Friday, November 28, 2014

City Council, December 1st - Uber Duber Change

Maybe the most interesting item on Council's agenda for Monday is a recommendation from staff to review the regulatory scheme for taxis. You'll recognize the whole Uber thing in the background here:
Recommended Action: Direct staff to review the City's vehicle for hire regulations within Salem Revised Code (SRC) Chapter 30 for possible amendment to address newly emerging transportation network companies who utilize smart phone applications and the internet to link drivers with passengers in need of transportation, and prepare recommendations for amendments to the SRC to address issues raised by this new business model.
This is a rapidly changing environment, and last summer there was a long piece in the Washington Post about how disruptive is the class of "transportation network companies" and their "smart phone applications." More recently, the New York Times noted "The average price of an individual New York City taxi medallion fell to $872,000 in October, down 17 percent from a peak reached in the spring of 2013, according to an analysis of sales data." The disruption is happening in all cities, everywhere.

The NEN-SESNA "Looking Forward" neighborhood plan continues to move, with a future report here for a December 8th appearance at Council, and it is amusing to note that one of its pieces is called "GLUM." The "Generalized Land Use Map" is glum. That's a piquant internal note on the effect that our proliferation of "shelf studies" and largely-ignored policy language has on advocates. So here's to "GLUM," maybe the most accurate component and effect in our planning toolkit.

Other Stuff

There's not really a whole lot of substantial interest here, so mostly a list with little commentary. (There weren't enough four-letter words, like UBER and GLUM, to riff on. Maybe you'll see other four-letter words or have other thoughts?)

There's a federal grant of about $150,000 for playground, landscaping, and shelter improvements at Grant School.

A different federal grant of about $20,000 for police enforcement activity on seat belts, child safety seat, and cel phone usage.

Council amended a Planning Commission decision to delete a sidewalk connection to an Elementary School, and at Council is the final order on the amended decision. (See here for prior discussion.)

As expected, the fourth Fairview refinement plan for the Eric Olsen development was approved and the amendments/conditions look like technical, not substantive, details. (See here for previous notes.)

Council looks to restrict smoking further:
Recommended Action: Adopt Ordinance Bill No. 27-14 that would prohibit smoking on sidewalks and landscape strips within the public right-of-way adjacent to properties where smoking is prohibited, and advance Ordinance Bill No. 27-14 to second reading.
The update on Food Carts looks small and not-very-interesting. That is to say, it's not broken, seems to be working, and it's minor tweaks only that might be necessary in the future.

There's information on candidates to replace Councilor-elect Jim Lewis in the Planning Commission. There's also the prospect circulating of allowing more than one "real estate/developer" types on the Commission. (See Salem Weekly articles here and here for more on this.)


Susann Kaltwasser said...

GLUM is a bad acronym for sure, but have you heard of the CRUD study? Stands for Commercial Residential Urban Development study. It was about how to preserve the character of the area on Commercial Street S from Mission to Rural by allowing houses to be converted into businesses. That was actually a study that made a difference. Let's hope GLUM will too!

There was a simply named study called the Market Street study done in the late 90s that aimed to protect houses along Market from Evergreen to Broadway. I hope no one forgets that area. Large sections of the area have an overlay zone to convert to multifamily. That overlay zone needs to go away when the City updates the UDC, in my opinion.

The Lancaster Study was done also around that time. It set out the street standards that are being inplemented regarding reducing driveways on major arterials and encourages more internal travel and joint use of parking lots. Only 3 copies of the study were ever printed, but it is a very important study that transportation people should know about.

Some of these things sit on shelves, because those of us who may have been involved do not bring them up during our advocacy.

Would be interesting to go into the City Planning Library and see what else is lurking there that needs to see the light of day!

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

CRUD's a good one! It turns up in a matrix on trees from 2005, but the google didn't readily yield other mentions in the City's published studies or staff reports.

Susann Kaltwasser said...

You can go into the City Planning Department and search their physical library to see what studies are languishing on the shelves. I have not been in there for years myself.

I know that some studies are pretty much neglected, mostly because people do not know about them.

I am not sure the City will ever put some of them on the web so they can be Googled. Which is a shame, because they represent not only a lot of public dollars, but the hopes and dreams of a lot of good citizens who thought they were contributing to something worthwhile.