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.

The presentation also contains some criticism of the zoning along Second Street NW in the new "Edgewater/Second Street Mixed-Use Corridor (ESMU) Zone" developed in the West Salem Code Clean-up just adopted by Council. They say "Design standards do not address the Edgewater Study and the Edgewater/Second Street Redevelopment Action Plan Vision/Strategic Framework." By themselves the slides do not contain enough detail to understand exactly what is the problem. But it was good to see a closer look at the Clean-up project regardless.

The new regime at WSNA was the result of a very hostile take-over last summer, but it must be said that this presentation contains a level of detail that has not often been seen in other WSNA materials, so maybe there is a new spirit of critical debate at WSNA, even though much of it is ideologically motivated in favor of the SRC.

On this month's agenda two items are of interest:
[7] New Business: Daniel Fricke, Sr. Region Planner, Region 2, ODOT: Discussion about “Preferred Alternative”
[8] Old Business: Tyson Pruett, 2nd Street & Wallace, brief update
Fricke is one of the leads on the SRC project team itself in the context of his general responsibilities in Region 2, so in addition to answering questions, he will likely advocate the SRC is soft or hard ways. His answers will likely be motivated. But the discussion may be an opportunity to talk more about the internal contradictions or tensions of the project. Again, if the SRC fails to meet mobility targets, is this half a billion (and likely more considering ODOT's habit of great overruns on very large projects) a wise investment?

The Second Street crossing may also be interesting. We need a continuation of the Union Street Railroad Bridge path into the gridded portion of West Salem, and the idea is worth the fullest analysis.

Salem, Falls City & Western Line, 1915 USGS map
The line is very straightforward!
Pruett has been very critical of the new bike lanes on High and Church Streets downtown, and it may be that this discussion ends up mostly autoist, more about Marine Drive than the Union Street Railroad Bridge and its path. (Hopefully it will not be a kind of trolling that aims to kill the concept!)

In no small part because of high cost estimates, however, discussion of an under/overcrossing has got very bogged down, and it is hard to say where it current stands and where it is going. Recent WSRAB materials have not offered clarity.

But if alterations to the Marion or Center Street Bridges also impact the side path on the Center Street Bridge, then upgrading connections to the Union Street Bridge will be even more important.

(There are several bits and pieces on the over/undercrossing tagged "Edgewater District" here.)

The West Salem Neighborhood Association meets Monday the 21st at 7:00 P.M. in Roth’s West, Mezzanine (1130 Wallace Rd NW).

Update, Friday the 25th

From the WSNA minutes on the ODOT SRC presentation (the questions are re-ordered for clarity):
Question about having to refund money if no action is taken? Earmarks obtained by city in 2004 and 2005 of federal money, and SKATS budget, and ODOT funds. Who would have to pay it back? That’s a discussion that would have to happen. It hasn’t happened yet. It is an extraordinary set of conditions that would result in paying that back. That is, ODOT would be surprised that some action isn’t taken by the deadline. It is the presenter’s opinion that it would be foolish to waste the monies and efforts that have gone into the SRC, and risk figuring out how to pay back the federal monies when city budgets are already distressed. [SKATS staff] speculates that money would come out of a future funds budget (cancel a future project), from the MPO (SKATS). That is only speculative and not confirmed.

Can you say more about the trigger to having to “repay”? If no record of decision is finalized by the FHWA by September 31st , 2019, we will have to figure out how to repay. If the FWHA records a decision of “no-build” it is not known what would need to be repaid at this time.

Is the design as currently proposed a cascadia-event withstanding structure? It has not been designed to that level of specificity yet, but when it is, it most certainly will be designed to that standard, or beyond.
So we see here the "sunk cost" fallacy (see here for more on the deadline) as well as an admission that the current cost-estimates for the SRC do not include seismic reinforcement for the Cascadia event. When the design is revised for that level of seismic reinforcement, sitting as it is on a liquefaction zone, the cost estimates will rise greatly.

The presentation also acknowledged that the project did not meet mobility standards at several intersections.

(Separately, the update on the Second Street over/undercrossing did not appear to have any new information.)

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated with excerpts and notes on ODOT presentation.