Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Second Street NW Undercrossing, Portland Road Corridor, Fairview Park - Citybits - and updated

Lots of interesting bits around the City this week...

But first one Cherriots note.
Yesterday was the last day with the free pilot program for "the Connector," the ride-booking service for West Salem operated by Cherriots. Starting today service on it now costs a regular fare.

It will be interesting to see how useage is impacted with the fares. It may not tail off that much, as it was probably serving disproportionately transit-dependent riders who were already using Cherriots. But maybe it attracted some new riders who will be price-sensitive. I don't know. It'll be interesting to watch. The raw count of riders was never very large. Back at the September board meeting an evaluation at the mid-mark of the pilot said:
After 3 months of operation, the service seems to be doing well. We have seen an increase of ridership each month. The service has been used by 133 different passengers. The service is averaging 1.55 passengers per revenue hour (which is just slightly less than our CherryLift and RED Line services) . This is below our target of 3 - 5 passengers per revenue hour...
But the total numbers also round to zero in the big picture, and they may be evidence that in order to make transit scale and be meaningfully effective for large numbers of people in the hills - to make a dent on rivercrossing traffic, that is - tolls will be necessary on the bridge.

West Salem Redevelopment Advisory Board

WSRAB meets tomorrow and they'll get updates on parking in the Edgewater district, on the Goodwill site, on the latest draft of the West Salem Business District Action Plan, and most interesting of all, a proposal to take the Second Street Undercrossing concept to the next level.

Staff propose a "West Salem Transportation Feasibility Study" for $100,000 of urban renewal funds:
The West Salem Transportation Feasibility Study (Feasibility Study) is intended to progress to the next level of engineering design detail to understand the form, function, and cost of the 2nd Street NW undercrossing, the extension of 2nd Street NW to Marine Drive NW, and the connection from 2nd Street NW to Musgrave Avenue NW and Wallace Marine Park. The Feasibility Study will also evaluate the possibility of a dedicated right turn lane from northbound Wallace Road to the eastbound extension of 2nd Street NW.
Most of the specific outcomes follow pretty obviously from the overall discussion and plan concept map. Two seem worth a closer look:
  • 2nd Street under-crossing flood protection measures for a FEMA 100 year flood (City) and a 500 year flood per President Obama directive signed Jan 30, 2015
  • Feasibility of the extension of 2nd Street to Marine Drive up to Glen Creek Road NW , including its relationship to the following:
    - Salem River Crossing Preferred Alternative (ramps from OR 22 to Glen Creek Road NW at Marine Drive NW);
    - The historic railroad trestle, which supports the current bicycle and pedestrian path;
    - Wallace Marine Park,and
    - Existing developments
These have seemed like the trickiest details.

This is a basin, too: A local street connection along Second Street
going under Wallace Road, via City of Salem FB
The undercrossing will be in a depression and will be vulnerable to flooding, so managing this both for seasonal rains with standing water as well as it being a potential gateway to the flats of West Salem for serious floodwater will be important. Not even thinking about the prospect of massive flooding, if seasonal water can't be managed effectively, then the concept is much diminished or even a bust.

This shows a late stage with the SRC connections
The other tricky set of details involves the ways Marine Drive might diminish Wallace Marine Park, looks almost certain to diminish the path system in Wallace Park, and will impact the experience and aesthetics of the Union Street Railroad Bridge west landings and trestle. These deserve close scrutiny.

Here's the full meeting packet with agenda, maps, action plan summary, and details on proposed new study.

WSRAB meets Wednesday, December 2nd from 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM in the West Salem Public Library, 395 Glen Creek Road NW.

For all notes on the Edgewater District, including additional thoughts on the undercrossing see here.

North Gateway Redevelopment Advisory Board

NGRAB meets on Thursday, and they have their own study and project. They'll be getting an update on the Portland Road Corridor Action Plan.

They've got another survey out as they drill more closely into and try to rank specific project concepts.

Specific sidewalk and bike lanes questions
I'm not sure there are any outright "wrong" answers here - so if you live or travel frequently enough in the area to have strong opinions, let them know. The best package of projects will be strongly responsive to local needs and wishes.

Here's the agenda and meeting packet.

The North Gateway Redevelopment Advisory Board meets Thursday the 3rd at 8:00 AM in the Center 50+, Classroom A, 2615 Portland Road NE.  

For previous notes on the Portland Road Study see here.

Fairview Park Planning

Planning for the proposed Fairview park is zipping along! It feels like this process is going much faster than the Minto one did. Maybe that's because Minto is bigger or maybe just because we don't follow parks processes all that closely here. In any case, they've got a survey out on proposed features and uses.

A menu of potential park elements and features

Latest site conditions map - with slopes, views, trees
Here's the slide deck and presentation from the first public meeting.

Le Breton Hall shortly after construction at
the Oregon State Institution for the Feeble-Minded
circa 1908 - WU Archives
This is not a natural area really - it's quite disturbed by first the institution, then the adjacent industrial area, and now a new round of demolition and construction. So it's a place really to enjoy the rich edge conditions - a littoral zone almost - between the natural and human-built. We can be creative with landscape architecture and human-designed interventions. It's more important that the park features elements that people really want and will really use, that it is fully responsive to demand, latent and outright. If people are using the park, if there is foot-traffic, then it will be easier to structure sustainable uses for Le Breton Hall.

So hopefully the resulting park will not just be an ornamental emptiness that is occasionally full, but usually empty.

The next public meeting with be December 16th. See the City's park planning site for regular updates.

Update, Wednesday the 2nd - from a "Future Report" on the park, dated December 7th for Monday's Council meeting:
Staff recommends that the Agreement be amended to require the Seller to deconstruct the building [Le Breton Hall] prior to transferring the land to the City. This recommendation is based on the high cost ($140,000) to secure and weatherize the building; the ongoing annual cost to secure building; the anticipated high cost to renovate the building for an as of yet undetermined use; the lack of funding source for the renovation, and; the lack of funding source to maintain and operate the building after it has been renovated.
This is terrible news. There will be more to say later this week in the City Council preview.

Planning Commission Heads-up

The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to hear a couple of meaty matters on December 15th.

The proposed Goodwill at Edgewater and Wallace will formally appear for a site plan review, and Public Works will present a suite of proposed amendments to the Transportation System Plan.

There will be more to say when the Staff Reports come out!


Unknown said...

I like the idea for a new park and also agree with the idea espoused above of having it integrated with the history of Fairview. It would be possible to have a very unique and special park there if the city looks beyond the normal, by the numbers, park development.

My only concern is access. As it currently is comprised that property is isolated from any surrounding residential neighborhoods, other than Pringle, which is not much of a neighborhood at its current size. Are they also going to be installing a footpath that links the park to Battle Creek? Access by walking is non-existent at this point and that area is equally inaccessible by bicycle. Last time I rode on Reed Rd there was no bicycle lane. How are families with kids going to get to the park? Currently it looks like the only way to get to the park is via car.

I hope in the end the park is connected to the nearby neighborhoods and is accessible by foot and bicycle. I have this fear, looking at the current plan, that we will have this beautiful park which is isolated from the community and only accessible by car.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...


Staging, though, is a big consideration.

I don't think this park is going to spring into construction and life until more development occurs at Fairview. So the Fairview project will provide more people immediately adjacent to it.

As for road access, the Simpson Hills project is supposed to do a half-road improvement on Reed (the inner, north side) with bike lanes and sidewalks. More work on Reed Road will happen as development occurs, I assume. On the interior of Fairview, the streets are being designed according to fairly modern standards: Sharrows, separated paths, and bike lanes and sidewalks all appear. So by Salem standards, once it is built out, interior circulation will be easy for people not in cars.

It's on those pesky arterials of Madrona and Battlecreek/Pringle where we will still be stuck in various levels of 20th century standards. I don't think the half-road improvement the Eric Olsen project will be doing on Pringle will materially change it for people on bike.

It has seemed odd that there's not more of a park and small commercial nexus at the corner of Reed and Battlecreek. Something there would actually serve the existing neighborhoods. But apparently during the master planning process, between the commercial value of "the views" for private residence, and the dislike of current residents for anything like "commercial encroachment," they nixed that, and so - for that reason and probably others that are not public at the moment - the park site is on land that is some of the most distant and remote from where people are actually currently living.

Because the park is being planned as a "community park" and not a "neighborhood park," it is assumed that it will be car-centric in many ways. I don't know that we can do a whole lot about that right now.

Cautious optimism, I think is the right stance here!

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Bad news. The City's bailing on trying to preserve Le Breton Hall. Post is updated with proposal to amend purchase agreement to accommodate demolition. There will be more to say.