Monday, August 31, 2015

West Salem Urban Renewal Board may Degrade Wallace Undercrossing and Path

A little over a month ago a draft of the West Salem Business District Action Plan went out to a bunch of meetings for comment. This was the initial set of concepts:

West Salem Business District Action Plan
Executive Summary, June 26th
Note in particular the area keyed at number two.

On Wednesday the West Salem Redevelopment Advisory Board meets to consider an updated concept plan.

revised West Salem Business District Action Plan
WSRAB Summary September 2nd
Now at the area of number two there is a "future curb cut" (green triangle) and the extension of Second Street NW continues into the park, takes over the footpath, and becomes Marine Drive along the perimeter of the park.

Flashback: Denali Denial at Hallie Ford in 2010

Since Denali and Arctic drilling are in the news, this sardonic comment on our love for the SUV from a show at Hallie Ford five years ago seems more than a little apropos to remember.

Chris Jordan, Denali Denial
from Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait series, 2006
Pigmented inkjet print, 60 x 99”
Courtesy of the artist, Seattle and Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles

From the exhibit text:
There are more vehicles in the United States, some 250 million, than there are licensed drivers. The Earth Policy Institute estimates each car requires a fifth of an acre in roads or parking space – bigger than many modern building lots – and that the nation’s 61,000 square miles of paving consumes almost as much land as the planting of wheat. With fuel costs rising, road taxes onerous and paradise paved, our love affair with the automobile is cooling as we flirt with shoe leather, the bicycle, and mass transit. Light rail is supplementing buses in Vancouver, Seattle, Tacoma and Portland. California voters have approved a 200 mph train. Here, artists capture this onslaught of concrete, asphalt and even – in a view of Denali – the 24,000 SUV logos that equal six weeks of global sales of the GMC Yukon Denali.

(Detail from Running the Numbers)

Salem doesn't have a lot of indisputably excellent things, but the Hallie Ford Museum of Art is one of them.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

City Council, August 31st - The Third Bridge and River Valley Subdivision

Council meets on Monday, and there's a few transportation things of interest on the agenda.

Perhaps the most interesting is a willful silence on the impacts of the proposed Third Bridge.

Over at N3B they point out that the City's got a misleading report on a subdivision and potential hazards to it.

At the last Council meeting, a citizen asked why a geological assessment wasn't done for the River Valley Subdivision. Apparently the prospect of a new 60-unit apartment complex next to existing single-family homes raised the question.

The landslide risk appears to be in a borderline, middle zone where reasonable people can disagree. (And perhaps a minor administrative mistake was made as well.)

Much more interesting is the final statement in the Staff Report, which is simply delicious with tart irony.
There is no reason to believe that there is any danger associated with the homes in the River Valley Subdivision.
Well, this is plainly false!

On the map of the Salem Alternative, you can see how Hope Avenue, Marine Drive, and the bridge approach run right through the south edge and several homes of the "subject area" in the City Staff Report.

How is that not a danger to the homes?!

If the City honestly plans to build this thing, then they need to stop approving buildings that will need to be demolished. Not to do so is wasteful and callous.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Getting to the Fair, Crash on Lancaster, Lottery Dollars - Newsbits

The State Fair started yesterday, and the new quasi-public corporation thingy operating it doesn't seem to have focused much on transportation this year.

Parking is $5, and there's no published information on a Cherriots shuttle or bike corral. It may be, in fact, that there is only the dinky bike rack indicated by the map off of 17th Street.

Bike rack location on 17th Street

Full map
Plan accordingly!

Last night a driver struck a person on foot trying to cross the canyon we call "Lancaster." (Note the reversion to the passive voice, abstracted "pedestrian," and driverless car!)

Friday, August 28, 2015

New Treatment Proposed for Liberty-Commercial Y Junction

There's a couple new memos posted for the Commercial Vista Corridor Study. Mostly they look like "refinements" and additional detail or analytics, and do not seem important to drill into. (There's still too much about meeting hypothetical automobility standards for 2035, for example.)

New details and new treatment
for the Liberty-Commercial split
One item, however, is new and looks interesting.

The City requested a new option for the difficult crossing just south of Alice where Commercial and Liberty form an awkward Y junction.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cherriots Board to see new Rideshare Strategic Plan

The Cherriots Board meets tonight, Thursday the 27th, and while there aren't really any new action items of interest, some items in minutes and reports scattered in the meeting packet are of great interest.

Most exciting? The new Cherriots Rideshare Strategic Plan!

Rideshare Staff will be presenting the Plan to the Board. (Here's the report and slide deck. The Plan itself is not yet published to the web, so we'll update the link later.)

This is important because the Rideshare program is potentially really powerful, but it is also tremendously underpowered right now. It has a large tri-county coverage area, and it is woefully understaffed and underbudgeted. It's thin, thin, thin.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Another Congestion Story Misses on Carbon, Crashes, and Compliance

Crank up the "carmaggedon" and "cost of congestion" memes!

The AP - and doubtless other services - have churned the latest press release from the autoist and highway lobby:
More jobs and cheaper gasoline come with a big, honking downside: U.S. roads are more clogged than ever now that the recession is in the rearview mirror.

Commuters in Washington, D.C., suffer the most, losing an average of 82 hours a year to rush-hour slowdowns, a new study finds. Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York come next on the list of urban areas with the longest delays.

But the pain reaches across the nation.

Overall, American motorists are stuck in traffic about 5 percent more than they were in 2007, the pre-recession peak, says the report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and INRIX Inc., which analyzes traffic data....

Overall, Americans experienced 6.9 billion hours of traffic delays in 2014 compared to 6.6 billion in 2007 and 1.8 billion in 1982.
Over at the City Observatory, they've got a handy critique, "Questioning Congestion Costs." One of the slides has an especially damning methodological point:
The way the travel time index is used to compute “costs” is to compare what are called “free flow” speeds with the actual speed on the roadway system.

The baseline assumption used by the travel time index–that any reduction in speed from free flow levels on the roadway system represents a “cost” is simply wrong. Free flow travel speeds on many roads exceed the posted speed limit, and so the travel time index methodology can compute a cost associated with the time lost to travelers who cannot exceed the speed limit. Todd Litman estimates that a significant fraction of what is labeled congestion costs is actually compliance with posted speed limits.

Somewhere between a quarter to half of estimated congestion costs represent speed compliance. In more congested cities like Los Angeles and Miami, a majority of all time losses attributed to congestion involve slowing down to the posted speed limit. [italics added]
Slowing in order to comply with the lawful speed limit is counted as "congestion." That's messed up, and a terrible instance of padding the results. But counting anything less than free-flow as a fault is the essence of hydraulic autoism!

Maybe this latest study's different, but it would be surprising. Be very wary of its claims.

From back in June, with assist from CO2Now
It also, as was the case with the story in June, completely misses the ball with carbon pollution and climate change. Even if driving were an unalloyed social and economic good, there are still reasons to cut down on it because of climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions have to be accounted for in any argument for increasing free-flowing traffic, and they cancel the case.

Additionally, we should also consider safety, and crashes cost far more than congestion.

2011 AAA Crashes vs. Congestion Study
A complete accounting of driving and congestion suggests that the best way to solve the problem is with systems that make it easy to drive less.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Archive Owner Joins DAB, Vagabond Brewing and Frontier to Open Downtown

The Downtown Advisory Board meets on Thursday the 27th, and while there doesn't seem to be any action item of great interest here, there are a couple of items from the minutes that are worth a passing note.
Most interesting thing? Generational change at the DAB. Justin, on the right, is now a member of the advisory board that oversees urban renewal funding downtown. That's great to see.

In the minutes for the last meeting were also references to two brewing emporia. (Maybe someone has published this news already? But it doesn't seem to be out there yet.)

The alley was earlier this year the site of a food truck kerfuffle
see Hinessight for one take on it
An the Salem Arts Building (155 Liberty NE), in the alley space, suite 120, which was occupied for a time by Indigo Wellness, and then some food trucks on the sidewalk, Vagabond Brewing looks to open a taproom of some kind. Permit applications with the City have been on file since early August.

Information on this one is less developed, but it looks like in the Electric Apartments (249 Liberty NE), just one door north of Kraftworks, Frontier Ale is going to open - but one permit application with the City says Frontier Cider. (I didn't see an OLCC permit yet - but perhaps you know otherwise?)

Gilgamesh, Santiam, and Wandering Aengus have already tried downtown locations - but you'd think at least one brewer would be able to find a good site and a foothold sometime. It's great folks are still trying and hopefully both of them will succeed this time.

Meeting agenda and packet is here.

The Board meets Thursday the 27th, from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm in the Kalapuya Conference Room, 295 Church Street, Ste 201.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Strange GHG Editorial, N3B on Radio, SESNA, State Bike Plan: Newsbits - updated

Yesterday's editorial featured three ways to cut greenhouse emissions:
  1. Reduce engine idling and "follow the 10 second rule."
  2. Find out what drivers need
  3. Unleash high school students
This is a bizarre list.

It shows no awareness of scale. It's all about how to maintain current driving patterns while making teensy-tiny sweet nothings.

Buried in the wind-up is a real suggestion: Park the vehicle and walk.

Finding ways to substitute bike/walk/bus trips for drive-alone trips is far more powerful than starting and stopping your engine in the drive-through or figuring out ways to use your car's a/c without the engine running during a break.

How about "carbon tax" and raising the gas tax. Those are market-based solutions that don't involve regulations or other "red tape." How about better transit and facilities for people who walk and bike. There are lots of substantive policies the editorial might have embraced - but the piece instead carefully avoids anything that might look like "government action." Bigger steps will be necessary, though.

Third Bridge on the Radio

Also, you may have seen the N3B has been running commentary (here and here) on some talk radio appearances by the Mayors of Salem and Keizer and a representative from the Chamber, all to extol the Glorious Splendor of The Third Bridge.

Endless Prosperity will be ours with the Third Bridge
International Institute of Social History Collection
You can listen to the full podcast here (40 min, 17mb). It's hard to say how useful it is to drill into. It's talk radio, after all, where truthiness prevails. Not everything said will be truthful or probable.

Fortunately, today Monday the 24th, two from N3B will be on the air for rebuttal. The show is at 4:30pm, and you can stream it at this link. If you'd like to call in, the number is (503) 393-1430.

We'll post the podcast link and update the post on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Update: Here's the podcast with N3B, 22mb, 55min, N3B at about the 24:30 mark.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Area TGM Grants: Salem wins Bike Boulevard, County and Keizer Shut Out

Over at the Salem Bike Boulevard Advocates, they broke the news yesterday that the City's TGM application was successful and that the City of Salem had been awarded $110,000 for planning the Winter-Maple Family Friendly Bikeway.

You can see the full list of awards here.

Our area also had two other TGM grant applications in contention, and it appears these did not make the cut. One of them from here had looked very weak, and the other was a toss-up. The winning Winter-Maple proposal was from the start a strong and focused one, and it was difficult to imagine it would not be funded.

So it's great that can move forward.

Winter-Maple project area,
Maple and Pine starred
You will recall that a couple of weeks ago a driver killed Caroline Storm as she attempted to cross the unmarked crosswalk at Pine and Maple, one of key crossings on the bikeway that will undoubtedly get a great deal of attention. (It is interesting that one of the All Roads Transportation Safety proposed hotspots is Pine and Broadway, just a few blocks down. One of the limits of both the bike boulevard project and the hotspot concept, is that jay driving occurs in the context of a whole corridor, and spot treatments at intersections won't always address an underlying speeding problem. Sometimes whole roads need to be redesigned. This is one reason why the opinion here is that the State Street Study could actually be more deeply revolutionary.)

It will also be important to push and push to make sure the project gets implemented and doesn't sit idle on the shelf after completion. Even optimistically it seems like it wouldn't wrap before the summer of 2017, and based on other recent TGM projects a longer timeline may be more realistic. They seem to take about a year in behind-the-scenes planning, so we should look for a public kick-off next summer.

Here's a list of all 28 area TGM-funded studies, and it's a long one, with many still far from complete. Two more are in process: The Commercial-Vista Corridor study is moving towards the end, and the State Street Study is just getting ready to kick off this summer. While the froth and enthusiasm for the grant award is deserved and fun, Salem doesn't actually have a good track record of following-through on the studies, so it is important not to treat construction as some kind of done deal.

As for the other area TGM applications in this 2015 round, the Marion County "Kuebler/Cordon Corridor Study and Management Plan" and the City of Keizer "Keizer Growth Management Plan Implementing Community Vision" both are missing from the final list of funded projects. The Kuebler/Cordon one is straight-up hydraulic autoism, and doesn't make much sense in the mission of the TGM program. The Keizer one is utterly baffling, padded as it is with empty buzzwords and no specifics. It seemed shockingly unfocused, a strange submission by a city government.

Several in the Salem Bike Boulevard Advocate team live in the immediate project area, and they are sure to have an important role on the advisory committee. If you aren't following their facebook page, it's must-read now.

As we have with the other studies, we'll also follow it here, and you will be able to read all notes about it at this tag.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Closure on South River Road to Minto Park Prompts Full Multi-Modal Detour Scheme

First it was the Winter Street Bridge on Shelton Ditch, and now it's South River Road. Just by chance, road construction's really clogged the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway!

Maybe in a first, the City of Salem has identified a comprehensive detour scheme - one that doesn't ignore those who travel on foot or on bike!

Photo:  T. Patterson, Statesman Journal, 2011
From the City release:
River Road S Closure Closure
begins August 31 and may last until September 20

River Road S will be closed from Owens Street S to Minto Island Road beginning August 31 to allow improvements to the slope along a section of River Road S. The closure may last up to three weeks.

This section of River Road S has a history of rock slides, the most recent on December 16, 2014. The work involves removing trees and brush from the top of the slope, removing unstable and loose rock, and repairing the rock fall screening along the slope. The work is being completed to reduce the likelihood of additional large rock slides in the near future and to better maintain the site.

Vehicular traffic will be detour ed along a route that follows Commercial Street SE, Liberty Street S, Madrona Avenue SE, and Croisan Creek Road S. See attached map.

Pedestrian and bicyclists who need a way around the road closure to Minto Brown Park may take an alternate route across the railroad and along the Willamette slough. People taking this route need to be cautious in crossing the railroad tracks and need to be advised the alternate route consists of a gravel road to the park. See attached map.

If you have questions regarding this construction , please contact Ken Roley at 503-588-6211 or[italics and rock slide link added]
The new route has been used in a trespasserly way quite a bit - but it has been officially forbidden.

Bike and Walk detour in yellow
Now you won't have to sneak past the gate on the goat trail!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Crash at SSA Office Shows Large Inanimate Stationary Objects off Roadway also Vulnerable

This year, at least four instances of drivers crashing into objects off the roadway have made it into the paper. Maybe there are more. These four are in addition to the six people on foot who have been killed - and we have no idea how many non-fatal injuries have been sustained by people on foot after a driver has struck them.

If large, inanimate, stationary objects well off the roadway, like the Social Security Office, aren't safe from cars, why is there so much trouble with making the roads safe for small, living, and far more vulnerable humans who might be on bike or on foot?

Cars are dangerous. Full stop.

There's more going on here, of course. The driver, 88, might be someone better served by transit. But because of our prevailing land use here in Salem, it is difficult for elderly drivers to give up auto mobility. We don't make it easy for them to walk or bus on errands.

Movie Night to Enliven Parking Lot after Saturday Market

Remember the blue moon and this great image of emptiness in Salem?
There's an excellent rejoinder this weekend.

Block Party Salem is going to show Monty Python and the Holy Grail in that very same parking lot.

Though the event is free, it's also a benefit for the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation, so they ask that you consider a donation of $5.

Here's the facebook and web.

The event runs from 6pm to 10:30pm in the lot where the Saturday Market will have wrapped up earlier in the day - the parking lot bounded by Marion, Union, Winter and Summer.

There will be food for purchased, appropriately costumed skits and musical performers. (They may very well be better than the movie, on which your mileage will greatly vary.)

That's a great way to bring some life to an otherwise barren space.

If you bike there, you may want to keep your bike with you. The lot itself has no bike parking. One block to the north, and kitty-corner to the southeast, the North Mall Office Building and Revenue Building respectively have lots of staple racks, but there won't be any eyes and ears on them, and they may not be the most secure place especially after dark. (Not sure there's a good answer here.)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bikey Newsbits

Several notes of interest in the paper today about bikes!

Doug Parrow, featured here in a story about touring the Tour de France, was a long time advocate and Board Member of the BTA and and Salem Bike Club. But he's mostly retired from those roles - so he can enjoy things like making sure the bottles of wine were empty!

But at the same time in the paper, a "get off my lawn" moment:

I believe that's Zena Road we're talking about, and that's a gateway to wine country and some historic sites. Lincoln itself had an important role in farming and transportation. It's lovely close-in biking.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Jay Driving deserves Revival as Term of Opprobrium!

Readers will remember that a favorite point here is the invention of jaywalking - that up until the early 1920s, people on foot were considered full citizens and deserved a full measure of the public space we call "a road."

In the 1920s a campaign first to define, to marginalize, and then to criminalize "jay walking" caught on. We still live with it.

Lawless anarchy? (a year ago)
A reader has pointed out a collection of citations that suggest two slight modifications to this thesis.

The first is a minor detail, that in some places in the country, "jay walk" first occurs in the 19-teens, perhaps a decade before it occurs here in Oregon. Kansas City may be the pioneer in this.

The more interesting detail that "jay drive" also appears, and it precedes "jay walk"!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Old, Kludgy Intersection of 25th and State at NEN Tomorrow

The neighborhood associations are relatively quiet right now in a summer lull, but the NEN meeting on Tuesday the 18th has a note of interest.

Safety at the intersection of 25th and State is on the agenda.

25th Street jogs at State Street and the convenience store
It's a funny intersection with multiple things going on: 25th jogs with two T-intersections; it marks a land use boundary with the Prison and lots of other state lands; the old Geer Line had run through there immediately to the east; and in the other direction State Street narrows down as it enters the residential district on the west, and we lose the bike lane after a block. Two different grid alignments tussle with plat jog. And we dredged and widened a streetcar and buggy era road for late 20th century hydraulic autoism.

1917 and current map - via USGS Historical Map Explorer
It's a jumble here, and it embodies several layers of Salem's history and development. The layers don't necessarily correspond so well any more to 21st century transportation needs.

Transportation in Closure of Keizer Grocery Store, Land Use

Notes in the weekend papers on grocery stores and the conference center show how we miss transportation in our analyses.

You probably saw the news that after just six months of operation, the Keizer Haggen grocery store is going to close.

The store had been purchased by Haggen as a result of the Safeway-Albertson's transaction earlier this year.

The Haggen, formerly an Albertson's, is just a couple of blocks north on River Road from a Safeway store. It's not difficult to understand why one of them was redundant and available for purchase when Safeway and Albertson's joined.

The immediate area also had a Roth's, which closed recently.

It seems likely that the concentration of large retail along River Road resulted in a kind of market saturation for large grocery stores. In an uncritical way, anyway, it is easy to look at the map and to suppose they were too close together to develop sufficiently large individual markets. They were all competing, and so consumer preference in the neighborhood "grocery basin" or "grocery shed" yielded one winner.

There are additional factors in play, of course. According to The Oregonian
When Haggen opened its new stores in former Albertsons and Safeway locations in recent months, shoppers in many places complained of high prices and a shopping environment that didn't change much from the previous stores.
And you saw that also here.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Councilor Andersen Champions Safety and Comfort on our Roads

Howdy Neighbor! How are things?
Here's a great body of talk that has escaped notice here! Councilor Andersen has been making the rounds talking up safety, comfort, and fun for people on foot and people on bike.

City Council, August 10th

Last week at Council, Councilor Andersen offered comments (from about 15:20 to 20:52 in the video) on our recent walking deaths and on safety for people on foot and on bike. It is interesting that while Councilor Bennett had additional comment, echoing the themes Councilor Andersen raised, others were silent or changed topic. Facing the costs of hydraulic autoism isn't always easy, and it clearly takes people out of a comfort zone. Gardens and wedding anniversaries seemed like safer topics, and a larger conversation did not break out, alas.

Still, it looks like Police and Public Works may have an information report on this to present at Council later in the year. It would be great if we could get away from the "traffic cone theory of walking" and transition to something more like "twenty is plenty."

Cartoon about Car Violence might Mask more Serious Questions

Did you see the odd "car violence" editorial cartoon in the paper the other day?

Its primary target is the Seattle tax on guns and ammo.

But more interesting here is the notion of "car violence."

The terms of the comparison are not clear. If hybrids and electrics are exempt, then maybe it's making fun of carbon reduction and calling carbon emission by hyperbole "car violence" - though of course emissions do in some sense harm the planet as our existing ecosystems are constructed.

But of course a more obvious sense for "car violence" is the too-frequent result of car crash.

We know, in fact, that deaths by car and deaths by gun are right about the same, a little over 30,000 a year.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

ODOT Releases Draft of new Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan

In advance of its meeting on Tuesday the 25th, ODOT has released the draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for review.

2015 draft Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan

1995 Plan
It's certainly more colorful than the vintage 1995 plan it will be replacing.

But how much better, really, will it be? Will it enact substantive policy and funding changes? Or will it remain at the level of "wouldn't it be nice if..."?

I worry that it will be too much aspirational and optional, and not enough of an agent of change in the agency and change in actual transportation funding and planning.

There may be more to say in a post closer to the meeting, and after reading the plan in detail.

But here's a few clips.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cherriots Wander Walks Map Strays from Pleasant Sidewalks

You might remember that some Willamette University MBA students were working with Cherriots on a walking map.

I think the Wander Walks Salem map has been out for a month or so. It's available at the service counter in the transit mall downtown.

But it's a little odd perhaps. Have you seen it?

Wander Walks Salem Map
Some of this comes down to personal taste, but would you say that the best quality walking in Salem is so much on busy roads?

I myself and those I know who like to walk often choose routes to avoid the exhaust and traffic.

Wander Walks Detail - lots of arterial walking
If you were to give these routes to someone new to Salem or to someone who didn't routinely walk, would they hook a person on walking here? Some of them maybe, but some are real head-scratchers - like that #3, the "Salem Center Jaunt" on Center and Marion Streets:
For the urban jungle enthusiast, this walk guides residents and visitors alike through the commercial heart of Salem Shopping. With boutiques, food and coffee,as well as unique and charming local shops...
You mean the mall?

If it is supposed to represent especially interesting or pleasant walks in Salem, I think the map misses the mark.

There's too much State highway and not enough wander.

It seems like this was a bit of a missed opportunity.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

NHTSA: A Year of "Accidents" Cost More than one Fortune 500 Company is Worth

A couple of days ago Warren Buffett purchased Precision Castparts for something like $37 billion.

In a just released report on traffic death and car violence, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests the cost of one year's car violence is equal to almost twenty-three Precision Castparts.

23 of the whole company.

The NHTSA estimates the "the total value of societal harm from motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2010 was an estimated $836 billion."

If the yearly collection of "accidents" cost nearly 23 times the entire value of a Fortune 500 company, is "accident" truly the best way to think about them?

When this remains our goal, are deaths surprising?
1937 propaganda - via NYRB
Readers here will know the answer. We have a system of hydraulic autoism that statistically promotes car violence and yet seeks to hide and mystify that violence behind notions of "accident." By the word and the constellation of meanings around it, we are habituated to death and injury caused by our autoism.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Yes for Cherriots and Weekend Service, Also Bike Theft

The campaign "Yes for Cherriots" looks to have a website and Facebook up now. Check in with them and help Salemites get evening and weekend transit.

A broad base of support will be important because the Chamber of Commerce says they will oppose the measure and "likely lead formal opposition."

Chamber's opposition to payroll tax for transit
The campaign for weekend and evening service may not be argued on the merits and bringing debate back to substance and fact may be an uphill climb.

You may recall earlier this summer a note about a "sizzle" video.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

City Council, August 10th - New Park at Fairview, Preserving Le Breton Hall

Just in time for Monday's Council agenda, there was a nice note in the paper about the digital archives project at Willamette University.

Turns out an "unidentified" image is a little relevant!

"Unidentified Building" - pretty sure that's Le Breton Hall
shortly after construction at
the Oregon State Institution for the Feeble-Minded
circa 1908 - WU Archives
The only agenda item of any real interest is a proposal for the City to purchase nearly 30 acres at the Fairview Redevelopment for a new City "community park."

Just as important as the park is the prospect for the preservation of Le Breton Hall of 1908, the first building at Fairview, and one designed by Walter D. Pugh, an important early architect who did our old City Hall and the Grand Theatre.

The oldest building at Fairview, Le Breton hall,
is not slated for demolition, and it's the one we should preserve.
Unfortunately, there are few details about the building, or about the City's intent for it, other than that it will not be demolished.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Driver Kills Woman Crossing Key Bike Boulevard Intersection, 6th Death this Year

This is the worst.

At one of the key crossings for the proposed Maple/Winter Family-friendly Bikeway, and a current crossing for the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, the intersection of Pine and Maple, a driver struck and killed a person on foot last night. Caroline Storm was killed and her husband William Storm was injured.

On Maple looking north at Pine (bikeway sign in green)
From the paper:
A pedestrian was killed and another injured Thursday night, Aug. 6, when a man driving a luxury car struck them at Pine and Maple streets NE, Salem Police said.

The crash occurred about 9:15 p.m. as the two pedestrians, a male and a female who were walking their dog, crossed Pine Street northbound in an unmarked crosswalk, police spokesman Lt. Dave Okada said in a press release.

The driver was identified as Delbert Gossen, 70. He was westbound on Pine Street in a Lincoln Town Car when the crash occurred. He remained at the scene and cooperated with police, Okada said.

According to the press release, the female pedestrian died while being taken to the hospital. The male pedestrian suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to Salem Hospital. Police did not identify them while notified next of kin.

The dog was taken to an animal hospital, but its condition was not known.

No citations were issued or arrests made at the scene. Police are continuing to investigate.
This will be updated...

In the meantime, apart from the awful event, the language here is mostly good to see: "a man driving a luxury car struck [the people on foot]" - mo more of this autonomous "a car hit a pedestrian" business, effacing the agency of the driver, and abstracting the person into "a pedestrian." (I'm not sure the "luxury car" part was absolutely necessary, however.)

Again, more to come. This is the sixth death of a person on foot this year claimed by car violence.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Just Walk and Mixed Messaging

The imagery in our approach to walking here in Salem continues to be more than a little interesting. It very clearly shows a set of mixed messages and contradictions.

Wholesome family activity? (yesterday)

Lawless anarchy? (a year ago)
Is walking a good thing? Or is it the act of lawless miscreants?

Yesterday's piece in the South Salem supplement also shows one important set of reasons that walking isn't always an easy sell.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Open Houses at Gaiety Hollow Opportunity to Plot Better Bike Parking

Over at the Gaiety Hollow blog, there's an announcement about an set of three Open Houses so you can acquaint yourself with the house and garden of Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver.

Shows the alley, but says use Mission Street
The first one is this weekend. They will be:
  • Sunday August 9th from 2-5 p.m.
  • Saturday August 15th from 7:30-10:00 a.m.
  • Sunday September 13th from 2-5 p.m.
In the photo and announcement, there's an interesting mismatch between the image and the instructions, though, that points to one of the questions about the museum project.

The photo in the blog post shows the house and garden from the alley.

But the invitation says to enter from Mission Street:
Wander, absorb, reflect. Garden only…the house will be closed. Please enter from Mission Street…(545 Mission Street…right across from Bush’s Pasture Park.)
There's some ambiguity, really, about which entry should be primary. The formal house address is on Mission Street, so that is the official primary entry, but if you are on foot or on bike, the alley gate and entry might be more attractive, especially as it opens directly onto the business part of Gaiety Hollow, the garden.

You might also recall that there is a question about where to locate bike parking.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Planning Commission likely to Delete Walking Path at Golf Course Redevelopment

A couple of interesting items on the Planning Commission agenda this evening.

One is for the State Street project.  Commissioners Fox and Fry will be appointed to the State Street Corridor Plan Advisory Committee.

Given Commissioner Fox's interest in State Street, that sounds like a great idea!

Walking path alignment in green at arrow
City of Salem zoning map
There's also a proposal to rezone a proposed apartment complex at the former Battle Creek Golf Course site. Most of the details don't seem very relevant here, but one detail is.

Same area from the Staff Report
In the first image you can see a strip in green on the border of the proposed development. That strip is zoned "public amusement," and a previous condition for the development had specified a walking path along this strip.

The applicant proposes to delete this requirement and to satisfy the walkability requirements of the development by the sidewalk along Waln Drive, skirting the southern perimeter of the development.

Monday, August 3, 2015

MWACT to Meet Thursday, Updates on the STIP and ARTS - updated

Our local area commission on transportation, MWACT, the Mid-Willamette Valley Area Commission on Transportation, meets on Thursday, and it remains astonishing that given the importance of agriculture to Yamhill, Polk, and Marion counties, drought, heat, harvest dates, and climate change don't seem to register much. (Full agenda and meeting packet here.)

You might have seen a couple of front-pagers over the weekend.

The articles, unfortunately, don't make any attempt to relate the summer's weather to larger climate change, to put our local conditions into a larger context of time and space.

But the information is out there, and at some point folks will realize that the argument is not abstract, and can be felt directly. And that this should have great implications for our transportation planning. (But, you know, sooner rather than later please?)

At the last MWACT meeting in June, ODOT gave an update on the new Bike/Ped plan in process.