From here, it has seemed like most of the problems stem from the 2007 zoning change and associated approvals. That was the real point for leverage. Maybe someone will develop a new critique that sticks, but in a very general way it seems like once you grant the terms in the 2007 approval, there's plenty of room for a big box.
A lot of the criticism focuses on the idea that the neighborhood was promised a smaller-scaled development, a "community shopping center."
|In 2007 they intended a "community shopping center"|
But as it occur in the 2005 Comprehensive Plan, "community shopping" is distinct from "neighborhood shopping," and what many critics of the Costco plan really seem to want is for that parcel to be developed as "neighborhood shopping."
In the context of the 2005 Comprehensive Plan, "community" means wider community, perhaps even regional community, and not the smaller-scale of "neighborhood."
|In the 2005 Comprehensive Plan,|
"community shopping" is not small
(via University of Oregon)
Just in broad terms, any shopping center on Kuebler just off I-5 would be oriented for intense autoism and a regional draw.
Another area of criticism is the "Traffic Impact Analysis."
One comment that seemed especially level-headed and persuasive came from a retired public works director. He wrote:
I am not a traffic engineer, but I am a retired Marion County engineer and public works director with 30 years of experience dealing with land use and traffic issues. My impression from a conversation with the Kittelson representative at the open house, reinforced by reviewing the TIA, is that Kittelson’s analysis seriously underestimates the new trips to be attracted by this large-scale project. Google helped me to find five other Costco TIA’s, three done by Kittelson and two by other consultants. Boiling the typically massive document down to some basic numbers, I believe Kittelson is underestimating trip generation by 33% to 50%....These are intensely autoist facilities, and it's not like incremental improvements to sidewalks, bike lanes, and transit are going to make meaningful impacts to the number of car trips. At the same time, by accommodating car traffic too much with widening for additional capacity, we will simply induce more car trips. The 2007 decision locked in an unfortunate and autoist destiny.
The TIA takes a piecemeal approach, looking at Costco in isolation. It ignores the cumulative impact of Costco plus two adjacent regional shopping centers, plus the existing and future businesses on the site, plus the million-square-foot Amazon distribution center off Aumsville Highway, plus the huge retirement facility under construction to the south of the Costco site, and hundreds of new and proposed apartments and subdivisions now in the development process....
I submit there is a solid case for requiring Kittelson to revisit their trip generation numbers for Costco and all affected mitigation measures.
|More parking than building - Oaks in yellow|
|Traffic circle forces bike travel|
onto sidewalk and crosswalks
(As others comment, this post may be updated with links at the bottom.)
The Transit Committee will formally present their report and recommendations and ask for "staff to return with a work plan for implementation." (Number 7 is new since October, notes here and here.)
- Prioritize transit - supportive considerations as part of updating the Salem Comprehensive Plan, with an emphasis on the transit core network.
- Review and update the Employee Smart Commuter Program to encourage City employees to use transit and other non - auto modes of transportation.
- Work with Cherriots to update the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and develop a common understanding of how the City and Cherriots will work together.
- Review 2003 Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Cherriots and report back to Council regarding appropriate action.
- Coordinate with Cherriots to identify and implement projects to improve transit time reliability.
- Evaluate the feasibility of a downtown circulator bus.
- Council to establish timelines for items 2, 3, 4, and 6
|From the Our Salem Existing Conditions|
But this omits the dimensions of time and frequency.
Does hourly service really constitute full "access to transit"? How about the gap in the evening and on weekends?
A better map would focus on Cherriots' frequent service routes, those indicated in red I think on the current system map (the map legend, by the way, totally lacks a color key! So there's no way to know what the red actually stands for, especially for someone who is not already a regular user of Cherriots).
|Current Cherriots system|
(frequent service routes in red?)
And that means the frequent service lines.
There are a couple of grants for the Sobering Center, one from the State, the other from the Downtown Urban Renewal Area. CANDO has raised significant questions about the way the center is being funded, in "Sobering Center Sustainable?" and "Urban Renewal to the Rescue."
The kitchen at the Conference Center apparently needs to be enlarged and the Urban Renewal Agency will consider whether
the Agency Board [should] authorize the Executive Director to execute the attached Amendment and Addendum to the Convention Center Management Agreement to temporarily suspend Gain Loss Reserve Account requirements to facilitate the remodel and expansion of the Salem Convention Center kitchen facilities?...There are reasons to doubt this claim about profit. Here are two excerpts from previous years' financials, which appear to show a loss and "operating shortfall." The City's claim deserves more scrutiny and analysis.
The SCC has generated a profit each year since opening and has not experienced an operating shortfall. Annual profits of the SCC contribute to the reserve. In recent years contributions have ranged between $300,000 and $700,000. The current balance of the Gain Loss Reserve is $4.8 million.
|A loss in 2012|
|A loss in 2015|
Update, August 15th, 2019
LUBA published their decision this week, and is gratifying that in a general way, they agree with the thoughts here, finding more force and generally supporting the City for the tree argument, and finding weakness and problem in the City's interpretation of the 2007 decision.