Friday, September 9, 2016

City Council, September 12th - Bike Racks for Parks

Council meets on Monday with a light agenda from our perspective here. What is of interest, though, is good news!

The City proposes to install bike racks at several parks, a fix-it station one of them, and to install an enhanced crosswalk on Pringle Road near WESD. 

Proposed locations for bike racks and a fix-it station
The first proposal is
to install a bicycle repair station at Geer Park, as well as bicycle racks at the following parks:
• Aldrich Park
• Grant School Park
• Highland Park
• Lee Park
• McKay School Park
• Royal Oaks Park
The bike racks and fix-it station (like at Riverfront Park and at Cherriots) would be funded by a grant from the HEAL project. This is a competitive statewide grant with a small total pot of only $35,000, so it's hard to say how much of a sure thing this is. Hopefully the City will continue to move forward with it even if Salem is not successful on this grant cycle.

The formal policy driving this comes from the recently completed NEN-SESNA Neighborhood Plan.
Policy 16.2 of the NEN-SESNA Neighborhood Plan calls for citywide installation of bicycle parking at all neighborhood parks to enable and encourage access by bicycles.
So it's nice to see that plan helping to drive this formal action.

"Racks to Avoid" - Don't spec these!
Essentials of Bike Parking
Association of Bicycle & Pedestrian Professionals
Just one wave racks!!!

Proposed Crosswalk at 2600 block of Pringle Road SE
The City also proposes to construct and partially fund an enhanced crosswalk in the 2600 block of Pringle Road near the Willamette Education Service District offices. WESD is nearing completion of an Early Childhood Center, and WESD "anticipate numerous daily pedestrian crossings of Pringle Road as staff move back and forth between buildings for meetings and job duties." Though there are bike lanes, there are no sidewalks here, it should be noted, and Pringle Road is ruralish in design and substandard.
Public Works staff estimate that design, widening of Pringle Road SE, and installation of the median will be $135,000. The District has offered to pay $35,000 to defray the estimated construction cost of the median itself (see Attachment 2). Staff recommends that the City absorb the costs for design, street widening and other ancillary items.
The 2008 Road Bond still has sufficient savings to pay for this project, so that keeps on giving.

Staff also suggest semi-formalizing a recommendation that in the future "organizations... consider funding at least half of the installation costs as part of the project approval process."

(Parenthetically, last month the City altered the new agenda website so pdfs and other documents will open in a new browser window instead of requiring you to download them and opening them locally from your machine. This is a welcome change. The whole thing, however, remains clunky, annoying, and difficult.)

Finally, some hearings and work sessions, including details on the Salem River Crossing:

  • 2017-2018 Utility Rate Proposal ~ Monday, October 10 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Joint Public Hearing with the City of Keizer, Marion County, and Polk County Regarding Land Use Actions to Support the Salem River Crossing Preferred Alternative ~ Location: Center 50+, 2615 Portland Rd NE, Salem, Wednesday, October 12 at 6:00 p.m.
WORK SESSIONS - Held in the Council Chambers unless otherwise noted
  • Urban Renewal Agency Work Session - Downtown Focus Group Update ~ October 17 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Joint City Council/Urban Renewal Agency/SEDCOR - Economic Development Update ~ November 21 at 6:30 p.m.


Jeff Schumacher said...

It is interesting to see the City propose improvements at some of the very parks it also proposes to transfer to the Salem Keizer School District. I testified at last month's Salem Parks & Recreation Advisory Board meeting against the proposed transfer affecting McKinley Elementary School Park - the City currently owns 1.04 acres which they are proposing to transfer to the District. But the City is also proposing to transfer the 3.80 acres of Lee Elementary School & Park and the 3.27 acres of Highland Elementary School & Park to the District.

You can read about it here:

The impetus for these land transfers isn't clear to me, but the relevant piece of info is that our neigborhood park at McKinley (and other, much larger neighborhood parks in other areas) would suddenly belong to the Salem Keizer School District. And in our particular neighborhood, one only needs to look at Leslie Pool on Howard Street to see an example of the District's stewardship over its assets. It would be a shame to see these neighborhood parks - which are often so accessible for bikers and walkers - fall onto the District's balance sheet. In the best case, access to the parks would be diminished over time. In the worst case, the extra acreage would become a new school, a new parking lot, portable buildings, or sold off for other development.

I understand that Public Works will be bringing this issue before Council on Monday, September 26th. I plan on testifying in favor of retaining McKinley Park and the other neighborhood parks under City ownership.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

oooh...good point. That's an interesting complication to all this.

The Staff report for the 26th will be interesting to read. I think, though, there are some proposed transfers that go in the other direction, from the schools to the city. It is still possible that the total concept makes sense, to make orderly what had unfolded historically in a disorganized way, but that some of the details on particular park sites really do require further thought and/or negotiation.

Thanks for pointing the potential disconnect out!

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Regarding the's the explanation from the first time it came to Council:

"Over the last several decades, the City of Salem (City) and Salem-Keizer School District 24J (SKSD) acquired properties adjacent to each other with the intent of co-locating schools and parks. Due to design changes and site factors, City and SKSD improvements were constructed without regard to property ownership or boundary lines. As a result, both the City and SKSD own, utilize, and maintain assets that are wholly, or partially, located on property owned by the other entity."

Tom Andersen said...

When the Council votes on the parks/land transfer, I will move to remove McKinley Park from the list of transferred properties. This park means too much to our
neighborhood to give it away. I believe there is enough support to accomplish this.

Anonymous said...

This evening the Statesman-Journal reports the bike rack grant was successful:

"The city of Salem will use its $5,000 grant to install bike racks at six parks and provide a "fix-it" bike repair station at another.

"Staple" racks, also called "U" racks, will be installed at Lee, Royal Oaks, Highland, Aldrich, McKay and Grant parks.

The "fix-it" station, a small area that will allow riders to make minor repairs to their bikes, will be installed at Geer Community Park. The station will include a mount for people to put their bikes on to help make repairs easier, and a few tools."