Friday, January 9, 2015

Planning Commission: Phase Two of Pringle Square Apartments a Continuation

The staff report is out on the second phase of the Pringle Square Apartments at the Boise site, and it's one of those "no news is good news" moments I think.

The hearing at the Planning Commission will be Tuesday, January 13th, and it would be surprising to learn of meaningful critique or objection. It looks alright and likely to be approved.

Phase 2 on the south side, looking northwest

Before! Close to the same view
The second phase is principally an extension of the design and plan in the first phase, and so any quibbles with it are also quibbles with the overall design that's already been approved - that ship sailed long ago and it's not useful or important to dwell on them.

More than anything it'll just be great to see life, activity, commerce, and strolling where there was rubble and empty concrete.

But I gotta say, that grassy corner in the top image, and in plan view below - imagine an ice cream shop in the summer there...

South Block, Phase 2 in lighter cream color,
corner lawn in lower left
The way the project greets the sidewalk has too much parking garage and not enough storefront or other walkable interest.

Broadway Commons and Coffeehouse - via CB|Two
The south corner at Broadway Commons, which CB|Two also designed, is an instructive parallel and a much better site plan.

Not enough streetside storefront, though - missed opportunity
There's a small addition of bike parking. The relocated main block of bike parking might have easier access now that it's removed from an adjacent stairway. (You might be able to grok the plans better and have a better sense for the way things work in space.)

More bike parking
One interesting note alludes to the possibility of widening Commercial here. I don't remember seeing anything about this before, so that will be interesting. The note says that the project is in the CIP, but I can't seem to find it in the 2014/15-2018/19 latest adopted edition. This bears watching. It would be terrible to whack down the sidewalk for more auto travel lane!
Interesting note about widening Commercial here
All in all, there's not a whole lot to say. Mostly I just hope that momentum can keep going and the thing will be a success. More activity at this site will be a great boon to downtown and Riverfront Park.

Yellow Lot is vacant real estate for expansion
(Department of Revenue, like a fortress, in background!)
Also on the agenda is an appointment of a Commissioner to the Capitol Planning Commission. This is likely related to the location of a temporary Capitol during the seismic work, changes in parking, and other ancillary matters. It will be an opportunity for Cherriots to recruit new transit riders, for Salem to reduce the amount of sterile surface lots, and even for traffic or road reconfiguration. The Commissioner chosen for the spot should be open to 21st century models of mobility and land-use!

Relevant, but not on the agenda, was recent news that an agreement for clean-up on the Park Parcel has been reached.

Clean-up and purchase agreement looks to close
Contaminated creekside soil will be removed, and above the creek on the flat part the park parcel will be capped, either with fill soil or something like concrete. It sounds like the same method was used on the first part of Riverfront Park - so the new park is going to have the same level of risk for users, whatever that may be. The news piece isn't sufficiently detailed to have an informed opinion of the risks.

Who really knows what the level of contamination is?
But since folks visit the park, but do not live in it, and since the apartments will be in new construction well above the soils, it seems like we all run far greater risks elsewhere in our lives than what is represented by potential contamination at Boise. It's something to keep an eye on, but not necessarily to fret over. At least with current information.

The Commission meets Tuesday, January 13th, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM at City Hall in Council Chambers.


Anonymous said...

Salem Community Vision is also reporting that the Capitol Planning Commission is also recommending action on the north State Hospital site: Demolition of all but the Dome building, tree trimming and removal, and utility work. Something to watch.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks for the news. (I think it's DAS that's actually making the recommendation, but that's a minor point.)

Eola hall is awful and should be demolished, and it's not hard to see limits to McKenzie and Yaquina and Santiam. I'd just like to see more attempt to save Breitenbush.

As for the trees, there's that "thousand canker disease" that's killing the Walnuts at OSH, and it may not be possible to save as many of the old trees as people would like.

I'm afraid the way the Hospital's bollixed up the Blind School will make finding a good compromise solution on the OSH north parcel more difficult.

At least there seems to be consensus on saving the Dome Building!