Tuesday, May 29, 2018

City Council, May 29th - New All Roads Transportation Safety Grants

Council meets tonight, on Tuesday, because of the holiday, and a safety grant program and parking debate seem worth some comment.

Applications for All Roads Transportation Safety grants could be interesting, but there are no specific projects listed on the Council item.
As of the staff report’s writing, staff is working to complete a preliminary analysis of candidate projects that will best meet the program’s funding criteria. Prior to entering into project funding agreements with ODOT, staff will return to Council for approval to add selected projects into the Capital Improvement Plan and request budgetary approval for the required 7.78 percent local match in the appropriate fiscal year (FY 2021-2022 through FY 2023-2024). Likely sources of local match funds include Transportation System Development Charges for countermeasures that increase corridor capacity, or the City’s share of State Highway Fund revenues for other countermeasures, including those intended for pedestrian and bicycle safety. [italics added]
Previously, the ARTS program funded the forthcoming buffered bike lanes and enhanced crosswalks on middle Commercial arising from the Commercial-Vista Corridor Study, the 4/3 safety conversion on Broadway around Pine Street, and green bike lanes in the widening project on 12th Street between McGilchrist and Fairview. Data on crashes and deaths is supposed to drive the program - and it seems likely that, among other things, we will see proposals for enhanced crosswalks arising out of the "Pedestrian Safety" study and the State Street Study. Sections of the Winter-Maple Greenway near the Parkway and Cherry Avenue might be candidates also, but not probably any inner portions. The grant amounts will probably not be sufficiently large to make a dent in the funding for any over/undercrossing along Second St NW at Wallace. There's also that tension between "increase corridor capacity [for zoomy drive alone trips]" and "pedestrian and bicycle safety." So it'll be interesting to see the project list the City proposes. (See previous notes on ARTS here.)

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Not Erasing the Driver, Public Bike Success - In the News

After more investigation and the results are made public, there may be more to say later about the shocking hit-and-run crash on a sidewalk in Portland near PSU.

It's certainly not "an accident." It takes too much intent and multiple decisions to drive fast and up on the sidewalk in that urban area, and then to compound things with the choice to drive off.

The rhetoric itself in the news stories, especially in the headlines, reflects this:

"Driver rams 3 women"

"Driver plows into people"

AP story on page A6 of the SJ

Friday, May 25, 2018

Congestion Task Force Has First Look at Proposed Solution Packages

The Congestion Relief Task Force met earlier this week last Friday and saw seven different bundles of different projects. The Task Force eliminated the two most expensive of the "Solution Packages" and will look at the remaining five in more depth. Still, there's too much same-old, same-old in the rehash of old and costly project ideas devoted to drive-alone trips. (Brief minutes and the slide deck for the presentation.)

Relief as Political Band-aid
Not arising from Coordinated Analysis of the Underlying Problems

Hydraulic Autoism: We treat traffic like fluid and streets like tubes
(from the presentation to the Task Force)
The biggest problem, one that is a fatal defect for the whole project, is the theory and paradigm that is the basis all the proposed solutions. Under the mid-20th century program of hydraulic autoism, we consider traffic as fluid with pressure that must be sent through pipes or tubes of fixed capacity. If you read the blog regularly, you will have seen the phrase hydraulic autoism and you might think it's an odd neologism. But look at those pipes, their sizes, and the proposed relations! We totally have a hydraulic conception of traffic. And since the traffic is conceived as drive-alone trips in cars only, and not as walking, biking, busing, or other mobility, it is also an autoist understanding. The diagrams and basis for the analysis here really is a kind of Q.E.D. for hydraulic autoism. The proof couldn't be plainer. It's a real thing!

And anyway, if we are going to look at space and volume only, there are other "capacity relationship concepts" we should also see. It's people/hour, not vehicles/hour that matter! (In the clips below from diagrams presented to the Task Force, note all the +vph and -vph.)

Vancouver, BC: Drive-alone trips are inefficient
Until we also grapple with pricing signals, with things like all of the physical space and financial subsidy we devote to support free and underpriced parking, we will continue to induce more demand for drive-alone trips, and we will wonder why there is more pressure for increased road supply.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Static on the South Salem Transit Center, Survey on New Fares - At Cherriots

Cherrots' board meets tomorrow, Thursday the 24th, and there's a few items to note in passing. (Agenda and full packet here.)

Concept for the South Salem Transit Center -
Slices a strip of parking lot from Walmart (December 2015)
At last month's meeting it became apparent that plans for the South Salem Transit Center had run into some difficulty.

Public Comment: Walmart is not a fan

So Cherriots is preparing to use Eminent Domain
Whether Cherriots will actually use Eminent Domain is not clear, but the prospect of it certainly helps with leverage during negotiations. So that's a development to keep an eye on. (Some notes from 2014 on the preferred location.)

They've also got a survey out on a proposal for a new fare scheme.

Probably the most significant is an expansion to the low-income fare and a free youth pass. (There are some other elements, too.)

You can take the survey here.

In addition to the South Salem Transit Center, as well as the big move to weekend and evening service, another large issue is upcoming changes to the way the Board is formed. With the passage of SB 1536, which "Provides that directors of certain mass transit districts be appointed by Governor instead of elected," the Board is facing its own dissolution. It did so willingly, but members are still going to be phasing themselves out.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Learn about Safe Routes to Schools this June

Oregon Safe Routes to Schools is holding their annual meeting and a training here in Salem this summer. It's a great opportunity to organize for more walking, biking, and rolling to school.

September 2013
It's all upside and opportunity here in Salem! Start a walking school bus or advocate for a new crosswalk and speed reductions!

From Oregon Safe Routes to Schools:
Join other Safe Routes to School practitioners in Salem, OR, this June 25. Learn about new funding streams, best practices, share lunch with old and new friends and take home some new tools to get the kids in your neighborhood walking and biking! Get inspired and find resources for Safe Routes to School work in Oregon.

Monday’s meeting being held at Chemeketa Center for Business and Industry, 626 High St NE, from 8:30-4:30 (lunch included) and will include orientation, networking and the ORSRTS Network Annual Meeting. There will be a session on SRTS infrastructure funding.

RSVP: Get your free ticket

Join the Oregon Safe Routes to School Network’s Annual Meeting for a day of:
  • Networking with other SRTS professionals
  • Orientation for people new to SRTS
  • Finding out about other practitioners’ successes and lessons learned
  • Getting inspired by programs that can be replicated in your community
  • Learning about the Oregon SRTS Network, resources, and opportunities
Please register here for the meeting and workshops! ODOT is offering trip/travel scholarships of $200 per person. Contact kim@commuteoptions.org for more information.
Then the next day
Instructor training will take place on Tuesday June 26 at ODOT, 355 Capitol Street NE. This will include instruction on bicycle and pedestrian safety skills, curriculum and other education and encouragement program opportunities.

Description: The training will cover the 6 E’s of Safe Routes to School (Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Evaluation, and Equity) with a special focus on Education and Encouragement. By the end of the Safe Routes to School training, participants will:
  • Be introduced to the Safe Routes for Kids/Neighborhood Navigators Curriculum focusing on both the in-class and on-street lessons.
  • Understand evaluation techniques including Parent Surveys and Teacher Tallies.
  • Learn and demonstrate bicycle safety expertise, navigating safely and legally with traffic.
  • Have an overview understanding of statewide Safe Routes to School in Oregon.
  • Understand the function of an school or district Action Plan and begin planning for next steps within the schools.
  • Understand the six E’s of Safe Routes to School (Engineering Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Evaluation, and Equity)
  • Have the knowledge to successfully organize and lead Bike Trains and Walking School Buses.
  • Understand the importance of relationships with local police department and outreach opportunities.
  • Have considered challenges and solutions to implementing the five E’s of Safe Routes to School, with particular emphasis on Education and Encouragement activities.
ODOT is offering trip/travel scholarships of $200 per person. Contact kim@commuteoptions.org for more information. Cost is $15.00 Register here!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Goal 7 and the Greenhouse Gases: At the MPO

The Policy Committee for our local Metropolitan Planning Organization meets tomorrow, Tuesday the 22nd, and they'll be grappling in a more serious way with engaging citizen calls to write a formal goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for inclusion in our upcoming 2019 Regional Transportation System Plan.

For years SKATS has resisted any kind of accounting for greenhouse gases. But there is now an opening and a new possibility for change.

The RTSP's curent draft goal 7 and several options
for a revised goal 7 for the 2019 plan
(May 15th memo, "RTSP Goals: Discussion of Options")
Salem City Council had submitted a letter in support of adding a clause about "reducing greenhouse gases" and this is option C in the supporting memo.

Other MPOs in Albany, Corvallis, and Portland include provisions on carbon and climate disruption. Currently, Bend, Eugene, and the Rogue Valley do not. (Eugene's silence on this is surprising.) So if SKATS adopted language in a goal, we would be right in the middle: Neither an early adopter nor a total laggard. That seems like a very comfortable place to be.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

West Salem Neighborhood to talk SRC and Second Street Crossing on Monday

The West Salem Neighborhood Association meets tomorrow, Monday the 21st, and they'll be talking about the SRC and about the under/overcrossing concept at Second and Wallace Road.

April 16th presentation to WSNA
At last month's meeting, they saw a long presentation on transportation and land use. It is notable because it gave visibility to the fact that the current plan on the SRC doesn't do very much to "solve" congestion. At multiple intersections it fails to meet the study's own mobility standards. If you accept the study's traffic modeling and definition of acceptable delay at intersections, the SRC is a FAIL.

It is good to see more discussion of this. $500 million (and very likely much more) is a lot to spend on a project that fails to solve congestion.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

ODOT Works to Box in Salem City Council on the SRC

Here's an interesting item a reader just sent in. It involves a deadline hitherto ignored publicly - or perhaps just very little discussed - and a decision made without publicly consulting relevant parties. You may know more about it, or about the regulatory requirements more generally, and feel differently. But from here it looks like ODOT making a unilateral determination and working behind the scenes and in a non-public way to force a very particular concluding action on Salem City Council and other parties.

But the nature of the matter looks instead like something that should have gone before the Oversight Team as well as City Council for a more public analysis and debate.

Back in June of 2017, or thereabouts, ODOT realized they had missed a September 2016 deadline on the Salem River Crossing. They wrote to the Feds for an extension.

Letter from FHWA Dated August 3rd, 2017
From the Federal Highway Administration's letter back to ODOT in response to the ODOT petition:
Thank you for you June 29, 2017 [before the LUBA remand was issued], letter requesting an extension to the provisions set forth in 23 CFR 630.112(c)(2), commonly referred to as the PE 10-year rule, until September 30, 2019. The Salem River Crossing (SRC) project was first authorized on March 1, 2006 (Oregon Federal-aid Agreements S000(287) and S000(288)), and Oregon thus had until September 30, 2016, to undertake a construction project or repay the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) the sum of Federal funds paid to ODOT under the terms of the agreement. However, FHWA regulations allow a time extension with no repayment of Federal funds, when requested by the State and considered reasonable by FHWA.

The SRC project is complex...FHWA recognizes ODOT's current efforts to actively advance the project through the environmental review process, with the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision scheduled to be completed by December 2017 [didn't happen]. Recognizing the project's many complexities and ODOT's demonstrated commitment to advancing the project through the environmental review process, it is reasonable for FHWA to grant a time extension to ODOT until September 30, 2019....[italics added]

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Congestion Task Force Meets Friday Morning

The Congestion Relief Task Force meets early tomorrow morning. There's not a whole lot new to say, so we'll bury that down at the end, and meander first over a couple of related topics.

Last month at the meeting of the Policy Committee for our local Metropolitan Planning Organization, in the context of conversation about the current Salem City Council politics on the Salem River Crossing, Councilor Lewis indicated he thought that there might be changes to the composition of Council.

Changes to City Council? Yes, indeed!
He got his wish!

I-5 Kuebler to Delany Road Project Doubles to $35 Million, on OTC Agenda

The Portland debate about decongestion pricing will be the lead item at the Oregon Transportation Commission, meeting today in Portland. Eventually this will filter down here, and at some point it seems likely we'll finally be able to have a conversation about decongestion pricing on the Marion and Center Street bridges and perhaps other places in Salem. But at the moment this remains a "third rail" kind of topic. (Full agenda here.)

Decongestion pricing isn't popular, but it's coming
(ODOT report to OTC)
More immediately, the OTC look to approve funding and changes to an I-5 project between in South Salem. The project would roughly double in budget, and add a construction phase to what had been just a design phase.

The background and history is a little interesting - look at the date of the Record of Decision!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bike More Challenge at Mid-Month; Institutional Support Remains Spotty

At mid-month it's always interesting to check in on the Bike More Challenge here in Salem.

Unsurprisingly, it is the small groups that are able to compete statewide best. These results are filtered for Salem-Keizer groups, but the numbered rankings are from the statewide list.

This is a mystery "State of Oregon" group!
(But South Salem Cycleworks is looking to that retirement!)

Northwest Hub is doing well

Ride of Silence Tonight

This evening, May 16th, the Salem 2018 Ride of Silence will be at 6:15pm. John Henry Maurice and Joanne Heilinger of the Salem Bicycle Club will lead the ride, which departs from the "red lot" downtown. All are welcome.

Since 2003 "the mission of the world wide Ride of Silence is to honor bicyclists killed by motorists, promote sharing the road, and provide awareness of bicycling safety."

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Proposed Midblock Treatments May Hinder Future Biking Downtown

The concepts for the Downtown Sidewalk Study have been out for a little while, and there hasn't seemed to be a great deal to say about them. They are more about standardizing street furniture and planter areas than about reconfiguring the streetscape. They are incremental decoration and fiddling on the edges of the sidewalks, not a structural revision to the streets. They're "fine."

One move, however, might deserve comment. It looks promising, but it actually digs in further on a dysfunctional road design and turns its back on emerging best practices for multi-modal downtown streets. It maintains downtown as a system of "traffic sewers," whose aim is to drain traffic through the downtown. The priority remains on zooming through-traffic and fails to look sufficiently to the future and to downtown as a "place" in and of itself.

Proposed Midblock Landscape Pockets
Open House Presentation

Proposed Alley Entrances - also midblock
Open House Presentation
The concepts include a set of midblock bulb-outs, one group for the Liberty/Commercial couplet, called "landscape pockets"; the other for the alley entries on the east-west streets.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

City Council, May 14th - UGM and Lone Oak Decisions

Council meets on Monday, and while the opportunity for Public Comment is closed, Council will deliberate on both the UGM Shelter expansion and Lone Oak Reimbursement District.

Vacation Lane SE:
Private Drive or Public Street? A little ambiguous!
Time and additional comment hasn't offered much additional clarity on them, and it may just be that these are difficult, ambiguous civic matters with no easy and obvious resolution. The outcomes will be imperfect compromises and there is no way out of that bind.

On both of them, however, the need to drill into, analyze, and discuss very specific conditions has meant that debate about homelessness and about the fiscal sustainability of development patterns here has been less theoretical and abstract and instead become concrete. This seems like a feature, not a bug! Instead of a task force and its generalities and cliches and baggy reports, Council has to interpret policy and code concretely, make a decision, and attach specific conditions as appropriate. In most ways, then, the appeals and resulting debate seem more positive than not.

So let's talk about other things.

It even looks like an appendix!
The most interesting thing from here is a proposal to vacate an odd little vestigial street, Vacation Lane SE.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Comment on Proposed Rules for New Safe Routes to Schools Funding

Part of the omnibus transportation package passed by the Legislature last year was an annual allocation for Safe Routes to School.

In order to distribute the funds, ODOT needed to make some rules.

The draft of those rules is out and the Safe Routes to Schools folks, who were part of the rule-making committee, suggest some comment.

From their release:
In 2017, the Oregon State Legislature dedicated $10 million annually for Safe Routes to School infrastructure. The Oregon Department of Transportation just released the final rules that will allow communities in Oregon access to tens of millions of dollars to spend on needed street safety improvements within a mile of schools -- including sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes.

One of our major concerns about the program is the very high 40% cash match requirement for funding. Throughout the SRTS rulemaking process, we have advocated for the reduction or elimination of this cash match requirement, so that as many communities in Oregon will be able to access these funds, make needed safety improvements around schools, and provide safe travel routes for Oregon students. In some circumstances, the match will be reduced to 20%, but we have already heard from many communities that even this requirement will be a prohibitive burden. Specifically, this may mean lower-income schools, and those communities with historical under-investment in transportation safety projects, will be unable to apply for funds.

Until May 31, you have the opportunity to help shape Oregon's new Safe Routes to School program by sending in your comments. Read more about the SRTS infrastructure rules, funding opportunity, upcoming workshops, and how to comment.
They say:
The commentary focuses on the local match amount. For context, a lot of Federal programs require about a 10% match. So a 40% match would be much higher and represent a meaningful deviation from current custom.

At the same time, the match amount is almost certainly a reflection of a desire to make the annual allocation go as far as possible - a distribution more broad and thin, rather then narrow and deep.

It is a consequence of the politics. The program was the product of horse-trading. The Street Trust (and allies) caved on highway expansion in exchange for this SR2S fund. During the sausage-making and afterwards, the Street Trust trumpeted it as a colossal achievement and game-changer, but really, it's swamped by things like the I-5 Rose Quarter expansion and other road capacity increases in the legislation. (See this recent  twitter exchange for some typical and critical comment on the trading.)

Moreover, the total amount will be distributed statewide, and once all the applications are submitted and we see the total need, the allocation will seem very paltry.

Collaged (with comments in red)
from the May 8th slide deck and presentation
at the Legislature last year
The allocation is something, it's not nothing it's important to say, and as a percentage change from the previous level of funding the delta is huge, but in absolute terms it's still very small. It's still an instance of non-auto transportation fighting over table scraps. (You may say this is an ungrateful "half-full" perspective, but until we are more serious about not just providing "options" on the fringes, but have a core commitment to reducing drive-alone trips with things like decongestion pricing and an end to subsidized free parking, small increases in programming like this won't produce the aggregate change that is needed.)

While the advocacy task immediately at hand might be to reduce the match amount, the real project is for the Legislature in the next year or two to expand the program, not to be content with $10 or $15 million a year, but to see the need to multiply that and expand it with more funding and juice.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Bike Week in 1918: Thrift, Health, and Pleasure in War Time

Bike week is coming up, May 14th - 18th, with Bike to Work Day on the 18th.

A century ago, Salem bike shops advertised National Bicycle Week extensively.

Half-page ad, May 8th, 1918

Full-page ad, May 4th, 1918
The marketing and arguments today really aren't so very different, though the valence around "patriotism" has changed in multiple ways. It's not important to dig into that too far other than to note that at one time it was possible to see a need to be more thrifty about driving and fuel, and it was plausible to position bicycling as the more thrifty and fuel-saving choice.

When we decide finally to get serious about climate disruption - if we ever do - we might be able to recover more of this particular expression of patriotism.

via League of American Bicyclists
See posts tagged "old time biking" for more on Harry Scott, Paul Hauser, Arthur Moore, and Watt Shipp. And one of these days we'll get to Loyd Ramsden!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

City and Rotary Announce Plan to Relocate Amphitheater

Proposal to relocate Amphitheater to "Park Parcel"
Well, this is interesting and moderately big news. The City and Rotary Club just announced a substantial revision to the Amphitheater plan and the Riverfront Park Master Plan:
[The two parties] have agreed that a better location for the Gerry Frank | Rotary Amphitheater is in the currently undeveloped 3.8-acre park property at the southeast end of Riverfront Park.

The new location will be incorporated into the new Riverfront Park Master Plan, which is in its final stages of completion. Only a small distance from the original site, this new location provides additional opportunities to use open space when performances are not taking place.
It looks to offer better loading and access from the parking lot, retains better views of the river and slough and birds, and it's hard to think of ways right off the bat that the proposal is bad. So, it passes the first test and might even be a major improvement. It will be interesting to hear of meaningful critique, if there is any.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Commissions and Restoration Projects at Public Art Commission Wednesday

The Public Art Commission meets on Wednesday the 9th, and they've got several commissions in the works as well as a couple of substantial restoration projects. (Most of these notes are from the minutes to the last meeting. Agenda and minutes here.)

Hopefully more like this - by Henk Pander
And less like the sculpture at Riverfront Park
After an initial request for proposals, the Bottle Bill piece has a short-list and probable location:
The Salem Public Art Commission received 11 proposals from artists in response to its call to artists, a collaboration with the Oregon Environmental Council, for an Oregon Bottle Bill commemorative sculpture....

Per the Selection Committee, the following artists were recommended for conceptual design contracts:
  • Ditroen
  • Sean Healy and Joe Thurston
  • Horatio Hung-Yan Law
  • Hilary Pfeifer
  • Lillian Pitt, Mikkel Hilde, Saralyn Hilde
  • Rhiza A+D
The group confirmed the conceptual design contract would include an honorarium of $750 and will result in a design for the Bottle Bill commemorative piece. If the artist is selected for the commission in June, the budget for the completed art work and installation is $30,000.

The group then turned their attention to the three possible locations featured in the RFQ. Following a discussion of the merits of each proposed site, the group determined the best site for the work to be at the park-like setting, at the intersection of Trade and High (between SAIF and 295 Church).
Maybe a piece commemorating the Bottle Bill will go here
At the moment, it's a real ornamental emptiness
a failure as a "stroll garden"
That site is very much an ornamental emptiness, an underused space. Given the Bottle Bill's focus on litter, maybe a park setting is the right place. But it seems like so many of the art installations are attempts to add decoration to ornamental emptinesses rather than leverage popular places where people already congregate and often walk.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Parking on Church, Cottage Demolition for Cars - at SCAN and Highland

The Bush Park area neighborhood association, SCAN, meets this week, and they are in the middle of several interesting transportation items, including parking and crosswalks.

Demolition on Jerris Avenue at Commercial
It was a cute pastel green cottage - via Streetview
At the March meeting of SCAN, a neighbor said
that his CPA firm is purchasing the commercial building at 2150 Commercial St. and plans to tear down an existing building to add parking. There are currently only 12 parking spaces to serve the building and they need 29 parking spaces. He hopes that SCAN will support this.
The demolition permit was issued April 25th, and they didn't waste any time.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Michael Wolfe to Retire, Close South Salem Cycleworks

We're late to this news, but it deserves more notice.

At the Monster Cookie 2012
Long-time advocate and bike shop owner Michael Wolfe is retiring and closing South Salem Cycleworks.

A 2013 profile in the paper
In a message on the shop's website, Wolfe says
I’m retiring and closing the shop, effective the 31st of May....

We have offered rentals in the form of XC-skis, snowshoes, bicycles, tandems, and kid’s trailers for nearly 30 years. I don’t hesitate to say we’ve been the major player in rentals during this period of time, and paying the insurance premium for that as well. I hope someone steps up and carries that forward for tourists, or just folks out for a lark.

We’ll be offering our rentals for sale at very discounted prices, along with much of the store’s inventory of new parts and bikes. More exotic items will not be reduced, but will continue to be available via the shop’s gallery on this website.

I’ll miss my regular customers, many of which have enjoyed their free lifetime tune-ups, as well as introducing new riders to the sport. But I’ll also enjoy telling, instead of listening to, tales of riding, whether locally or more exotic locations.

I hope to see you on the road...
South Salem Cycleworks, near the corner of Liberty and Browning, has been the only major shop outside of the downtown core and, at least until the Hub came and focused totally on reusing and recycling old bikes, might have been the most deeply green. They never had dumpster service, and Marion County featured them in press about the EarthWISE program. In 2015 the shop won "Recycler of the Year" at the Mid-Valley Green Awards.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

1.5 out of 5 Stars: Places for Bikes New Ratings

Last night Places for Bikes announced their latest city ratings for 480 American cities.

1.5 out of 5 stars for Salem
As in the first iteration, Salem didn't do so well. Salem scores 1.5 out of 5 stars:
  • 1.7 on ridership - how often and how many people ride
  • 2.1 on safety
  • 1.4 on the bike network of low-stress routes (not old-school bike lanes on busy streets)
  • 1.8 on reach - how consistently the network reaches everyone in the community
  • 0.5 on acceleration - how quickly we are improving the network and adding new riders
It's not surprising to see the low mark in acceleration. That contests directly any claim that we currently have "balance" in our system for people who want to bike.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

State Street Plan Continues at Planning Commission Tonight

The Planning Commission meets tonight, May 1st, at 5:30 in Council Chambers for the continuation of the Public Hearing on the State Street Study and Plan. (Agenda, and Supplemental Staff Report.)

Why Staff chooses not to support a full 4/3 safety conversion
I don't think there is very much to say about it - very little new or interesting comes to mind. The Staff Report - and crucially, the public comment to which it is largely responding - is repetitious. (See below for links to previous notes.)

So I just want to underline one small detail.

If we object to the consequences of a set of projected traffic volumes for 2035, then broadly two approaches come to mind:
  1. We can wring our hands, bewail and moan, and accommodate those future consequences with partial mitigation (and sometimes new roads), but mostly just manage with sighs and acceptance; or,
  2. We can make a determined effort to head off those projections and actually try to reduce traffic counts
So why is there so much acceptance of door #1?

If we don't like traffic, why don't we make every effort to reduce the frequency of driving trips and to reduce the length of driving trips?

Instead our current approach is fundamentally incoherent: We say we don't like congestion and traffic, but systematically we do nearly everything we can to accommodate and subsidize driving. We induce more traffic while we make futile and largely symbolic gestures to try to ward it off.

No wonder we fail. Until we are willing to grapple explicitly with this incoherence, we're just going to keep failing.

For more detailed comment on the State Street Study, see these main posts:
(For all previous notes on the State Street Study see here.)