(If not, it's at 3pm in the amphitheater at Riverfront Park on Thursday the 21st.)
The fencing has been up and actual digging already well underway, so strictly speaking this is an after-the-fact ceremony and not actual first spade of dirt.
But it's still nice.
So the next piece of the puzzle will be to create better walking and biking connections along State Street and crossing the busy urban highways of Front, Commercial, and Liberty.
|The Downtown Strategic Action Plan|
recognizes the importance of the natural
connection down State Street (in purple)
But families will want also to be able to walk and bike from close-in neighborhoods like Bush, Englewood, Grant, and Highland, through downtown, and into Minto Park.
|Frustration on State Street|
|Look at all those cars zooming up State Street!|
(But also, at the end of this boulevard
will be the Minto Bridge)
Having recognized this, the Downtown Mobility Study has a longer-range plan for State Street, but it's dormant at the moment.
|State St Bikeway out on 25 year horizon|
|10 year vision: Sharrows on Union and Winter, bike lanes on|
High and Church, two-way conversion on cottage
On June 8th it looks like City Staff will go to Council for approval on a grant application for a bike boulevard planning project with the Maple/Winter Street alignment.
That's something to cheer.
But if, as seems to be the case with the recent field trip to Portland, there is new interest in bike boulevards more generally, there are multiple opportunities in the City to push for accelerated implementation of existing plans.
The recommendations in the Downtown Mobility Study offer multiple opportunities, and its recommendation for State Street follow naturally on the progress with the Minto Bridge and with partial implementation of the Union Street bikeway.
Additionally, this summer the refinement plan for the section of State Street between 12th and 25th will likely kick off, and this process too follows naturally on the Minto Bridge.
If we want to, Salemites have an opportunity to reconfigure State Street to make it a street for all users, for walking, biking, skating, and driving. It could be a place to linger on and enjoy rather than a placeless passing for cars.