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.)

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

This afternoon the City sent out a release about the Planning Commission's decision:

" the Planning Commission voted to recommend:
- A new street design called the Improved Four Lane alternative, which is different than the proposal recommended by staff, and
- New Mixed Use-1 and Mixed Use-2 zones on State Street with the following revisions to the proposed amendments: 1) Remove a requirement in the Mixed Use-1 zone that ground-floor residential uses be separated from the sidewalk by a setback, and 2) Reduce the parking requirement for retail uses in the Mixed Use-1 and Mixed Use-2 zones from 1 space per 250 square feet to 1 space per 400 square feet.

The refusal of a 4/3 safety conversion is a real disappointment.

But it seems reasonable to ask, and maybe we'll return to this, whether the City has created a real messaging problem for itself.

By using "road diet" and creating a "Congestion Relief Task Force," in addition to the allegiance to Eisenhower-era mobility standards in modeling and evaluating future traffic conditions, has the City harmed its own case for more modern mobility and road standards? If the City says "Congestion Relief" is the most pressing traffic concern, how do you build support for a "diet" and other kinds of mobility?