalosa's visit, asking Council to ditch the Salem River Crossing and to accelerate implementation of the Downtown Mobility Study could be an excellent ask for the March 10th session!

(Or maybe you can think of an even better ask? That was the first one that came to my mind.)

Update, March 4th

Here's the full presentation!


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Well, it looks like the work session may have been postponed. The Council agenda is up for the 24th and:

"Council Goals Update ~ To be determined"

It's still a good thing to think about, and the session still probably offers the next moment to affect policy in a substantial way.

Will have more on the agenda - a light one for our interests here - in the next day or two.

Curt said...

Or for the $9mil. the city has spent on parking you could build many more. Which has already been passed as a council goal.

Susann Kaltwasser said...

Because of a family matter I ended up missing the Gil Palosa talk. I can't get CCTV either, so I thought I would see what I could find on the internet about his vision. I came across a great, although short, TED talk on YouTube

I am going to post a link on FB and encourage my friends to check it out. I urge others to do the same.

Susann Kaltwasser said...

My apologies Gil Penalosa...sorry for getting it wrong...I am a newbie

Curt said...

SBOB: You should drill into that $7mil. so we can see exactly what could be redirected into 8-80 initiatives. My understand is its only about $230k in local money. The rest is federal and ODOT money that is unlikely to be redirected into other local improvements. Same for the $2mil yet to be spent.

The $9mil. in parking subsidy is all local money that could be redirected carry out 8-80 policies. We have the policies in place. We have electeds that have taken the risk to implement them. Its people that need to support it--especially SBOB allies.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Sorry I wasn't clear with the past tense: As you say, basically nothing in that $7M would be available to be reallocated. That money is spent, gone. That figure is an illustration of policy choices and priorities, not a budget line-item that can be reassigned.

Similarly, Council Goals is a policy document, and isn't about assigning dollar amounts to projects.

So that's why I was not interested in drilling into the $7M or identifying any other particular source of funds. That's a secondary step for after the policy choice is identified!

While it doesn't exactly remain a Council Goal to implement the Parking Task Force recommendations, there is still the shortfall in operating and capital funds, and it remains a Goal to figure that out. Just purely pragmatically, redirecting the funds from the parking subsidy is not something folks are going to rally around in a few weeks. That's a longer-term project and didn't seem useful to discuss in this context at the moment. I was trying to think of an action people might realistically undertake right now, based on something many of us broadly agree on - rather than on something that remains contested.

(Zooming out a bit, persuading people that the system of subsidized free car storage in the public right of way is not an efficient use of funds or of the public space remains a sound goal! But that's gonna take a while.)

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

updated with video of talk