Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Minto Bridge Permitting Complicated; Construction Delayed

Though the Historic Landmarks Commission is the big deal on Thursday, the Downtown Advisory Board also meets, and there's a few interesting bits on their agenda.

In the minutes from the April 24th meeting is a note about delay on the Minto Bridge. I don't recall seeing this out there yet.
The final piece is permitting which is very complicated. It’s taking longer than anticipated to receive the remaining permits; so probably no construction activity will be seen this summer, but perhaps later this year
There's also an interesting discussion of the parking district budget - but unfortunately the minutes by themselves are not sufficiently detailed to convey to outsiders what is the deal:
Renee Frazier reviewed the differences between the Riverfront and Parking recommended budgets from the DAB and the City Manager. Key changes are:
  • City Manager proposed Parking Fund budget increased the contingency to 250K, thereby eliminating DAB recommendation of a capital reserve of 100K
  • City Manager proposed Parking Fund budget reduced Downtown Services to 25K, rather than the DAB recommendation for 75K.
  • City Manager proposed Parking budget includes funds for roof top gates in an effort to reduce illegal activity in parking garages after hours.
  • City Manager proposed Riverfront budget shows the funding of capital improvements with 710K of URA funds; DAB recommended 250K for Park Improvements and 1.2M of unallocated funds. Staff’s recommendation would support the Council Goal to maintain City assets.
The Budget Committee wanted to know why URA funds were being recommended for capital improvements? They requested DAB review options for other uses of those funds and return to the Agency with their recommendation.
The parking district is not self-sustaining, and one of the problems with "free parking for everyone" is that the district has been propped up by infusions of urban renewal funds. It's hard not to read these bullet points as part of that conversation.

On the agenda for this meeting is a follow-up to the fourth bullet:
Does the DAB recommend to the Agency Board that the projects in lieu of FY 14-15 capital projects be set aside for 1) $250,000/Park Improvements already in DAB recommended budget; 2) $460,000 to Other (to be determined); or 3) Committed to Future Projects?
Unfortunately there's no additional materials on the proposed budget or changes to it.

(The roof top gates for parking garages is a bummer, since the top level of the garages are some of the best public places to watch the sunset downtown on summer evenings.)

The DAB meets Thursday, May 15th, 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm in the Public Works Conference Room at the Civic Center, 555 Liberty St SE, Ste 325.


Carole Smith said...

The three downtown parking garages, Liberty, Chemeketa and Marion, have a combined annual income of $1 million - with no debt.

The reason there is a deficit in the annual parking district budget is because the city takes out $250,000 annually to pay for city police officers (a general fund cost) and to meet ever increasing city staff costs.

The city continues to allow downtown apartment residents to park on-street. That was NEVER allowed before and should not be allowed now. The Mayor said "We need to make sure those on-street spaces are reserved for customer parking" in October - but what has she done - absolutely nothing.

In October Chuck Bennett repeated "If we adopt this petition we need to do everything in our power to make it work". What has he done? Absolutely nothing.

When I last checked, the city had written 230 employee parking tickets. When I checked the statistics, 85% of those tickets were written to employees parking in the city's garages without paying. That just forced more employees out into the on-street parking where they are now LESS likely to get a ticket. . . .So employees are clogging up the on-street parking every day - and the city condones it.

There is no deficit costs to downtown on-street parking - it cost the same as parking in front of your house. The city's consultant report show no statistical need for on-street time limited, or metered customer parking. The ONLY reason the city wanted parking meters and time limits is for revenue.

Why do you want to put all the businesses downtown into financial jeopardy just so the city can collect a few more shekels for their always empty coffers?

This has never been about parking - it has always been about revenue. I wish you would concentrate on the right subject.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Well, we may disagree on a number of points - but in fact we are united in a wish for a lively, prosperous, and healthy downtown.

As for the narrower question, not sure there's anything new to say about parking. If folks want to continue the conversation, here are two posts primarily about downtown parking. Several of Carole's points are touched on and sometimes contested in those pieces. They also have pictures and financial tables that will make the perspective here and scope of disagreement clear. Let's move parking conversation over there on one or both of those threads.