Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cherriots and the Deviator, NEN, Highland, Hoover, Holman - Updated

Cherriots' Ride on the Wild Side?

Cherriots is having an open house today, Tuesday the 6th.

They sound a little dirty, you might have heard, the Hopper and the Deviator, but they're just different approaches to loosening up a fixed route and fixed schedule in an effort to serve people more flexibly.

The official blurb reads:
Come to our Open House at the recently reopened Courthouse Square in downtown Salem to see what we heard from the communities in West Salem, South Salem, and Keizer. We will be proposing potential alternative to regular bus service in these areas. We believe that innovative flexible bus alternatives can help improve the bus service in these areas. We hope to hear from residents who live, work, and travel to each area about which flexible option would work best for them!

But a a commenter on the project facebook page asks some hard questions that don't appear to have been answered seriously by Cherriots outside of the small meetings:
It feels to me that the decision to impose "flexible bus alternatives" on the residents of West Salem, South Salem, and Keizer has already been made and that having an open house about it is just sugar coating, trying to make your customers feel like we had a say in what is happening to us when we really have no say at all. Regardless of the type of "flexible bus alternatives" imposed on us, what it means is that service that has become somewhat unreliable over the last several months will become even more unreliable. I am hard pressed to understand how any bus driver can keep to a regular schedule when he/she is having to hop or divert off the regular route. That means that we riders, Cherriots customers (you know, those people that the system is supposed to service), will not be able to depend on getting to the doctor, dentist, or other appointments on time. We will not be able to count on making connections to other routes in a timely manner. People won't be able to be sure they will get to work on time. So if our transit system is no longer reliable for any of our needs, then what will be the point of using it? I see this sort of unreliable system as creating a reduction in ridership when what is needed is an increase in ridership. I am not a fan of the "flexible bus alternatives", and I feel very confident that I am not alone in feeling this way. I have always wondered what sort of transit system we would have if the people who make these sorts of decisions had to give up their cars and rely on the system they design to meet all of their transit needs for shopping, doctor visits, entertainment, and etc. as so many of us must.
Rather than obviously improving service, the Hopper and the Deviator look like bailing wire and duct tape, attempts on a shoestring to maintain service with a smaller budget. There's a real risk they could accelerate the downward spiral of decreasing transit service.

The costly, risky bridge will cost at least ten Courthouse Squares
And all this while the Transit Agency boosts for the costly, risky, expensive, and unneeded Salem River Crossing. At the very least the optics don't make it look very good.

Over at LoveSalem, Walker has notes about the Unitarians, who recently adopted a resolution calling on local governments to "Direct public resources to ensure that this region offers its residents a fully functional transit system that allows them the ability to participate fully in all aspects of life in this community without regard to economic status." It would be great to see a surge of interest in a fully-funded and fully-functional transit system here. 

The Open House is Tuesday, May 6th from 4pm-8pm at the Courthouse Square Transit Center in the Customer Service Lobby, 220 High St. NE.

Update from after Open House

West Salem Alternative 2, from Open House
The posters and other materials from the Open House are posted to the project site.  Here's West Salem, South Salem, and Keizer. Each page has slides, a link to a full pdf, and a feedback survey.

Northeast Neighbors and D Street 

Maybe on Sunday you saw the bit in the paper about the Holman building?  It was interesting the way our insatiable demand for parking was normalized into the historical narrative:
...history got in the way of progress.  Downtown Salem parking was even more limited than it is today, with no major parking garages. By the 1950s, the property became a solution. The building was replaced by a parking structure for the nearby Marion Hotel.  The parking structure remains, outlasting the hotel and many of the businesses that once surrounded it.
One of these days, we will cease to measure progress by temporary car storage!

Also today, Tuesday the 6th, NEN will meet and at last month's meeting some interesting issues emerged around a proposed transitional housing development. Parking was at the top of the list of the issues.

from a 2012 city decision
the clinic buildings via streetview
On D Street in between the State Hospital and the Lee Cemetery, there's a cluster of medical clinics that, as Salem Health empties out General Hospital, are transitioning to other purposes.  A church purchased a group of them on Medical Center Drive and successfully won a "conditional use" as a religious organization here in 2012.

Now the church is considering some transitional housing.

Curiously, according to last month's NEN minutes, it wasn't the development itself that triggered a notice to the neighborhood association, but was rather the parking that caused notice.
Neighbors concerned about proposed 10 bed transitional housing to be located on the property. Brian C. [Colbourne, of the City] This used is allowed in the zoning. “Residential care” is an allowed use in the commercial zone which this property is in. The need for additional parking spaces has triggered this notice. Concern raised about proposed child care and transitional housing not compatible because transitional housing can attract a population that is child contact prohibited. Brian C. - Applicant must provide 1 parking space per bed. The church has 19 parking spaces for Sunday. The medical building has 2 offices which use 7 parking spaces. Sunday use and Medical care use allow sharing of parking spaces. There is an agreement with Salem Health for 33 spaces however Salem Hospital is selling this property. In order for this project to work the church must demonstrate that they have a 5 year lease in case the property is sold. A permanent easement is another solution....

D street from a pedestrian and bicycle use is a disaster area. There are no sidewalks on the north side of D. The intersection of D and 23rd is very dangerous. 23rd St. has a problem of speeding vehicle traffic in between D and Market. Additionally D St. has no bicycle path....

Application for 10 bed residential care on Medical Center Drive. Under the Unified Development code, a notice [for the residential facility, as distinct from the parking issue] would not have been sent out to the neighbors.[italics added]
It'll be interesting to see if this housing project, as well as the prospect for the State Hospital North Campus redevelopment, puts the spotlight of sidewalks and bikelanes here.

NEN meets tonight, Tuesday, May 6th, at 6:30pm in the Salem First Church of the Nazarene, 1550 Market Street NE.

Highland and Herbert Hoover

Believe it or not, this was Herbert Hoover's childhood home when he lived in Salem! Virginia Green has written some about it in her timeline digest of Salem history. You can see an old view with the original roof here.

On Thursday, May 8th, at the Highland Neighborhood Association meeting, Steve Emerson will give a talk, "Herbert Hoover Slept Here: Historic Highland."

The Highland Neighborhood Association meets Thursday, May 8th, at 6:30 p.m. There's a Potluck and Social and the business meeting and historical talk goes at 7:00 p.m.  They meet at Highland Elementary School, 530 Highland Ave NE.

Postscript - Lookie Here!


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

updated with links to slides from Cherriots Open House

Walker said...

Adding flexible systems (Lyft, Uber, jitney) atop a strong core of fixed route systems that serve as a spine, good.

Turning the spine into rubbery unpredictable randomness, bad. Very bad.

Jim Scheppke said...

What a shame that Salem did not preserve the boyhood home of the 31st President of the US -- the only President to have spent time in Oregon. Newberg made their historic Hoover home into a historic landmark:


Salem really blew it.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Well, Jim, if it's not a formal "landmark" at least there's an historic marker there now! (Progress!)