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
|Same area from the Staff Report|
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.
The long deflection to the south along the city sidewalk will not be "good east-west public pedestrian access," but will be inferior and out-of-direction access.
Deleting this path is a bit of an anti-walkability move.
|Site plan east of creek: lots of parking lot|
|Aerial view, approximate path location in white|
|Three story block (typical)|
|Only second and third tier priority bike projects nearby|
and nothing in the project site itself.
via Bike Element of the TSP
The primary impetus for deleting the path seems to be the neighboring development to the immediate north, whose back patios, already constructed, would be too close to the path, with an insufficient set-back. Additionally, path construction would take out some trees that constitute part of the all-important buffer between the parcels.
On balance, from here it seems like the move to delete the path is unfortunate, but it's not like the path would actually provide high-quality and critical connectivity. The entire redevelopment of the former golf course, which I think started first with the school (see notes here and here), seems to have focused on a path system on the perimeter of each subdevelopment, on using walkways as part of borders and fencing, rather than focusing on walking connectivity as integral. In other words, it uses sidewalks to divide rather than sidewalks to connect. So it seems like, apart from the streetside sidewalk system, there was a high-level renunciation of walking connectivity from the start. And maybe there didn't really need to be, since the area is so car-dependent. (Or maybe it could have benefited from a master planning process like the Fairview project.)
If it seems like digging in and demanding high-quality walking connectivity at the Fairview and the State Hospital redevelopments is worthwhile, here at this site it does not. "Pick your winners," and this probably isn't one of them.
What do you think?