Tuesday, February 12, 2019

At the MPO: Scoring the RTSP Candidate Projects, SRC Aftershocks

The Technical Advisory Committee for our local Metropolitan Planning Organization meets today, but there's really not very much here to say on the agenda.

But - guess what?! - there's probably lots to say about last night's Council action.

Actually on the agenda, they're still talking about the scoring plan for evaluating candidate projects in the 2019 RTSP.  There's a new iteration that weighs "safety" the most. But we see how it's still shaped by autoist biases and "all other criteria," including anything on greenhouse gas emissions in the still-contested Goal 7, is minimized. It's clear it's going to take some work to reframe the whole assessment scheme for a properly 21st century transportation system. There's a whole lot of retrograde engineering and planning inertia to purge.

The latest scoring plan
As evidence for the need to purge and completely reorient? The news coverage of last night's vote is a good body of evidence: "Salem City Council on Monday night voted against helping..."

That's not a very neutral description of events.

Updated in print
In the SJ, the tone is elegiac, full of regret for the loss of a good thing:
The third bridge in Salem is dead.

The long-discussed and debated third bridge over the Willamette River in Salem died by a 6-3 vote of the city council Monday night, bringing an end to 13 years of work on the Salem River Crossing proposal and 50 years of discussion about the possibility.

“There is no other bridge than this one that will be on the table for the next 20 to 30 years,” Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett said.
There's an aphorism about journalism that's floated around quite a bit:
If someone says it's raining, and another person says it's dry, it's not your job to quote them both. Your job is to look out the window and find out which is true.
So far the journalism on the Salem River Crossing has seemed bound by autoist horizons, the assumption a new auto bridge is a good thing, that its loss is problematic. It has been content with a surface narrative of "balance": Supporters say this, opponents say that. It has been less interested in trying to determine the truth of the matter, let alone find out anything meaningful about the critique of the Salem River Crossing.

A 21st Century transportation system has to get out of the autoist frame and truly see mobility in a multi-modal way that also takes into account greenhouse gas emissions and environmental justice.

From 1937 this remains our ideal - via NYRB
Anything less is a 20th Century autoist scheme.

It's early to spend too much time on "next steps," but here in the City of Salem and at the MPO attention should be given to unwinding and editing out bits on the SRC.

In December 2016 Salem made some changes to the TSP.  At least some of them should be undone.

In the 2019 RSTP at the MPO that is being written, language about the SRC should not remain as vestigial but should be deleted and revised out.

We have to reorient ourselves to consider everything under the sign of the Keeling Curve. Do our choices work to bend the curve the other way? That's one of the important questions to ask, even if it seems like subordinating everything to this one big idea. Just this week there are new concerns about the world's insects. In a region dependent on agriculture, surely this resonates.

via NOAA

Look for the historic sign
next to the entry
You can download the agenda and meeting packet here.

SKATS Technical Advisory Committee meets Tuesday the 12th, at 1:30pm. SKATS is at 100 High St. SE, Suite 200, above Table Five 08.

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

(inserted the headline and start of the SJ story, with revisions, as printed)