Friday, September 22, 2017

Mostly Sunny for Open Streets Salem on Saturday!

The weather pivoted yesterday and it looks like the weekend will have lovely early fall weather.

Open Streets Salem - Sunday Streets v2.0 - lands on Saturday, from 11am to 3pm. It'll run from the Saturday Market at Union and Winter up to Highland School.

It's a car-free event for walking, biking, and other rolling.

Map and schedule via Facebook
There are a couple of notable rides on the schedule. It'll open with Ride with the Mayor:
This traveling event will roll out at 11:15 am from the corner of Union and Winter near the Salem Saturday Market Activity Hub and will travel to Grant Community School. Mayor Bennett, Councilor Cara Kaser, and several others will join the fun. This is a great way to show the Mayor your interest in safe and comfortable cycling for Salem!
A ride from the Market to Grant seems a little short, however, and hopefully they'll extend it out to the full length of the route. (There might be an opportunity, too, to point out to the Mayor that the Salem River Crossing cancels many bike boulevard benefits and threatens to suck up discretionary funding that might instead be allocated to bike boulevard projects. It's a bull in the china shop for sure. We need more bike boulevards and less giant bridge and highway. The Mayor's advocacy for both is incoherent and counter-productive. To put it baldly: It's more important to kill the SRC than to fund and construct a single bike boulevard.)

A second ride offers more commentary and explanation along the full length:
Meet at 2:15pm at the SE corner of the main playground at Highland School Activity Hub and travel to Salem Saturday Market. Your tour leader will be City of Salem Transportation Planner Anthony Gamallo. Come, enjoy the ride, and learn about the proposed design changes that will bring comfortable walking and biking to the neighborhood
See Open Streets Salem and Salem Bike Boulevard Advocates for the latest. (There will be food carts, watermelon drops, and other fun! Here's the latest.)

The whole thing is still a little tentative. A video clip earlier this month about the Open Streets event seemed deliberately to soft-pedal the "car-free-ness" of it all:

via Twitter and the full video
But before it "celebrates community, connections, and healthy, active living," it is car free.

The Open Streets project says
Open Streets are programs that temporarily open streets to people and close them to cars. People traffic replaces car traffic and the streets become ‘paved parks’, where people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds can come out and improve their health.
Open Streets projects are explicitly about the scourge of cars, car-dependency, and the ways cars distort and disturb public space and the urban fabric. They're not just about "healthy living," they're about prioritizing non-auto travel and play. They express and enact a real value-judgement about autoism.

Maybe Salem's not ready for the full "car-free" message. The decision to minimize this and do the soft-sell is defensible.

But it's also worth noting. Bike travel is flat and until we are able to be more vocal, and able to make substantive policy changes, about the problems of autoism, non-auto travel will remain a fringey thing.

No comments: