Monday, November 2, 2015

Around the Neighborhoods: State Street Walking Tour, Grant, and Blind School Appeal

The State Street Study today kicks off with a walk. In Grant, parking is a problem, and at the Blind School there's another appeal. In some of the neighborhoods this week...

I guess it doesn't count as a public meeting, as it is not on the City or project calendar, but the NEN minutes last month had news of the first semi-public meeting for the State Street Corridor Study. Today the Advisory Committee will be taking walking tour of State Street to see the existing conditions by foot.

One of the Columns from the 1935 Capitol Fire on State Street
There's all kinds of interesting stuff along State Street - both fine-grained detail, and coarser structural things.

This will be an exciting study to watch. (See all notes here.)

Parking in Grant

In the Grant Neighborhood the Charlie Foxtrot of parents driving kids to school requires an impressive amount of non-educational staff time and effort.

From the September 3rd minutes:
Teresa Tolento, principal at Grant Community School, addressed the neighborhood about the changes being implemented to the school’s dismissal process. The past process of dismissing onto Cottage Street created safety issues and was overcrowded. The plan is for students to be dismissed to t he covered area for pickup on Winter Street. Each family will be assigned a number and will have a card with that number on it to display in their vehicle window during the pickup process. The cars will begin on Cottage Street and wind around the block onto Hood and then onto Winter. As the cars approach the east side of the school on Winter, between Gaines and Market streets, the number displayed will be radioed to the covered area and those children will come forth to get their ride.

Ms. Tolento was asked if the parking around the perimeter of the block will remain as is or will there be changes. She replied that it will remain as it is. This prompted further questions about how that will impact the neighbors who live in, or pass through, the area and also if this plan has been cleared by the City of Salem. Ms. Tolento said they have not discussed this with the City. Officer Gamble commented that the cars would not be allowed to block the free flow of traffic. Ms. Tolento said that the pickup area on Winter would be expanded by 1 - 2 cars lengths, though she did not say how that would be accomplished. A suggestion was made to see if parking can be restricted in some of the area between 2:30 and 5:00....

[It was moved that] “Grant Neighborhood support the application to the City of Salem to establish RP - 2 parking along Belmont from Cottage to Church.”... Vote was 9 in favor, 0 opposed.
But the larger solution of alternatives to drive-alone mobility remains elusive.

Proprietary notions of on-street parking from the October 1st minutes:
[A resident] revisited his dealings with Salem Keizer Transit about the placement of a concrete slab in the parking strip in front of his home. It seems that the new project manager does not w ant to accept the previous manager’s agreements with [the resident] from last year. The pad location has been moved back to the north between the two street trees. Signs posted indicate that all of the parking along his frontage will be removed to accommodate the bus pull out.... [The board votes to]  “Send a letter to Peter Fernandez regarding the loss of residential parking.”
On the agenda for the 5th, which is also a potluck, will be updates on the Grant neighborhood history project and the Neighborhood Plan.

The Grant Neighborhood Association meeting is on Thursday the 5th, with the potluck at 6:30 p.m., and the meeting at 7pm in the Library of Grant Community School, 725 Market St NE.

Another Appeal at the Blind School

The Blind School project continues to attract criticism, and the latest is an appeal to the Historic Landmarks Commission of a plan to widen the sidewalk along Church Street.

If the appeal of the plaque across the street at the Everson House didn't seem very strong, this appeal looks like it has considerably more merit and strength.

At the center of it is whether extending the sidewalk inward towards the curb strip will disturb the tree root systems. It seems like there is a good chance that the City's approval is somewhat cavalier towards the health of the existing trees.

Time and time again, we see this is a situation where cookie-cutter, mediocre, even thoughtless, design exacerbates problems. So little about the Hospital's site plan for the Blind School is actually a "design solution." More thoughtful owners along with more sensitive design could have arrived at a site plan that wins on tree preservation, wins on hospital facilities, wins on a modest parking lot, wins with Howard Hall and a playground, wins on most of the goals by the different players. But no.

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