Monday, June 29, 2015

West Salem Business District Action Plan Draft set for July Meetings

In anticipation of several meetings in July, the West Salem Business District Action Plan study has released an executive summary of the proposed projects.

An extension of Second Street along the abandoned railroad with a crossing under Wallace Road leads the recommendations.

West Salem Business District Action Plan
Executive Summary, June 26th
From the summary, keyed to the map numbers...
    Phase I Improvements and Actions (near-term):

  1. 2nd Street extension and grade-separated undercrossing of Wallace Road. Allows vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians to cross Wallace Road without adding to or being stopped by the congestion on Wallace Road. Provides greater east-west connection throughout West Salem. Mitigates traffic impact for property as redevelopment occurs.
  2. Local street connections to Musgrave Avenue and Taggart Drive. Local street connections are needed on the east side of Wallace Road in conjunction with the 2nd Street undercrossing in order to provide better local connections to businesses and properties in the area.
  3. Extension of Murlark Avenue/Patterson Street to Glen Creek Road. Provides an alternate route into the West Salem Business District from the residential area west of Wallace Road, besides the intersection of Glen Creek Road. 
  4. Evaluate Supplemental Transportation SDC. This concept has been used in other communities. The financial feasibility has not been investigated and further evaluation is recommended. A supplemental transportation system development charge (SDC) would allow new development to pay a proportionate share of major infrastructure improvements based on their level of impact on the transportation system, allowing the City to collect funds while continuing to approve development and seek other funding sources. (not shown on map)

  5. Phase II Improvements (mid-term):

  6. Spot intersection improvements. In order to fully mitigate the traffic impacts of future development, the following spot intersection improvements will need to be addressed in the future, depending on the location of (re)development over time.
    - Edgewater/Wallace – Southbound Right-Turn Lane
    - Edgewater/Murlark – Traffic Signal (could be installed at Patterson Street if it is deemed the preferred location)
    - Edgewater/Rosemont – Westbound Right-Turn Lane (not shown on map)

  7. Phase II Improvements (long-term):

  8. Opportunistic local connections. Local street connections are needed to provide greater north-south access through the Employment District and the Town Center District. These could be initiated by the City to incentivize development or could be provided by developers when properties redevelop over the long-term.
The summary also discusses land use in three separate districts.

West Salem Business District Action Plan
Executive Summary, June 26th
Again, from the summary:
Town Center District: The design concept envisions this area increasing its walkability by connecting the partial streets and drive aisles into a complete street grid over time. Encouraging more housing, increasing overall density, and providing more mixed-use development and redevelopment will increase vitality, improve accessibility of goods and services within close proximity to housing and other uses, and make this area a center for retail and civic uses for all of West Salem.

Employment Center District: The industrial area between Patterson Street and Wallace Road contains a mix of strong existing manufacturers, including metals and food processing, and a number of vacant and underutilized industrial buildings. Manufacturing jobs are typically stable, higher wage jobs and spur other income and jobs in the area. Strengthening Salem’s manufacturing sector is a top priority for the City and Urban Renewal Agency. Grow and diversify craft industrial uses, including a retail component. Examples include: cheese makers, furniture makers, breweries, etc.

Main Street District: The main street district will build upon the existing concentration and mix of businesses; main street feel, and the successful completion of many of the recommendations within the Edgewater/Second Street Redevelopment Action Plan. The development concept also envisions an extension of commercial uses on the north side of 2nd Street to allow for a double-sided commercial environment.
All this is prelude to the July meetings:

  • July 1 - Special WSRAB Meeting to discuss Action Plan (agenda and meeting packet), West Salem Library 7:30 AM
  • July 2 Salem Chamber Governmental Affairs presentation, Salem Chamber 7:00AM
  • July 13 - City Council Chambers - Work Session, 5:30PM
  • August 10 or 24 - Urban Renewal Agency's consideration of the Action Plan report/recommendations (this will be a staff report on the Agency Board agenda)
There's a lot to like here. Project numbers one and three, the undercrossing along Second Street and the Murlark/Patterson connection to Glen Creek would do a lot for walking and biking connectivity. The undercrossing especially would mend a huge gap in the network.

The second project would make a road out of what is currently a path-only segment of the railroad right-of-way. By itself that seems like an unwanted give-away, a loss of precious and protected park space for people on foot and on bike. But with a true multi-modal path and street design, this will add more people, more traffic of many kinds, and make a slack space more vibrant.

As long as the extension of Second Street does not then become part of a Marine Drive expressway and OR-22 connection, the extension looks like it will not degrade the park experience or conditions for people on foot and on bike.

I keep waiting to discover, or for someone else to point out, a fatal defect in the plan, but it just seems like a winning and truly multi-modal approach to a set of problems in connectivity and challenges in redevelopment. (Do you see any reason not to embrace the plan?)

If we can just find funding for a timely implementation so this doesn't remain a shelf study....maybe the City already has one or more sources in mind. We can hope.

No comments: