Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Economic and Housing Study Largely Ignores Transportation: EOA-HNA Meets Thursday

The Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA) and Housing Needs Analysis (HNA) meets Thursday the 19th, but so far the analysis is missing big-time on transportation!

The "life cycle" abstracts mobility out of the picture!
Transportation and access to goods/services is invisible
(this clip occurs in several docs)
Appealing to a picture is by itself not proof, but the absence here of transportation and the movement in and out of goods and services is consistent throughout all the preliminary materials. There's an invisible teat of autoism and supply!

But of course, the bulk of the "buildable" land is on the edges of the city, distant from employers and not yet served by neighborhood and walkable businesses. It's pretty much all heavily car-dependent. Is this in fact where we want to put growth? (Tonight, in fact, the Planning Commission will hear an appeal on a 140-lot subdivision out in West Salem.)

Development and growth on the car-dependent edges
(from the May slide deck)

The Study's data on housing doesn't capture
transportation costs and trade-offs
(from the June draft analysis)
In the draft analysis, the word "transportation" appears only four times, and the authors admit "they do not capture the tradeoffs people make to hold down their housing costs."

But at least some of this data is available, and should be included in the study.

Yet some information exists!
Neighborhoods and Infill

Another problem is neighborhood resistance to infill and upzoning. You might have noticed in the NEN-SESNA "Looking Forward" project a pocket of land zoned multi-family that the neighborhood would like to revert to single-family zoning. (The proximity here to the apparent interest in an Urban Renewal district just on the other side of State street is interesting.)

The brown along 14th street is zoned multi-family,
but has mostly single-family houses on it
(from the State Street TGM discussion)
There are it seems several pockets like this in the central city, and figuring out how create attractive and successful infill that minimizes the NIMBYist impulse is an important challenge.

There are pockets like this in other places,
and neighborhoods don't always like them
(from the May slide deck)
Finally, a footnote: What would it take to get transportation forecasting to embrace the same level of uncertainty and humility?

Could we get some of this humility
on the 3rd bridge and in transportation forcasting?
(from the June draft analysis)
The EOA-HNA Advisory Committee meets Thursday, June 19th at 5:30pm in the Anderson Room, Salem Public Library, 585 Liberty Street SE.

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