Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Final Downtown Sidewalk Plan Buried by Accident or Design

On the 14th, the Downtown Sidewalk Study held a final Open House for its recommendations.

Hinessight recapped the meeting in "Downtown Streetscape plan suffers from Salem's parking space mania."
Tonight the team of consultants revealed what has been left out of the final design proposals I described in my web page. I wouldn't call these "refinements," but rather selling out to the above-mentioned parking space mania -- since I was told that concerns about losing on-street parking spaces led to the changes above.

They're delicately called "Longer-Term Projects."

What this really means is that the above-mentioned stakeholders, which I suspect includes some parking-space-crazed downtown businesses, put enough pressure on City officials to get the Mid-Block Landscape Pockets, Front Street Crossing, and Parklets Program shelved.
The postcard for the open house is posted, but nothing more
Now, a full half-month later, they still haven't posted the meeting boards or other presentation materials from the Open House.

That's a clear sign the project team and City are less proud of the proposals than they might be. Whether this is by design or by accident, the omission says something. With a stronger plan they'd be more assertive about sharing it publicly.

Until the City posts the proposals, it's hard to have more to say on them, but it seems pretty clear: Overall the project has been scaled-back.

Maybe they really are clearing space to reapproach some of the deferred or deleted elements. There were reasons beyond our free parking mania to question some of them. The mid-block pockets, for example, might have interfered with future bike lanes, and it might be helpful to reformulate them in ways to accommodate future lane reconfiguration.

Once the City publishes the proposals, along with any additional commentary or explanation, we'll come back to this. In the meantime, it looks like diminished expectations is the proper posture.

No comments: