Sunday, October 21, 2018

After Last Meeting Abandoned, City Transit Committee to Meet Again on 23rd

The City Public Transit Committee meets on Tuesday the 23rd, and the reasons might be a little embarrassing.

Agenda and packet
They were supposed to meet on the 9th, but over half of the committee did not show up, and those who couldn't make it apparently had not also let City Staff know with sufficient lead time - or even any lead time - to reschedule the meeting.

Trying to read the "tea leaves" here might be a stretch, and yet it's a little odd that the City published "minutes" like this on a meeting that had to be abandoned. This is out of the ordinary enough to constitute "a message" perhaps.

No quorum!
Maybe you will have a better reading of it.

In any case, this might be a sign of a lack of enthusiasm for the Committee's recommendations, alas. It looks a little careless and it's something to watch.

So this meeting on the 23rd is substantially a do-over for the agenda on the 9th. (See previous notes here.)

Over at SCV, they posted a link to an interesting report, "Housing Underproduction in Oregon: Economic, Fiscal and Environmental Impacts of Enabling Transit-Oriented Smart Growth to Address Oregon's Housing Affordability Challenge." It is partially authored by ECONorthwest, the same consultant who wrote our Housing Needs Analysis and Economic Opportunities Analysis.

The City Transit Committee and those interested in "Our Salem," the update to the Comprehensive Plan, should read that report together with these recommendations from the Transit Committee:
  • Locate low-income housing with good access to transit service.
  • Establish a Transit Oriented Development Strategy (focus on ¼ mile buffer to core network) including mix ed use and higher density residential development.
  • Prioritize bicycle and pedestrian connections within ¼ mile of core network.
  • Create incentives for redevelopment along core network.
  • Develop land use mechanisms to guide new multi-family and job centers to areas served by transit.
  • Incorporate pedestrian oriented design considerations during development review.
  • Update the goals, objectives, and policies included in the Salem Transportation System Plan, Transit Element, and consider implementable actions with goals and benchmarks.
  • Conduct a city-wide review of parking minimums and maximums.
There is a great opportunity here to work on housing and transportation in concert. There's a mutually reinforcing, virtuous circle here: Better land use makes transit more efficient; better transit helps with more affordable housing.

As long as we silo them, our efforts on both will necessarily be incomplete and incoherent.


Susann Kaltwasser said...

I'll bet that no one has looked at available residential land that is currently undeveloped and where they might create the 'centers' for transit to be linked to here in Salem.

Right now we just build and then if there is enough possible riders, they put in a bus line. No real planning happening that I see.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

During the EOA-HNA meetings a few years back Cherriots did talk specifically about how difficult it was to serve new development on Cordon Road and more generally about the disconnect between land use and transit.

But they might draw the arrow of relationship a little bit differently than you do here. The question might not be about undeveloped land and creating new centers, as you say. The more important question might be about ending the exclusionary housing ban on apartments where transit (and other infrastructure) already exists. The preference instead for undeveloped and unserved land pushes things towards what Strong Towns criticizes as the "growth ponzi scheme" and is part of why Marohn doesn't like "smart growth." (See for example, "I'm not a Smart Growth Advocate.")

Certainly your general point is true: We don't connect land use planning and transit planning enough.