Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tall Tales and Two Bridges: Salem River Crossing Meets on Third Bridge, MWACT on Minto

On Thursday the 6th, the Salem Rivercrossing Oversight Team and the Mid-Willamette Valley Area Commission on Transportation meet consecutively to talk about two different bridges.

One offers tall tales and the prospect of climate change and neighborhood destruction, the other offers greenery, recreation and a fuller civic life. 

Like the Salem River Crossing:   Library of Congress

1937 propaganda
for urban highways
via NYRB
From the River Crossing blurb:
The Salem River Crossing Project’s decision-making group, the Oversight Team, will meet on Thursday, February 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mid Willamette Valley Council of Governments office (100 High St. SE, Suite 200). During the meeting, the team will recommend a locally preferred alternative. The group will also discuss the process to develop a project financial strategy and to review bridge type for the preferred alternative.
N3B says it's "all hands on deck" and asks everyone who is able to attend to say "no" to the dreck.

Meanwhile there's an amusing scrap in the "policy statements" in support of the bridge:
Encourage the development of a bike/pedestrian loop between the Union Street Pedestrian Bridge and new bridges on the east and west sides of the river, while minimizing the fiscal impact to roadway funding sources.
Just as long as some other magic funding source appears!  Roads are for cars, you biking and walking ninny!

Additionally, Cherriots seems like the lone intistutional and governmental actor that can mount a reasonable critique.  In a recent press release about Gil Penalosa's visit they said:
Salem-Keizer Transit General Manager Allan Pollock said, “I had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Penalosa speak in Washington D.C. Like many who hear him, I was inspired by his vision. Gil articulates the importance and benefits of active transportation in a compelling way. We are honored to have the opportunity to host him in Salem and hope that many will join us to learn how we might improve livability in our own community.”
A candidate for the single best thing Cherriots can do to improve livability in Salem is to kill the folly once and for all! Silence on this suggests that "transit is powerless in the face of congestion."  Instead, Cherriots should mount a vigorous and sustained critique of the Salem River Crossing and its auto-centric and antiquated urban highway approach to congestion. (And, you know, maybe use that to build support for expanded transit service?)

The bridge is getting closer -
in the draft STIP and almost there
After that meeting,
The Mid-Willamette Valley Area Commission on Transportation...[meets] at 3:30 p.m. at the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments, 100 High St SE, Suite 200, in Salem.

Prior to the meeting [agenda here], there will be an open house for the Draft Fiscal Year 2015 - 18 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), beginning at 2:45 in the same location.
Locally, one of the centerpieces of the STIP is the final funding piece for the Minto bridge.  Last month
Senate President Peter Courtney announced...that the final piece of funding for the bike and pedestrian bridge linking Salem’s Riverfront and Minto Brown Island Parks is included in the latest State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission Thursday morning.

The STIP includes $1,581,000 for the foot and bicycle bridge. City officials say the grant will complete the funding for the $10 million bridge and trail project, which will be paid for with a combination of state, federal and local funds.

“This bridge provides a critical recreation and transportation link between downtown and Salem’s own urban natural area, as well and neighborhoods and business districts along South River Road.” Courtney said. “It will double the opportunities for walking, running and cycling along the Willamette River. It will make Salem’s park system on the river a true Oregon gem.”

Courtney (D-Salem/Gervais/Woodburn) said he plans to appear in support of the bridge project as part of the Transportation Commission’s public review of the STIP....[italics added]
Besides the Minto Bridge, there are a couple of other projects in the STIP that are either new or new to me.

The community of Eola on the 1917 USGS Quad
$400K for "REALIGN DOAKS FERRY ROAD TO THE WEST TO NEW INTERSECTION FOR RIGGS ST NW AT OR22."*  Our urban highway is a charlie foxtrot here.  The turning movements and merging at Doaks Ferry and Highway 22 have resulted in a disproportion of crashes and the stretch has been an offical "safety corridor." The park adjacent to the intersection, Holman wayside, has been closed because of crime and cruising, but the sidepath along Highway 22 goes up through the park.  A realigned Doaks Ferry would seem to skirt the backside of the historic town of Cincinnati, now known as Eola. Abigail Scott Duniway, who has been in the news lately as a leading candidate for naming one of Portland's new bridges, taught there in the 1850s.  I don't know that I have an opinion about this project - but it is important that appropriate bike lanes and sidewalks be included, and I hope they don't trash the vestiges of Eola.

$500K for "UPGRADE SIGNALS WITH NEW FEATURES FOR CONSPICUITY, TURNING AND PED PROTECT. ADD PED BEACON"* between mileposts 18 and 21 on Wallace Road (Highway 221). Where is this?! The google doesn't support searches by milepost! Is it near the Wheatland Ferry access? That's my best guess. (Do you know?)

There's also $2.5M for widening, sidewalks, and bike lanes on Hayesville Drive in unincorporated Marion County. That project has been floating around looking for a funding source for some time.  (Gotta "minimize the fiscal impact to roadway funding sources"!)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From ODOT:

"MWACT meeting originally scheduled for today is canceled. The STIP Open House will still be held at 2:45 as scheduled."

Not sure what this actually means so far as the Minto Bridge is concerned...