Not probably the most important, but maybe the most illuminating here, there's a discussion of Fisher Road NE. It offers a good entry into the ways that prevailing engineering standards are totally misguided.
Residents have expressed concerns about pedestrian and vehicular safety on Fisher Road NE. There was a pedestrian fatality in March 2017. Traffic volumes are increasing, and there is concern that vehicle speeds may be excessive. On August 28, 2017, Council directed staff to prepare a report on options to improve pedestrian and vehicular safety on Fisher Road NE....I just want to draw your attention to this logical chain:
The 85th-percentile speed is used to determine the speed at which a “reasonable” driver is comfortable traveling. This speed is used by the Oregon Department of Transportation for setting the speed limit of a road. A traffic speed count was conducted on Fisher Road NE south of Empress Way NE. The 85th-percentile speed in this posted 25 mph zone was 33.2 mph southbound and 33.9 mph northbound.
a. This 85th-percentile speed indicates speeding is an issue. The City could use this information to request a higher speed limit, but staff do not recommend changing the speed limit.
- "speeding is an issue" (therefore)
- "the City could...request a higher speed limit."
If speeding and safety is an issue, the proper response is a suite of actions, both in posted speed and in road design and engineering, to reduce speed.
But nope. The current engineering dogma is that we should keep raising posted speed until it coincides with actual user speeds. It rewards speeding!
As a matter of philosophy and general approach, this is a very great ingredient in why we keep killing people on our roads. (And why the Pedestrian Safety Study whiffed and missed.)
Update and addendum - In a comment Jim rightly points out that the Staff Recommendation is for some mitigation:
All-way stop signs will be installed on Fisher Road NE at Beverly Avenue NE and at Devonshire Avenue NE.These seemed band-aid-y and temporary, and inconsistent with the thrust of 85th percentile analysis. But as he suggests, it was misleading to omit them entirely. See the comment thread for more on that.
Speed radar signs will be installed on Fisher Road NE, for both northbound and southbound traffic, between Beverly Avenue NE and Sunnyview Road NE.
|2017 Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan|
The Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan also deserves more attention and discussion than it will likely get. It's a little buried here.
|The priority actions are almost all about earthquake|
and touch on roads and bridges
Oregon Fruit looks to be on the move!
|Oregon Fruit has been around!|
The Staff Report says the business was also considering a couple of Portland sites for a move. So maybe they are playing the City a little bit for leverage. But this is the kind of agricultural, value-added business that is in Salem's sweet spot, it keeps it in Salem near the emergent brewery scene, who are also customers now for Oregon Fruit's new product line, and it frees up the old site in West Salem for redevelopment.
It's hard to criticize this. Maybe you or someone will find a substantive reason to complain, but on the surface it seems like this is the right kind of use for urban renewal subsidy.
Also interesting: STREC is dead. The "Salem Renewable Energy and Technology Center" was not itself a "sustainable" concept and apparently there is not sufficient demand for its land under the focus on renewables. The City wants to rename the project as "Salem Business Campus" and "remove all references to renewable energy use and technology use."
So is this now a bait-and-switch? There's a bad taste on this one.
Another thing that maybe is a little unclear is the proposal for "a Nonprofit Corporation Low Income Housing tax exemption." It looks like that should be an incentive for new housing, but it appears to be instead some kind of pork offered to the owners of existing buildings. A quick look at it didn't really make clear what true policy problem it was addressing. Maybe you will understand it better.
Finally, two matters already noted last week: