Sunday, July 17, 2016

In the Neighborhood Associations this Week - Lots of Downtown News

A couple of notes about neighborhood association meetings this week.


There are several interesting things to note in the minutes from CANDO last month (and a few other related notes).

Bike Boulevard Update

In the context of an update on the Winter-Maple bike boulevard, the City introduced the new transportation planner who took over for Judith Johnduff, who had been working on the Commercial-Vista Corridor Study and other projects, including several with key biking and walking components.
Julie Warncke introduced her colleague Anthony Gamallo, who will be working on the Maple-Winter Street Family Friendly Bikeway, which is now in the planning phase. She informed the board that the consultant had been hired, and, despite the traffic counter being stolen, Public Works had gathered the data they needed (time-of-day volumes and intersection activity while school was in session) for the consultant. They are at this point just waiting for the notice to proceed. As a side note, Julie said that a bike-pedestrian counter placed mid-May in the middle of the Union Street pedestrian bridge appears to have recorded upwards of 2500 crossings per day, with a significant spike likely caused by the first On Your Feet Friday of the season.
The counts on the Union Street Railroad Bridge are interesting, and confirms that 1400 foot crossings and 500 bike crossings is an undercount. (Significantly, we plan streets for future peak rush hour car capacity, so to be consistent we need to do the same for those traveling on foot and on bike!)

Downtown Repair Stations

Tools missing, August 2015
The station in Riverfront Park has been missing tools since last summer, and it looks like they may be replaced.
Erma Hoffman commented that she had met with Toni Whitler (Public Works, Parks) to discuss additional matching grant opportunities relating to CANDO’s Pringle Park project and that the City was probably going to replace the two tools stolen from the bike -repair station at Riverfront Park . She also suggested that the board might want to consider applying for a grant to install a bike repair station at Minto-Brown Island Park .
Cherriots has added a repair station and pump - via Facebook
Cherriots you may have noticed has also installed one of the repair stations in the courtyard at High and Court. They are doing some interesting things right now. Quickly they jumped on the Pokemon fad and are leveraging it in general Cherriots marketing and as a perk and draw for public space. That's a nice embrace of pop culture, especially for a public agency! (For more discussion, see the local subreddit.)

via Facebook
Lukewarm Support for Complete Networks

Back to CANDO the City does not seem to be adopting a very helpful or confident tone about the new bike lanes on High and Church.
The board was reminded that the City would be looking to see how well residents accepted and used the Bicycle Lanes coming to High and Church Streets , as the ultimate plan was to make those streets two -way. If it appears there is a demand for the bike lanes, they are more likely to be retained when the streets go two- way. Otherwise, they may be lost to parking spaces in the conversion.
This rhetoric is disappointing. Bike lanes are only as good as the weakest link, and since there are many gaps in Salem's network, it is not fair to measure a segment's performance in an absolute way. Without a complete network, without strong connections to downtown and connections within downtown, the bike lanes on High and Church will still underperform. There is latent demand, and there will be an increase in users, but it will not be fair judge its ultimate success/failure if adjacent connections are not also useful.

Better messaging from the City would be that they look to build off of these lanes and continue to increase mobility for trips other than driving trips.

(Alternately, if they insist, when demand is flat, like it has been for the past decade on the Center and Marion Street bridges, the City should have similar rhetoric and pull back from the Salem River Crossing. Bike trip counts and car counts are being held to different standards here.)

Main Street

On the agenda for the meeting itself is a presentation on 'The “Main Street” Program/Sheri Stuart, Oregon Main Street.'
Oregon Main Street works with communities to develop comprehensive, incremental revitalization strategies based on a community’s unique assets, character, and heritage. Services are based on the successful Main Street Approach® developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street Center and include training and technical assistance. The goal is to build high quality, livable, and sustainable communities that will grow Oregon’s economy while maintaining a sense of place.
I can't come up with the right citation, but it seems like Salem has had opportunities to participate in the program but has chosen not to. If it participated with gusto, a more "main street" approach to the Liberty/Commercial couplet would help boost prospects for right-sizing the street so it is less intensely autoist and perhaps even for a two-way conversion, which not even the Downtown Mobility Study was able to embrace. So there's lots to like here!

Public Square

Three possible sites for a downtown public square, 2010
Not on the CANDO agenda, but interesting nonetheless, you might remember the town square concept that was part of the Vision 2020 project.

Over on Facebook in a comment about Cleveland's new town square, Councilor and Mayor-elect Bennett says
We've tried once about nine years ago. I plan on trying again asap and I think we'll make it this time. Stay tuned!
That is very interesting and worth attention and support.

CAN-DO meets Tuesday the 19th, at 6:00 p.m. at First Christian Church on 685 Marion Street NE.

Northeast Neighbors

At NEN they'll get information and updates on
  • Troy Thomson, Project Manager – Court Street Pedestrian Bridge Project
  • Nicole Charlson, Oregon Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Update
That's the footbridge across Mill Creek just east of 18th Street, whose replacement is being funded by extra savings from the big 2008 road bond, and the Safety Plan discussed here (public comment period closes August 1st).

NEN meets Tuesday the 19th, at 6:30pm in the Salem First Church of the Nazarene, 1550 Market Street NE.

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