Saturday, December 29, 2018

City Issues Report on Proposed New System Development Charges

Here's a holiday news dump for you.

Benefits of new proposal:
On "growth related" transportation improvements and SDCs
On the 26th, the City put out a press release and report on the new proposed SDC fees, their antecedent formulas, and whatever other magic and horse-trading politics they mystify as "methodology."

Maybe after the new year I'll read this more closely. But for the moment it's something that deserves wider notice.

On transportation, the Executive Summary claims it:
  • Establishes SDCs commensurate with community-wide funding levels for major street improvement projets, approximately doubling the prior SDC
  • Most growth-related improvements can be constructed with 100 percent SDC funding
Previously"non-SDC funding source[s were] required in order to construct most SDC-eligible street projects."

On the face of it, this sounds like a real improvement.

But almost certainly there are details to consider that could weaken these overall claims.

As a side matter, but nevertheless strongly implicated in all this, we have a major disconnect between our notions of "Activity Nodes and Corridors" and our "Buildable Lands" inventory.

Activity Nodes and Corridors from 2006
Buildable Lands from the SDC report
These are two systems that just sit on top of each other independently without any sense of relationship. They're completely siloed.

A major part of "Our Salem" should be to revise our understandings of these and to knit the two systems together.

While "upgrades" to modern urban standards include bike lanes and sidewalks, there does not appear to be any specific focus on non-auto mobility in the SDC projects listed.

The whole of it does not appear to take into consideration any greenhouse gas reductions, and is based on "business as usual."
False precision: Look at this fancy math!!!
The formulas and pseudo-sceince of its traffic engineering also express a real commitment to hydraulic autoism.

Like fluid: The rising tide of cars
We may come back to these for a more detailed look at the assumptions and values that underlie the SDC formulas.

So if SDCs are a thing of interest to you, check out the press release and report.

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